Saturday, January 14, 2017

Wanted TPB: Micronauts Omnibuses Volume 1 & 2

Writer: Various
Artist: Various
Publisher: Marvel Comics (
 Micronauts #1-54 Annuals 1 & 2, The X-Men and the Micronauts #1-4, and Micronauts: The New Voyages #1-20, Bug #1

Dork Note: Look at the artist that worked on Micronauts...Michael Golden, Howard Chaykin, Steve Ditko, Rich Buckler, Pat Broderick, Val Mayerik, Keith Giffen, Greg LaRocque, Gil Kane, Luke McDonnell, Mike Vosburg, Butch Guice, and Kelley Jones. Hot damn this needs to be reprinted! Download Large Version

Comic Book Origins: The Micronauts comic books featuring a group of characters based on the Mego Micronauts toy line. The first title was published by Marvel Comics in 1979, with both original characters and characters based on the toys. Marvel published two Micronauts series, mostly written by Bill Mantlo, until 1986, well after the toy line was cancelled in 1980.

The Micronauts began life as comic book characters thanks to a fortuitous accident on Christmas 1977. Marvel Comics writer Bill Mantlo's son Adam opened a new present, a line of the Mego Corporation's Micronauts action figures. Seeing the toys, Mantlo was instantly struck by inspiration to write their adventures. Convincing then Editor-in-chief Jim Shooter to get the comics license for these toys, Mantlo was hired to script their series.

The first series of the Micronauts ran from January 1979 to August 1984 and included 59 issues and two Annuals. The series was written by Bill Mantlo and featured art by Michael Golden. Other artists on the series included Howard Chaykin, Steve Ditko, Rich Buckler, Pat Broderick, Val Mayerik, Keith Giffen, Greg LaRocque, Gil Kane, Luke McDonnell, Mike Vosburg, Butch Guice, and Kelley Jones. Micronauts, along with Moon Knight and Ka-Zar the Savage, became one of Marvel's first ongoing series to be distributed exclusively to comic book stores beginning with issue #38 (Feb. 1982).

In the United Kingdom, The Micronauts was first included as a supporting strip in Marvel UK's Star Wars Weekly comic in January 1979 for several months and then in the first nine issues of Star Heroes Pocketbook, alongside Battlestar Galactica, before joining new Future Tense reprint anthology. Unlike the U.S. version, these strips were printed in black and white.

The Micronauts Special Edition five-issue limited series (December 1983-April 1984) reprinted issues #1-#12 and a back-up feature from #25. The X-Men and the Micronauts four-issue limited series (January 1984-April 1984) was co-written by Mantlo and Chris Claremont and drawn by Butch Guice.

The second volume of Micronauts, subtitled The New Voyages, was published from October 1984 to May 1986 and ran 20 issues. The series was written by Peter B. Gillis and featured early-career artwork by Kelley Jones. After this series the Marvel-owned license lapsed.

From the late 1990s the characters Marionette, Arcturus Rann and Bug (all Marvel properties) have appeared in various Marvel titles (without referencing the Micronauts label). Bug has appeared in a solo one-shot and together with cosmic hero Star-Lord, as part of a new incarnation of the Guardians of the Galaxy. 

Marvel Comics: The Micronauts originate in the Microverse, a microscopic universe full of strange planets like the human-inhabited Homeworld which is made up of diverse spherical habitats that are linked together in the fashion of a molecular chain. The original team comes together in response to the threat posed by former bearded and balding academic turned murderous immortal black-armored dictator Baron Karza who gained control of Homeworld through the creation of the Body Banks where life-extending brain transplants are performed on the rich and inhuman genetic alterations on the poor.

Commander Arcturus Rann returned from a thousand-year deep space voyage in suspended animation with Biotron, his robot co-pilot on the HMS (Homeworld Micro Ship) Endeavor, to discover Karza has slain the royal family, descendants of Rann's parents Dallan and Sepsis who are now worshiped as virtual gods. What follows is an epic war across the Microverse pitting Rann and his allies against Karza. In addition to Biotron, Rann's team of "Micronauts" includes Princess Mari of Homeworld, who, with her brother Prince Argon, are the only survivors of the slaughtered royal family. Known to the team as Marionette, she falls in love with Rann and leads the team on occasion. The alien gladiators Acroyear and Bug also join Rann's cause, and although completely different - one a noble armor-clad warrior prince and the other a wisecracking insectoid thief - the two become best friends and staunch allies of all Micronauts. The last member of the original team is Microtron, Mari's robot tutor. Although small, Microtron is a very resourceful R2-D2-style character and very supportive of all team members.

Warping through the Spacewall, an energy barrier between the Microverse and our much larger universe, and becoming trapped for a time on Earth where they enlarge to the size of action figures, the team encounter the to them giant-sized Florida teenager Steve Coffin, his ex-astronaut father Ray (who is briefly transformed into the first Captain Universe) and the evil cyborg scientist Professor Prometheus before returning to the Microverse.

After a series of battles against Karza (who, among his many other powers, can turn into a centaur and fire his fists like rockets) and his genetically-engineered army of vicious and obedient Dog Soldiers, the Micronauts triumph and Karza is apparently killed. Rann is able to claim victory with the possession of the Enigma Force - a semi-sentient power source that bonded with him during his period of suspended animation and appeared in the form of floating, glowing green entities known as the Time Travelers - which enables him to perform incredible feats. The team then encounters the superhero team the Fantastic Four, who have traveled to a different region of the Microverse to battle the villain Psycho-Man. Unfortunately, Bug's love, Jasmine, is killed during the climax of the battle. It is shortly after this encounter that the Micronauts again become trapped on Earth, at a greatly reduced size.

After encounters with the villains Plantman and Molecule Man, the team battle the Fixer and Mentallo, who have allied themselves with the organization HYDRA. Joined by one of Acroyear's people - Dagon - the team discovers that the villains and HYDRA are secretly under the control of Baron Karza, who, courtesy of Prince Argon's body, is able to resurrect himself. Although the organization S.H.I.E.L.D. and several representatives of the races of the Microverse help the Micronauts finally defeat Karza, the battle is costly. Biotron is destroyed by Dagon - an agent of Karza; Bug's Queen dies in battle; Rann is rendered comatose and Acroyear's traitorous albino brother Shaitan dies summoning the Worldmind - the parallel power to the Enigma Force that sustains their own home planet. In desperation, Acroyear bonds with the Worldmind to defeat Karza but in doing so destroys his world.

While trying to awaken Rann, the remnants of the team have an encounter with the villain Nightmare and accidentally discover that the Microverse is unraveling. A warning left in Rann's mind reveals that three keys will restore balance to the Microverse. The team embarks on a new quest across three new regions of the Microverse: Oceania, Polaria, and the Dead Zone. The Micronauts are eventually successful, and also acquire several teammates, including the bestial Devil and his companion Fireflyte and the robot Nanotron.

A new problem arises when Prince Argon, turning tyrant after donning the sacred white armor of the legendary Force Commander, begins displaying paranoia regarding the Micronauts, and eventually sends a special alien Death Squad to kill them. The Micronauts defeat the unit, and then encounter the mutant Nightcrawler and battle a new foe called Huntarr. Huntarr had been genetically engineered into a virtually indestructible living weapon by Argon to destroy the Micronauts, but Marionette makes him see that Argon is simply using him.

A war against Argon and his forces follows, with several beings from various locations in the Microverse - including Argon's ex-fiancee, the beautiful lowborn rebel leader Slug, and Prince Pharoid of Aegypta and his faithful lieutenant Margrave - joining the team in a bid to stop Argon. After several more encounters with beings such as Doctor Doom, the heroine the Wasp, and villain Arcade. Microtron and Nanotron sacrifice themselves to reanimate Biotron's consciousness in the Micronauts' new vessel. Argon is finally revealed to be controlled by the spirit of Baron Karza, who returns once more.

Karza kills Argon and deals the Micronauts a crushing defeat by killing Devil, Pharoid, Slug and Margrave. After regrouping and a series of skirmishes, the remaining Micronauts confront and defeat Karza once and for all.
The New Voyages

Weary of war, the surviving Micronauts leave behind the known Microverse (which they discover looking back resembles a galaxy shaped like a DNA Helix) and embark on a journey of exploration. They eventually discover the true nature of the Microverse and, in a final act that restores their ruined world, sacrifice themselves in order to repopulate the planets.

Marvel Cinematic Universe: The Micronauts' homeworld the Microverse makes a featured appearance in the film, Ant-Man (2015). The dimension appears in a scene in which Scott Lang / Ant-Man goes subatomic in order to defeat the villain Darren Cross / Yellowjacket. Lang manipulates his suit to sabotage Darren's suit, and accidentally begins to continuously shrink into what Hank Pym calls the Quantum Realm. While within the microverse, Lang sees glimpses of Pym's long-lost, presumed to be dead wife Janet van Dyne / Wasp who had previously gone subatomic to destroy a Soviet nuclear missile and of the cosmic entity Eternity. Previously believe to simply be one of Pym's theories, Lang's entrance into the Microverse is a key plot point and hints at the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe's ventures into alternate dimensions and realities being largely explored in Doctor Strange (2016). Lang's escape from the dimension gives Pym hope that he may one day see his wife again. The realm will appear to some degree in Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018) as the end of the first film leaves Hank Pym reinvigorated to find his wife again.

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