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Micronauts #6

Posted: Friday, March 21, 2003
By: Jason Cornwell



Writer: Dan Jolley
Artists: Stefano Caselli (p), Barbara Schulz (i)

Publisher: Image Comics

Plot:
The book opens with the Micronauts landing in an abandoned colony where they hope to remain hidden from the forces of Baron Karza, which are doggedly searching the Microverse for them. We then see the group is a bit on edge, as some members of the group believe that they should keep moving, and we soon see that this might've been a good idea, as the slave traders that initially captured most of the Micronauts has tracked them down, and they are eager to capture these escaped slaves so they can sell them back to Baron Karza a second time. While the Micronauts put up a good fight the superior armor & weaponry of the slave traders proves to be their undoing, and to further rub their face in their defeat we see the leader of the slave traders destroys the Micronauts' ship. However, before the ship was obliterated, we see Ryan Archer was able to enter the ship & rescue the captive Persephone (Baron Karza's daughter), though she isn't exactly thanking him for saving her life. We then see the Micronauts manage to have a spot of luck as a building whose support columns were damaged during the fight collapses on their captors, and the newly freed Micronauts leave the planet in the slave trader's ship. As the issue ends we see Archer discovers Karza plans on invading Earth.

Comments:
I've heard nothing but good things about Dan Jolley's work on the "JSA: Liberty Files" for DC, so I was rather pleased to see his name in the credit box. There is a nice sense of forward motion to this issue, as now that the various cast members have been brought together the book can now begin to develop the relationships that will exist between these characters, as well as flesh out their personalities a bit more. This in turn allows a couple moments of insight that left me wanting more, such as the revelation that Acroyear has an expiration date, or the fact that Archer risked his life to save the life of a woman who would gladly see him tortured in the most hideous methods imaginable. Now the characters are still a bit one dimensional, and I do find myself transposing the personalities of the characters from the original series onto the new characters, which doesn't speak too highly of the new book's ability to make these characters its own, but I will concede that this issue was a step in the right direction. I also have to say that there are character's who a slowly emerging out of the shadow of their previous counterparts, as Acroyear is emerging as a very engaging presence, and the idea that Biotron was initially a killing machine brings a new twist to the character.

The book also nicely plays up the idea that these characters are fugitives in a universe where they are going to find precious few moments when they can truly feel safe. I mean this issue does a nice job of suddenly introducing a threat into the mix, as while I probably would've been happy with an entire issue spent fleshing out the cast, the simple fact of the matter is that this issue gains a nice sense of energy & excitement when the Micronauts find themselves under attack. There's also some interesting twists, like when the Micronaut's ship is destroyed, and there's a moment in this issue where it looks like the Micronauts have managed to get themselves recaptured in a single issue which was a bit worrisome considering it took them five issues to make their escape. I also have to say that the last page of this issue looks extremely promising, as I always found the Micronauts adventures on Earth to be the most exciting issues of the original series, so it's good to see the size difference is still a factor, and that a trip to Earth looks to be in the cards for this new group. My only quibble with this book is that Archer's ability to see the future is going to quickly become an annoying element, if it continues to play such a strong role in future issues.

Six issues into this series and we're now hitting our third art team. Now this does leave me a bit concerned about this seeming lack of stability on the artistic front, but I will say that out of the three, Stefano Caselli is my favorite, and here's hoping that he's the one who'll emerge as this book's regular artist. The art on this issue has a nice, crisp look to it that seems to understand how to deliver visually exciting action. From the page where we see Acroyear & Biotron racing into battle, to the rather amusing look at Knave's less than successful efforts in this same battle, the art does show a good eye when it comes to delivering the action. The art also does some nice work on the facial work, as the Princess' hatred is clearly reflected in her expressions, and when Archer receives his flashes of inspiration the art nicely details his distracted state. The only real complaint I would make about the art is that there's a scene in this issue where a building suddenly collapses, thus securing the Micronauts freedom, and the art doesn't really do that great a job when it comes to clearly showing us why this building suddenly collapsed, or why this inanimate object displayed such an extraordinary sense of timing. The cover to this issue is a great looking piece of art though.

Final Word:
This issue does have quite a bit more jump to it than we had been receiving, and the characters are a little better defined. However, the book still has some trouble when it comes to delivering action that displays a sense of imagination, as seeing two group fire weapons, and swinging energy swords doesn't really grab my interest. In fact the big climax to this issue's battle is delivered in such an awkward manner, that I was actually left wondering what exactly we had just seen. I mean having the Micronauts captured, and than freed when a building collapses on their captors is hardly a solution that makes one admire the creative thought that the writer has just displayed. Still the issue does add some interesting ideas to the mix, such as Acroyear's life span having an expiration date, and the mystery involving Biotron & the infant he liberated from Baron Karza's labs has left me rather curious.



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