Micronauts issue #1
Published by Marvel Comics Group in 1978.
Story Written by Bill Mantlo & Mike Golden
Drawn by Mike Golden & Josef Rubinstein
The Story :
The comic opens with Prince Argon and his sister Princess Mari fleeing
with supporters from an Acroyear air patrol. They have been violently
deposed as rulers of Homeworld by their people. Both manage to barely
escape a bombardment of Puls-Rays. At their refuge, they meet with their
remaining supporters and an enigmatic Time Traveler. But their peace is
quickly ended by an attack by Baron Karza and his Dog-Soldiers. Argon
is felled by Karza himself with the Acroyear Prince Shaitan watching.
Karza orders Argon's body to be taken to the dreaded Body Banks.
The H.M.S. Endeavour returns home after it's 1,000 year journey of
exploration. An honor guard awaits it's occupants, Commander Arcturus
Rann and his Bioroid companion, Biotron. Commander Rann exits the ship
and is asked to identify himself, he does and is then fired upon. The
unconscious Rann is then ordered to be taken away and imprisoned by Baron
Karza. He awakens to find himself surrounded by aliens and cyborgs. He
asks where he is and is answered that it's the "Pleasure Pits" and that
he's about to be dinner. Rann then finds himself quickly pulled to the
ceiling, the mob that had surrounded him was now forcefully dispatched
to the corners of the cell by an Acroyear. Rann recognized both for their
repsective species, the one that pulled him to safety being an Insectivrid
named Bug. The Acroyear is called simply Acroyear. Bug explains how they
came to be there. That while Rann traveled at around the speed of light,
years ago, Homeworld had discovered warp drive and conquered many of the
worlds he had found during his long mission. He's told the source and
ruler of all was Baron Karza. Rann notes that he had been taught over a
thousand years ago by a Doctor Karze and ponder if it's the same man.
Outside the cell is a small Bioroid, with him is a beautiful and brightly
clothed girl. He seems to control her every move and refers to her as his
Marionette. The surrounding crowd is enthralled by the performance. Rann,
Bug and Acroyear see them from the cell, Bug starts to say who the girl
really is, but is silenced by Acroyear. Rann can only see her beauty as
The next day opens in the Imperial Gallery of the Body Banks, Baron Karza
and Prince Shaitan sit and watch as Microtron and Marionette perform for
the crowd. Our heroes are then marched into the arena, Marionette dancing
amongst them, Rann is lost to the view of her. Karza orders for the blood
games to begin. a giant robot tank enters as Bug reveals Marionette's true
identity to Rann, The Princess Mari. Sadly he's told that the planned escape
is now changed with the appearance of the Death Tank. The tanks launches
energy attacks on the group that our heroes belong too. Many are killed.
Acroyear tells Rann to stand behind him, that he must be protected as he
is told that he's the only thing that Karza fears. Bug quickly moves, he
leaps and bounds about the giant tank, he throws an explosive into a weak
point. The tanks head is destroyed, it's organic brain no more.
Shaitan exclaims that our heroes are escaping, but Karza merely states that
it's a part of his plans. Acroyear moves and finishes the body of the giant
death machine. The Time Traveler appears to Rann, telling him that it's
now the time to escape. Explosions rock the arena, Acroyear knocks down
the gates of the arena. Outside they find Marionette and Microtron with
a wagon, waiting for out trio. Acroyear is attacked by flying members of
his people. He quickly acts and arms himself with a sword of one of them
and begins to dispatch them, telling the survivors to tell his cousin
Shaitan, that a blood feud now exists between them. Marionette cries
by the names Dallon and Sepsis for the trio to board the wagon. There
Rann asks her to repeat the names, the Time Traveler appears and tells him,
that yes, they are the names of his parents. His parents, Karza's first
victims for his Body Banks a thousand years ago. His parents, now, for
their defiance of Karza, the symbols fo the resistance against Karza.
Our group of heroes reach the space port, they quickly board Rann's ship
and escape to space. Biotron's actions due to the telepathic connection
to Rann has enabled them to be ready to leave and escape to the fringes
of the Homeworld system. Their pursuers are destroyed as if hitting a wall
as the Endeavour sails onward ....... onward to Earth!
The Review :
The art by Mike Golden and Josef Rubinstein is a classic to behold
here. It's an amazing use of shadows and light with clean organic lines
that also give crispness to metals. Beautiful stuff to look at again.
It's so much like seeing a Star Wars but better still. Boy does it hold up!
Marionette looks great, the Bioroid heroes look like robots and the Acroyears
are a big wow.
The story is the likes of a Star Wars but far better. The pacing is
brisk, but tantalizing. You just want to see the next page and meet the next
character. Already, the character's have been fleshed to some degree with
only a little dialog. I was left feeling the same now, as I had when I
first read this back in 1978. Good stuff.
Over all, this is a classic, a true gem of Marvel Comics of the 70s.
The art and story mesh in a way that made Star Wars seem like a poor copy.
While it may be the reverse, that doesn't change the feeling that I was
left with. Micronauts as a result got me as a regular buyer when I rarely
bought a title every single month. Simply fantastic and the start of a great
adventure. The Endeavour is still one of my favorite spaceship designs to
today. Pure Star Wars, but something original too. Seek this series out!
Bonus Picture, The Endeavour!
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