Monday, June 19, 2017

MICRONAUTS MONDAY: 23 - FIELD TRIP


Micronauts vol.1 No.23  (Nov 1980)
Writer: Bill Mantlo
Artist: Pat Broderick / Danny Bulandi
Letterer: Tom Orzechowski
Colorist: Bob Sharen
Editor: Louise Jones
EIC: Jim Shooter

We catch up with the last missing Micronaut, Biotron, who has ended up where all toys end up; the dump. He's there looking for replacement parts with which to repair the Endeavor, but mostly he accidentally locks himself inside an abandoned refrigerator. I guess he never saw the after-school special.

He busts out easily enough, but startles a nearby wino who, grasping behind himself in search of a bottle, accidentally connects with the discarded wand previously owned by Molecule Man. Apparently -- and don't @ me, I didn't know this was how it worked -- Molecule Man's wand contains Molecule Man's actual mind, which then takes over whomever is holding the wand and makes them the new Molecule Man. I sure wrote "Molecule Man" a lot of times in that paragraph.

You'll never be alone so long as Styx needs something to base a robot design on...

So, a page is pretty much blown giving backstory for the possession angle -- which, I'll be blunt, I needed -- but the rest of the issue is almost entirely given over to Biotron's battle with the new Molecule Man. Oh, I forgot to mention how the new Molecule Man is one of those guys who's trying real hard not to sound racist but sounds way worse? "Eh, black skin?" he says, looking at his gloved hand (I shit you not), "Interesting! This is the first time I have taken a body not of my own race!" Ooh, phrasing, Molecule Man, phrasing.

The fight between the two is actually pretty entertaining, but relating it would be mostly "and then he and then he and then he" for a few paragraphs, describing who shot what and turned what into something else. Biotron gets a lot of good musing and internal monologue, and that's honestly making him one of my favorites in the book.

Biotron defeats Molecule Man by electrocuting him and slugging him with a telephone pole,  which probably caused his host body all sorts of internal trauma. Oh, but, hey, the rest of the Micronauts are waiting back at Odd John's barn for their missing compatriot! Yay, they're all reunited! Now what?

A MIGHTY MICRONAUTS BONUS FEATURE IS WHAT! A four-page interstitial acts as a showcase for increasingly fleshed-out (if you'll forgive the use of the term) Microtron, who's job right now is plodding around the Endeavor, confirming that it's ship-shape, and stumbling across the other Micronauts trying to have just one goddamn moment of peace, come on Microtron! Use your brains!

Cilicia and Acroyear are engaging in Spartak foreplay, namely "one of them holds a whole spaceship above their heads and the other one messes around with the toolbox. Meanwhile, Bug is wrecking the "food dispensers" in order to make copious "slug loaves," a preferred Insectivorid delicacy that was introduced all the way back in the start of this second arc. And, lastly, Microtron walks in on -- I think, judging from the panel -- Rann going down on Marionette. This book just got mature.

And yet, the real purpose of this aside seems to be to re-use the blueprint of the Endeavor from the book's inaugural twelve issues. Any excuse for an Eliot R.Brown schematic.

"...the King of Swing, the Hardest Working Man in Show Business..."

TALES OF THE MICROVERSE! Argon and his Centaur associates dash across the desert with Slug in tow, summoned by Prince Shaitan. He's made base in some elegant tents on the blasted plain and Slug, being a fresh face in the endless parade of tired factotums who have had to hear Shaitan go on about this a hundred times, gets to hear the albino Acroyear brag about being all kinds of immortal now.

Just when he gets to the good point and starts doing all the voices, desert raiders attack the base -- but not just any desert raiders! These are the soldiers of Prince Pharoid, Lord of Aegyptia! I didn't even know they made a character from that guy! This ought to be good! Continued next issue!

There's nothing all that great in the letters page, but Michael Golden's unpublished first issue cover is reprinted, and it's neat.




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