Wednesday, June 28, 2017
The Micronauts, Part 3
At the close of The Micronauts #3, the main characters are on Earth and have chased off the bad guys who pursued them from the Microverse, but their ship was badly damaged and one of their number--Bug--was separated from them.
Micronauts #4 (April 1979) continues the saga in a fast-paced, expertly-plotted action tale. Bill Mantlo is one of my favorite writers--I think I've written before that it seems pretty much impossible for him to write something that isn't made of pure fun. Here is one of the best examples I've seen of how good he was at juggling different plot elements and characters over several locations and make sure we always understand what is going on.
I won't try to jump back and forth between the various plot threads the way the story does. Instead, I'll just separate them out and discuss each individually.
Back on Earth, Ray Coffin has taken his son Steve and the remains of Microverse ships & aliens to NASA. Ray is a former astronaut and wants to show all this to a former colleague named Phil Prometheus. Phil works at the Human Engineering Life Laboratories (H.E.L.L.) which is a bit of foreshadowing that Ray unwisely ignores. Bug has sneaked along in hopes of figuring out a way to obtain or build a ship. The other Micronauts track him there and sneak in as well.
Unfortunately for the Coffins, Phil Prometheus now lives in Crazy Town. He is part cyborg after an accident on a space station, his security guards are robots (so the rest of NASA doesn't know what's going on in his lab), and he's built a dimensional tunnel that connects with the Microverse. He's obsessed with learning more about this other reality and he's willing to experiment on or abuse anyone to get more information.
It's all great stuff. I continue to be impressed by Bill Mantlo's world-building here--it really is very sophisticated. Michael Golden's art is fun and gives an otherworldly aspect to the story when that is needed.
We'll return to the Micronauts in a few weeks. Next week, we'll jump back to 17th Century France and see what the DC Universe version of the Three Musketeers are up to.