|MICRONAUTS No. 4, July 2016|
Selling a somewhat disappointing 9,060 copies in July 2016, Cullen Bunn’s narrative for Issue Four of “Micronauts” predominantly consists of a rather bemusing, though most assuredly entertaining, flashback to the “dark days” when Baron Karza “stood at the Emperor’s side… as the Minister of Defence” and protected “him from enemies abroad and at home…” including “those he refused to acknowledge.” As a result much of the plot focuses upon the exploits of “the self-proclaimed Red Falcon”, the Microspace monarch’s arrogant and self-righteous son, who not only once “shouted commands" to the chief scientist’s own Acroyears during a mission to liberate the Pharoid Temples, but also shamelessly woos his black-armoured rival’s eventual wife amidst the palace’s less than private corridors.
Somewhat surprisingly however, none of these provocations actually seem motivation enough for the “genius in biological engineering” to kill Lear Sethis by themselves, and it isn’t until “the Prince of all the Micronauts” begins to spend his “every waking moment sequestered with the Time Travellers", basking “in the futures they revealed to him", that Karza feels obliged to act and have his foe’s drinking goblet poisoned. Indeed, even when this murderous act takes place the Baron is still depicted as a man morally torn between his ‘devotion’ to his ruler’s family and his ‘honest’ belief that for “the greater good of his Emperor” he must defend him against all dangers, even if “his son becomes one of those threats.”
Such dutiful obligation and apparent agonization on the part of this comic book series’ most famous villain, a genuine “despotic ruler of the Microverse” who has never hitherto shown restraint in “committing one unspeakably inhuman act after another”, was doubtless somewhat hard to digest by an audience all-too familiar with the previously printed Machiavellian machinations of the Force Commander. Yet seemingly demonstrates precisely the ‘meshing’ of the “Mego” toy-line “property’s magical nostalgia… with modern Twenty-First Century storytelling” “IDW Publishing” promised prior to the title’s release.
Setting aside any concerns as to this new depth to the character of Baron Karza, this twenty-page periodical additionally proves an enjoyable experience on account of its lavish-looking Max Dunbar breakdowns. Appearing somewhat reminiscent of cells taken from an animated cartoon, the Canadian artist’s pencilling, combined with the colouring of David Garcia-Cruz, provides the franchise’s main antagonist with a genuinely dark foreboding presence, whilst simultaneously imbuing Red Falcon with lots of garish colour as befits the egotistical blue-skinned super-warrior.
|The regular cover art of "MICRONAUTS" No. 4 by J.H. Williams III|