Issue by Issue – Micronauts Annual #1

Writer – Bill Mantlo
Artist – Steve Ditko
Inker – Steve Ditko
Colours – Andy Yanchus
Letters – John Costanza

The first annual issue of the Micronauts is written by Bill Mantlo, the scribe of their ongoing series and he is joined by none other than Steve Ditko who provides some great artwork to bring this trio of tales to life. The first deals with Arcturus Rann and Biotron before they returned to Homeworld, still on their thousand year journey of exploration. They come upon a planet, one that seems wondrous to the naked eye, but when they land they encounter a hostile being who warns them away. There is nothing the two can say that will change the being’s mind and though they do not mean to do so, they puncture the being’s helmet which in time will unwittingly cause his death. Before he does though, he tells Rann and Biotron about his planet and the perfection they sought to attain, a perfection that led to the death of the entire population. The second tale by Mantlo and Ditko chronicles a tale of Prince Argon and Princess Mari before their father, the king was killed. It takes place just before the first issue of the series and it shows how everything came about, their father’s murder by Baron Karza’s own hand and them going on the run for their lives, which as Karza puts it, was all according to his grand plan. In the final tale which continues off from the second, it finds Bug and Acroyear in the arena, fighting for their lives against a plethora of creatures much to Shaitan’s disappointment as he would rather have killed them outright. Of course, Karza knows what he is doing and them fighting in the arena is where they are needed for soon, if all goes according to his whims, it will lead him to the Enigma Force which he craves above all else. The entire issue is hosted by Time Traveler who introduces each story though he takes part in none. Mantlo gives readers a bit of history on each of the Micronauts, at least to a degree and while they do not necessarily dig into their characters or what shaped them, it does take a look at a time before they knew war, though betrayal would come at the hands of those they trusted and those they had thought they knew. The first tale is by far the most interesting of the three, but is the latter two that really pertain more to the ongoing events of the book and with Ditko’s expert draftsmanship; the stories come alive in perfect fashion. Altogether a great issue and one fans of the Micronauts are sure to love.

4 out of 5

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