Writer: Scott Wherle
Artists: Eric Wolfe Hanson (p), Barbara Schulz with Steven Hall (i)
Publisher: Image Comics
The book opens by showing us that Ryan Archer is still deeply disturbed by the wholesale massacre he witnessed last issue, but when he's approached by a fellow inmate who claims she's a Galactic Defender, we see Ryan's interest is raised as it would seem that she knows why Baron Karza is so interested in him. We then look in on Biotron, who we see has traveled to what looks to be an information hub, in a bid to access a buried file, that was triggered when he passed Ryan Archer in the hall, but when he does so, he appears to malfunction. As Biotron situation draws the attention of an entity named Biosmith, who presumably is responsible for the creation & maintenance of Biotron, the book then shifts it's attention to General Nova, who is busy running Princess through her combat training. However, she manages to offend the thin-skinned Princess, which in turn earns General Nova the unwanted attentions of Baron Karza. We then look in on Acroyear & Ganam Jafain (this book's version of Bug), as they find the energy chambers holding them captive short out, and they join the swarm of slaves in a mass escape. The book then ends with the cell holding Ryan Archer being opened, and he too is set free, apparently by the palace guards.
There are times when I miss the good old days when writers seemed to be in a mad dash to gather together their teams so they could get on to the more entertaining material that could be found after the team was assembled. Somewhere along the line though writers seemed to realize that the formation of a team is something that can be carried over several issues, and while this unhurried approach has work very nicely over in the pages of the "Ultimates", given this title is currently coming out on a bimonthly schedule, I find this slow start to be rather irritating. What's more the slower pace hasn't resulted in better characterization, as when the Micronauts made their daring escape from Baron Karza in the opening issue of the original series, their personalities were already better defined than the collection of characters we've seen in the opening three issues of this new series. In fact the personalities of this new cast have been so poorly defined, that I find myself transposing the personalities of their counterparts from the original series, which at the moment doesn't look like it'll be too far off the mark any way. In fact, the only real surprising kick in the pants we've received in the new series, thus far has been Biotron's mass murder scene.
On the other hand I am going to stick with this book, as the original series was one of first titles that I latched on to when I was just starting to discover comic books, and even with this new book's slow start the elements that made the original series so entertaining, look to be present in these pages as well. We have Baron Karza as a thoroughly evil bastard with this iron fist rule, and his ominous sounding body banks. We have a collection of escaped slaves who will presumably hook up to form the Micronauts. We have an entire universe to explore, with what looks to be a diverse collection of alien races, and this in turn should mean a wide variety of alien environments to play around with. The story has also shown use that the passage between the Microverse & Earth is possible, and that on Earth the population of the Microverse will find themselves in a land of giants. In fact the only element that this new series lacks is its ability to play with Marvel villains & the gratuitous guest-appearance by it's heroes. In other words this book has too much promise for me to abandon ship this early in the voyage, but I'm not exactly thrilled by the plodding approach that book has taken to reach this point of the story.
First off I'd much rather have an artist on the book who would allow this title to come out on a monthly schedule, so that instantly earns the art team of this book a check in the negative column. There's also the news that this book will be getting itself a new artist in a couple issues, which doesn't exactly have me excited by the prospect of this title engaging in musical chairs with its art team this early in the game. However, I guess I really should get around to commenting on the art itself, and I will concede that it's a pretty nice fit for the title. The updated looks of Biotron, Baron Karza & Acroyear are pretty impressive, and this title's version of Bug is an equally strong design. This issue also gives us our first look at Microtron, and while we don't get a look at his color scheme, the new version of the character looks pretty cool. Now, the backgrounds are a bit too open for my liking, but when the art calls for a cityscape shot, or an establishing shot of a new location, the art steps up to the plate. I do have to say that the cover to this issue is my favorite thus far, as its a great cover design, that makes good use of blank space to make the image we can see all the more disturbing.
This book seems to be taking forever to reach the point where I would start to label it entertaining, and while the bimonthly schedule is partly to blame, the simple fact of the matter is Scott Wherle seems to have some serious pacing problems. I mean I'm sure there are fans of the original series who have latched onto this book in a bid to recapture their youth (guilty as charged), but frankly fond remembrances of what this book was, is all that is keeping me on this book, as the opening three issues of this book have barely even scratched the surface. The characters who will eventually form the Micronauts are poorly defined, and the book seems reluctant to spend too long exploring any one character, as after a little taste of characterization the book quickly jumps to another character. This book has the potential to be quite good, maybe even great, and it's a fairly unique creature, as science fiction is largely untapped in today's mainstream market. However, the slow pacing is quickly killing my enthusiasm.
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