Saturday, 13 August 2016

Micronauts [2016] #1 - IDW Publishing

MICRONAUTS No. 1, April 2016
Penned by self-confessed Micronauts toy lover Cullen Bunn and apparently destined to be a book which “will feature lots of space-faring action” in its depiction of “an epic… civil war and cosmic weirdness, magic and super-science”, this opening instalment of ‘Editornaut’ John Barber’s “journey through Microspace” would clearly appear to have been a labour of love for its creative team considering the narrative’s prominent inclusion of Baron Karza, Acroyear, Biotron and Microtron. Yet whilst the GLAAD Media Award-winner’s script undoubtedly caters for “old school Micronauts fans”, courtesy of its wide-ranging representation of both “ruthless side(s) of a civil war ravaging the universe”, it seems disappointingly debatable whether many of this twenty-four page periodical’s 25,673 readers actually had much of an idea as to what the “small band of renegades” were genuinely up to.

Admittedly, the North Carolina-born writer’s basic plot simply revolves around an attempt by Oziron Rael to “slip past the blockade (of Baron Karza) and liberate the meds” for “systems that need that medicine – badly.” But such a straightforward mission is severely over-complicated by a couple of dialogue-rich interludes concerning the approach of a mysterious “entropic wave" towards the planet Saqqura, and the political manoeuvrings of Homeworld’s former chief scientist and his calculating wife Shazraella on board a Ministry of Defense Outpost skirting the entropy cloud perimeter.

Such mystifying machinations aside however, once Bunn has the Heliopolis deftly deposit Pharoid, Acroyear, Space Glider and Orbital Defender deep inside the Valtricos Research Station using warp tech, the storyline’s action finally heats up by portraying the team’s genetically engineered super-warrior savagely hacking his way through a corridor crammed full of well-armed war-bots with his energy sword; “Here they come. Take cover if you can find it. I’ll hold them off.” Indeed, the subsequent firefight between Oz, Larissa and Phenolo-Phi and the medical facility’s dome-headed sentries is as pulse-pounding as its laser beams are colourful.

Perhaps somewhat contentiously however, David Baldeon’s artwork for this ‘wild adventure’ is arguably a little too sharp for a comic book, with its disconcerting panels depicting the “roguish space pirate” blasting his way to relative safety unnervingly appearing to have been directly ‘lifted’ from an animation celluloid. It’s certainly clear why "barely taller than his Biotron toy" Bunn has “been a fan of David’s work for some time” and “tried to wrangle him into working with me on more than one occasion in the past.”
The regular cover art of "MICRONAUTS" No. 1 by J.H. Williams III

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