Monday, May 21, 2018


Micronauts vol.1 No.54
Writer: Bill Mantlo
Artist: Butch Guice / Kelly (sic) Jones
Letterer: Janice Chiang
Colorist: Bob Sharen
Editor: Ralph Macchio
EIC: Jim Shooter

Not with that posture you won't.
Some of the recent issues have given off the implication that Mantlo might be getting just a little bored with the Micronauts' universe (or, at the very least, with what he could do with the universe given that the book was still a licensed title, regardless of its Direct Market status). I say this for a couple of reasons. To begin with, some of the stories have involved a real info-dump in terms of the raw ideas which Mantlo's fertile imagination had designed for the Microverse, implying that he's wrapping things up. Secondly, the Prisonword arc is terrible.

A new editor sitting on two weird, possibly pointless issues suggests where the finger should actually be pointed. Ralph Macchio, you did not do good work here today.

The story picks up from last issue. The Micronauts Mob -- our stalwart heroes decked out in White Heat cosplay -- are battling the G-Men, mutated servants of Karza freshly emerged from the Body Banks.

The villains resemble the hated Death Squad in numbers and their assortment of unique powers. Unlike the Death Squad, I do not hate them on sight and also I don't think any of them have names. Nonetheless, backed up by Karza's dog soldiers, the G-Men square off against the Micronauts as follows:

  • Some sort of orange snakewoman fights Marionette. She can apparently spit an hallucinogenic venom which makes its target experience the terror of facing their greatest fear. This is the usual comic book hallucination stuff. Mari hallucinates Karza, but then figures out the score and stabs snakewoman through the heart. 
  • Little D, the leader of most of Prisonworld's mobs, takes on a bulky grey G-Man alongside Bug. They decisively throw their hulking opponent down some stairs, and are captured by Dog Soldiers promptly thereafter.
  • Huntarr beats up a pink G-Man whose powers I don't recall seeing in action. Maybe he was a walking eraser.
  • And Acroyear battles a head-butting green lizard, who has this really odd exchange after defeating the Spartak prince:

The remainder of the issue is a series of riots in different locations, and it'd be pointless to recount them all. During the penultimate riot, the Micronauts make the acquaintance of Murder-1, a tusked behemoth who falls platonically for the Princess and joins their side in this, the second most important of the many riots in this issue.

Having thrown his lot in with the Micronauts, he is tried alongside them at the hands of Karza's Tri-Bunal, which is idiotic and looks like this:

I want to pretend that this never happened.

Both Murder-1 and the Tri-Bunal once again feel like very early Alan Moore ideas, some classic 2000AD stuff. They feel like slightly more sensitive riffs on 1970's-style, LSD-inspired Marvel Comics nonsense. Defenders plots, you know? But with a college degree...

The issue ends with the Micronauts and the eagerly-rioting mobs of the Microverse overthrowing the powers of Prisonworld. The weird part of the issue is that none of the prisoners on Prisonworld -- political prisoners, every one of them, brainwashed to remove their identities -- has any idea what to do when the planet is liberated. Marionette has to encourage them to resume their anti-establishment activities, but it's weird that no one thought of that on their own. They KNOW they're political prisoners! They adopted gangster identities because they admired how criminals took on the establishment! THEY SHOULD ALREADY BE ON THIS PAGE.

So this was a rough issue that I didn't much enjoy, but at least they closed it out with a poster of all of the book's dead characters so I can laugh in Devil's stupid face.


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