Monday, September 11, 2017


Micronauts vol.1 No.34 (Oct 1981)
Writer: Bill Mantlo
Artist: Pat Broderick/Danny Bulandi
Letterer: D.Albers
Colorist: B.Sharen
Editor: Tom De Falco
EIC: Jim Shooter

Bob Layton and Klaus Janson on cover duties, which I'd normally be excited about except that I think it's the worst cover on a Micronauts book to date. Also, Devil gets to feature in the corner indicia, and that's bogus, because he hasn't even joined the team yet AND he gets a cover appearance. Someone clearly thinks Devil's gonna be this book's Wolvering ... in fact, stay tuned about that.

Speaking of whoever that's gonna turn out to be, they keep spelling DeFalco's name differently in each issue's credit box. Don't blame me if I get it wrong, blame 1981.

As the last penis-shaped ice
tower falls ...
The core group of Micronauts makes their way to the Sandzone and Prince Pharoid's subterranean city of Aegyptia, birthplace of Karza. The M'nauts barely have time to drink in the revelation that Acroyear is alive and has acquired the vital third key (plus exciting news about the Enigma Force, right from the Time Traveler's mouth) before they're beset by Pharoid's men. On the command of Argon, who wears his Force Commander armor and has stationed himself in Aegyptia (symmetry, anyone?) the Micronauts are captured -- including A'yo and Devil, bound by crazy looking space shackles.

 The capture does't last long -- chided by his conscience and the disappointed soldiers under his command, Pharoid commits to freeing the Micronauts and helping their escape. This leads to a big battle and the weird phenomenon of Rann invoking the names of his dead parents as an oath. Hanging out with Marionette has given the guy a touch of the old-time religion, evidently.

Meanwhile, Dr.Strange is still at the temple of the five champions who founded the Microverse, with demons crawling up his backside. We're briefly made aware that the Enigma Force had, primarily, been keeping demons from destroying the Microverse. Enhhhhh ... naw, that's not necessary.  We are forced to read that stupid prophecy again, so just so you won't forget it:

A time of darkness will there be;
Of great distress on land and sea!
Find thyselves, and thou wilt find me --
The secret lies in these keys three!
Back in Aegyptia, all hell has broken loose and a full-scale battle is going on between the Aegyptians and the Micronauts versus Argon and the Dog Soldiers he has surprisingly employed. The battle is just gooey, loud nonsense for the most part, with two notable exceptions.

Acroyear -- who has his sight back, by the way, I should have mentioned that before now* -- only reluctantly fights the Dog Soldiers.  "It saddens me to battle you" he declares as he cuts down three soldiers with a single swipe of his blade, "There is no glory in dealing death. No glory at all." I harbor the suspicion that my boy A'yo is Mantlo's favorite character (tied with Bug, maybe), and so he gets the crunchy dialogue.

*So he gets his sight back and the question is -- why'd he lose it in the first place? It added nothing to the narrative or character. I got no joke here, it was just really lazy plotting.

The other thing worth mentioning is that Devil sucks and I hate him. I mentioned earlier that he's clearly being groomed as the Wolverine of this book, and that manifests itself with his becoming a crazy, carnage-happy murder-ape. He originally said he doesn't like to fight, but now he's hungry for it, with no real explanation. I hate it. He also picks up a catchphrase which I hate even more -- as he hucks some dude around like a rag doll, he bellows "You're going ... to the Devil!" Fuck that. That is awful. That should not have happened.

Let's see ... Rann knocks the tar out of Argon and grabs the purloined keys. Mari beats additional amounts of tar out of Degrayde, Karza's former chief scientist who now works for the corrupted Argon, and Nanotron joins the team. Whooptie doodle, although it does up the female side of the roster (although Fireflyte remains the only lady Micronaut who isn't another Micronaut's girlfriend). The scene in which Marionette encourages Nanotron to join them underlines a new and very tired direction in Marionette's character -- she's a slogan-shouting women's libber. Her already-threadbare personality will soon be reduced to spouting cliches like "Because I'm a woman???" and "Do you doubt my abilities because I'm a woman??" and "Remember Commander, I'm a woman!" and ... she's like the only actual woman on the crew,  why make her personality "Keeps reminding people that she's a woman"? There are better ways to portray a newly-awakened feminist character, all of which are preferable outside of the ones suggested by tubby guys with low-resolution YouTube channels ...

No letter column again, and the big finale is coming up next issue, with Argon hot on the Micronauts' tails towards Deadzone! I have forgotten every Christopher Walken joke I know, but I'll try to remember some by the time we get to next week ...

He doesn't have any pockets on that loincloth, where was she hiding?

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