Tuesday, May 17, 2016

The new Micronauts is disappointing.

The new Micronauts is disappointing. 
by rick olivares

What more can you do with the Micronauts?

The original Guardians of the Galaxy were a disparate race of aliens fighting against the domination of the conquering Badoon. When it was relaunched some 40 years later, the new team was formed to fight off any Annihilation-type of foes from attempting to destroy the galaxy.

So how about the Micronauts. When first published by Marvel in 1979, they were a bunch of freedom fighters fighting to free the Microverse from the tyranny of Baron Karza. Succeeding incarnations published by Image and Devil’s Due used pretty much the same angle — fighting a dictator. 

Now under IDW and writer Cullen Bunn (The Sixth Gun, Harrow County), the Micronauts are back. 

However, there isn’t that magic that I experienced when I first read the first ever Micronauts comic (from Marvel) as written by Bill Mantlo that was co-plotted by penciller Michael Golden. When the Dog Soldiers and Acroyears cut down the forces loyal to the royal family, I felt bad. Arcturus Rann (Marvel’s version of Space Glider) was like Steve Rogers, a man out of time, as he was in suspended animation for a thousand years. He was shocked at the Homeworld that he returned to was under the heel of Baron Karza. Dispatched to prison, he met Acroyear and Bug. Both were such cool characters with the latter adding some levity in an otherwise serious comic. And for an element of mystery, there was the Enigma Force. There was immediate tension between Acroyear and his brother Shaitan. The Death Tank that was sent to destroy them was no automaton but was half alive! Then they left for Earth! The second issue couldn’t come soon enough.

Cut to years later. While I understand the constant reboots because the comic has changed hands so many times that doesn’t mean I cannot appreciate any new direction even if I have this affinity for the old characters some who did not make the jump as they were Marvel owned. But I guess, whatever incarnations that followed never caught on. Image’s entire publication was for 11 issues. Devil’s Due had a mere three. The Marvel line consisted of 61 issues (including two annuals) so that is what everyone else is up against.

I was hopeful because Cullen Bunn was on board. I absolutely love The Sixth Gun except I think it lost steam by the 30th issue. Harrow County is a frightening and intoxicating read. Somehow, I am not enamored with his superhero writing. And I guess that carries over to this version of the Micronauts that feels like I am watching an episode of Serenity. I love Serenity but can we not diverge into something else?

There’s the old reliable, Acroyear. There is always something mysterious about a character with a mask or a helmet. Sadly not one of the new characters grabbed me. The leader of this band, Oz (Pharoid), felt like a cross between Jack Burton or Malcolm Reynolds. Unfortunately, those two are more interesting. 

I like artist David Baldeon’s stuff. I have a few of his other works and it is like a meld of Joe Quesada and Joe Madureira. I like the fact that an artist’s work evokes good feelings and memories. And the work here is all right. Not great but all right because why the heck do they have all these inkers? That messes up the art.

Am I disappointed? Yes, I am. 

Could have been something special. 

I’ll stay on for the first arc though. 

In the meantime, this is an excuse to re-read those old Micronauts comics.

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