Micronauts vol.1 No. 46
Writer: Bill Mantlo
Artist: Luke McDonnell / Danny Bulandi
Letterer: Janice Chiang
Colorist: Bob Sharen
Editor: Al Milgrom
EIC: Jim Shooter
It's a complicated and troubled episode of Micronauts as the triple-title business is dropped in favor of the umbrella title for the first two chapters: "Adrift*." It's a word which accurately describes everything happening in the book this month, including the art team! With Kane abruptly disappearing after issue 45, the highly underrated Luke McDonnell signs on to pencil this issue. It would have been too much to hope to have Carl Potts come back as inker, because I strongly feel that those two would have made a killer pairing, but we make do with Bulandi again.
Bulandi has more credits in this series than anyone besides Mantlo and Shooter, even including colorists and letterers. He is, in his way, more responsible for the look of this book than Michael Golden is, at this point. And yet he never seems to really fit in. Bulandi's contributions still stick out like a sore thumb. What a strange contribution to the legacy.
Whatever the case, hot shit continues to happen apace! The separated groups of Micronauts face distinct challenges, with the trio of Marionette, Acroyear and Bug facing off against the power-mad Argon in Homeworld and Rann facing off against his persistent and recurrent failures.
|I hate how this guy constantly makes such a fucking huge presentation about everything he does but never apologizes for almost murdering everyone every time the radio cuts out.|
Behind a gory, lurid cover which recalls Men's Adventure magazines of the 50s and 60s, Rann faces a continuing series of losses and panic. Believing the three coolest Micronauts to have been killed by lame supervillain Doctor Nemesis, the leader of the team must also rescue the remaining three 'Nauts from Arcade's sinking deathtrap in the middle of the ocean. Devil, almost consistently savage at this point, refuses to be rescued, despite the briny fate awaiting him. Nanotron didn't get any sort of flight attachment, or if she did she traded 'em in for those robot tits.
While Rann figures out his shit, we catch up with Marionette, who is still falling from Argon's tower. She manages to acrobatically spare herself a flat and splattered future, but nonetheless scarpers to lick her wounds. Argon crows in his throne room, exposing at last his weird all-energy self to his subordinates (and reminding chief scientist DeGrayde of his former boss, Karza).
|These two are growing on me, even though they mostly wander the palace halls chatting like a tiny, weird West Wing.|
In between this, we get a taste of Slug's origin story. As an infant, she loses both parents -- her father to the Body Banks, her mother to Karza's seraglio -- and is herself carelessly abandoned somewhere in the Banks. Rebels later rescue her during a raid, although that still fails to account for something like twenty years' worth of origin. I can fill in some of the blanks, but it seems like there's good story-ifying there for the writer inclined to follow it.
Acroyear and Bug free Pharoid from imprisonment in Argon's torture chambers, but are stopped on their way to rescue Slug by shadowy figures. "Holy shrew!" shouts Bug, "Not *tik* them!!" They set it up as a cliffhanger but it's the Death Squad, characters who have never done anything and aren't remotely interesting. But they're bad guys and the book is a little slim on them, I just wish they were more relevant and capable of carrying backstories...
|Owning the sound effects championships for this issue.|
Back on Earth, Microtron figures out that he can play recordings of Fireflyte's song, thereby calming the savage Devil. Rann carries the peaceful beast and Microtron clutches Nanotron as he uses one of his arms as a propeller, and the quartet head out over the ocean. Now, if Rann and Microtron had switched partners, the next thing wouldn't have happened, but they didn't ask my opinion: Nanotron, being as useful as always, slips from Microtron's grasp and plunges into the ocean. Microtron follows desperately, leaving Devil devoid of the soothing song of Fireflyte. Since he's riding on Rann's back, this means that he gets savage again and tries to murder Rann.
In one of my favorite moments of the book, RANN RETURNS THE FAVOR, taking potshots at Devil as he leaves the big dope to drown in the ocean.
Overcome by a powerful wave (relatively speaking), Arcturus is swept away from Devil, and is delivered on a desolate island. He is rescued by tiny orange weirdos who look like if aliens tried to make human sex dolls based entirely on that golden record they shot into space. They carry his weakened form through a graveyard of downed planes and forgotten vessels, an island full of bleached skeletons of sailors and pilots.
|But they kind of do look like Jeff Sessions.|
Under the cathedral arch of a dead mans ribcage, Rann is positioned in a Hibernation Couch throne, and bowed to by his saviors, who refer to him as Time Traveler. What's going on! Wow! Good stuff!
In the backmatter, a couple pages of Kane's sketches are tossed in, possibly to offset the loss of the legendary great. There's also a No-Prize delivered for the same mistake which was noticed here in our comments section a little ways back -- Dr.Doom referring to himself as Vincent Von Doom ...