Current Reviews


Micronauts #7

Posted: Sunday, May 11, 2003
By: Jason Cornwell

Writer: Dan Jolley
Artists: Stefano Caselli (p), Barb Schulz/Clayton Brown (i)

Publisher: Image Comics

The book opens with General Azura Nova being stripped of her command by Baron Karza as he believes she is to blame for the escape of Ryan Archer & the rest of the slaves. As she is taken into custody, the book turns its attention to the escaped slaves, as we see Ryan Archer is proving to be a very quick study when it comes flying a glider-pack. We then look in on Biotron & Acroyear who are having a conversation in which Biotron's defection is discussed, we see the robot is unable to offer up an explanation for his behavior beyond stating that his connection with Microtron awaken a sense of compassion within it's circuitry. We then follow Biotron as it offers the infant he liberated from Baron Karza's body banks to an entity that calls itself a Time Traveler, and we get the sense that this entity might be responsible for Biotron's uncharacteristic behavior. We then see that a ship has dropped out of tesseract right next to them, but it then immediately powers down, and floats lifeless in space. As the Micronauts decide to investigate this mystery ship they discover it's the ship that was transporting Azura Nova, and she managed to effect her escape by killing everyone on the ship. She then offers to help the group stop Baron Karza's plan to invade Earth, and the issue ends with the Micronauts taking a rather bold step into a new universe.

The main problem that I find myself having when I read this book is forming any real sense of attachment to this book's cast. I mean to a certain degree the characters that have carried over from the Marvel series (Acroyear, Baron Karza, Biotron & Microtron), I've simply grafted on the old personalities, so there is a sense of familiarity to this book. However, the simple fact of the matter is that we are seven issues into this series, and the book has yet to really establish its cast in the minds of the reader. I mean yes I could list off the names of the characters who I presume are this book's major players, and I could even tell you their basic personality traits, but sadly this is about all I could do. I mean there's roughly a dozen characters vying for attention in these pages, and yet in the seven issues we've received I can only think of two character moments that made me sit up & take notice. The first was when Biotron made his debut appearance as a utterly ruthless killing machine, and the second was when it was revealed that Acroyear had himself a limited life span. Now this issue adds the Time Travelers to the mix, and another character joins the cast, but in the end I found it rather difficult to work up much excitement. Here's hoping their adventures on Earth will pull this group together.

Yes, you read that last sentence right, the Micronauts make the jump to Earth at the end of this issue, and speaking as a fan of the old series, I have to say I'm thrilled by this development, as the book was always at its most entertaining when the Micronauts were struggling among this land of giants. From their perilous voyage through the sewer system, to their visit to the tiny town that Doctor Doom constructed to hold the Fantastic Four, Bill Mantlo always seems to be having more fun when the Micronauts were running around on Earth, and I hope the same hold true for the new creative team. Now the shameless cameo appearances by Marvel characters won't be a part of this group's visit to Earth, but I do hope Dan Jolley makes the most of this visit, and that he manages to slip some little side adventures into the mix, while the group is busy trying to protect the Earth from the forces of Baron Karza. If nothing else the change of scenery is a welcome sight, as the Microverse has yet to reveal itself as all that interesting of an environment, as even the menace that is Baron Karza failed to inject much suspense into the mix, and this was always a key ingredient in the old series. Well, that and the idea that Bill Mantlo introduced the idea of the Microverse being home to a series of different worlds, that each had their own environment.

First off it would appear that next issue will be playing host to this book's fourth art team, and given this book isn't even eight issues into it's run, I have to say that it's getting a bit worrisome. I mean, when a book isn't able to hold on to an art team for longer than three issues, I start to question whether the man, or woman steering the ship has a grip on the wheel is a little loose. I mean we have artists looking to abandon this ship left & right, and there's only so many times one can be offered up a new creative team before a book starts to look like it's an undesirable working environment. Now I will say that Stefano Caselli has been the best of the lot, and his work will be missed, as he has a very strong eye when it comes to detailing the world that these characters are moving through & I'll also credit his art for making the cast of characters relatively easy to tell apart. Now Baron Karza is a little too shiny, and there's some perspective problems in sections of the issue (e.g. the shot of Azura Nova when she's discovered of the derelict ship), but the art also has some fairly solid moments as well, such as the scene where we are shown how a boarding bridge is created between two ships. I also have to make mention of this issue's cover, which offers up a lovely shot of Baron Karza.

Final Word:
A rather scattered issue in that the story lurches from one idea to the next, and there's a disjointed feel to the issue that's a little worrisome. I mean I almost got the sense that Dan Jolley is simply working his way down a checklist of ideas that he needs to check off before the Micronauts make their jump to Earth, and as such this issue simply throws one idea after another at the reader. Now some of these ideas are interesting, as Azura Nova looks like a real charmer who is going to add a wealth of tension to the cast. The Time Travelers also make their debut in this issue, and they are just as ambiguous & unclear about their motives as they were in the original series. However, the book never really feels like its anything more than a dumping ground for ideas that they didn't quite get to in the previous issues, and the sense of excitement that the previous issue managed to develop pretty much went out the window. Still, the trip to Earth does have me rather excited.

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