The Micronauts are back, just in time for their upcoming feature film debut! However, whether that flick’s a hit or not is a question for another day. Right now, the focus is on writer Cullen Bunn and artist David Baldeon’s new series, and the question on everybody’s mind is – is it good?
Micronauts #1 (IDW Publishing)
If you were a child of the 1970s or ’80s, you may remember playing with Micronauts toys (and probably losing many of their interchangeable parts). Even if you’re too young to remember characters like Acroyear and Baron Karza, it’s possible you’re familiar with the toyline and don’t even realize it. Many of the now iconic Generation 1 Transformers, including Megatron, Soundwave and Bumblebee, all originated in the New Microman line, which Hasbro brought to American toy shelves.
And yes, the same forces that brought you Transformers and G.I. Joe movies want to do the same for the Micronauts (and even M.A.S.K.!). So there’s no better time to hop on the micro-sized bandwagon.
Why does this book matter?
While I don’t know much about Micronauts lore, aside from characters’ occasional appearances in Marvel Comics’ series like Earth X and Cable, Bunn and Baldeon are pretty much starting from scratch here. So there’s no need to be intimidated by this debut issue, especially if you’re a fan of Bunn’s other work, such as The Sixth Gun and Magneto.
So what does IDW have in store for Micronauts? Here’s the official synopsis for #1:
THEY CAME FROM A DYING UNIVERSE! ACROYEAR, SPACE GLIDER, BIOTRON and their allies are back, on the run from the evil BARON KARZA, and blasting through a universe where magic and science vie for control! With resources dwindling, the long-lost TIME TRAVELERS may hold the key to salvation… but will it mean armageddon for our world?”
Isn’t that just the type of synopsis you’d expect to find on the backside of toy packaging? And that’s what this series does so well – it recaptures the feelings of fun and adventure that would accompany your favorite toy-based cartoon series and comic books you enjoyed when you were younger. And that’s no insult, because as good as some scripted TV dramas are, there’s always room for some good old-fashioned, Saturday morning, sci-fi fun.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
While Bunn’s hands may be somewhat tied when working on just one of several books in the X-Men franchise, Micronauts allows the talented writer to cut loose and partake in some major (and yet…micro) universe building.
With its alien worlds and races to a sense of history this debut issue barely has a chance to delve into, Micronauts is a sci-fi adventure in the vein of Star Wars. The roguish Oz is the series’ answer to Han Solo, while the oh-so-cool-looking Acroyear is oh-so Jedi. Or maybe I’m just thinking of Star Wars because series villain Baron Karza’s sinister black armor could give Darth Vader’s a run for its money.
Karza’s sleek look owes a lot to Baldeon’s fluid art. Vivid colors and expressive character designs help panels look like stills from the Micronauts cartoon that never was.
It can’t be perfect can it?
Like I said earlier, this comic has the feel of a cartoon adventure series, so just think back to the first episode of Transformers or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. They have to introduce the world and its characters and it takes a while before things really get good. That’s where we’re at right now, in my opinion.
Bunn and Baldeon are laying the groundwork for what’s sure to be a sprawling story, but you may not become attached to these characters and their adventures just yet. But that’s par for the course in the age of trade paperback collections.
Fortunately, this comic clearly isn’t just a cash grab. I remember when the first wave of ‘80s nostalgia books hit the shelves (remember Dreamwave?). The art looked nice, but the stories left much to be desired. You can tell Bunn is passionate about the Micronauts, and that’s all you can ask for from a creator.
Is It Good?
I believe that Micronauts fans will get the biggest kick out of reading this new spin on a classic concept. That doesn’t mean fans of Bunn’s other work should be scared away by a comic based on a toyline. Just imagine how refreshing reading this series will be in a few months when every other comic on the shelves is a Civil War II tie-in.
Plus, don’t you want to be able to explain Acroyear’s whole deal to Micronauts novices when their feature film becomes a smash hit?
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