Issue by Issue – Micronauts #17

Writer – Bill Mantlo
Artist – Howard Chaykin
Inker – Al Milgrom
Colours – Roger Slifer
Letters – Jim Novak

Things are not going so well for the Micronauts when this issue begins and that goes for the Fantastic Four as well, as all of them have been captured by the Psycho-Man and his minions. Even Johnny Storm who is like unto a giant in this realm, has been subdued and their captor laughs as if this is how it all ends for the lot of them. Reed meanwhile has come up with a plan and putting it into motion is Ben Grimm, otherwise known as The Thing and Acroyear of the Micronauts, the two of them busting free together and thus liberating the rest of the companions. A battle soon rages again and while they do all right, Johnny Storm can do nothing but sit on the sidelines for fear he kills everyone by ‘flaming on’ and evaporating all of the remaining oxygen. Taking the reins this issue is the incomparable Bill Mantlo and artist extraordinaire Howard Chaykin, further chronicling a stealth mission that finds Sue Storm working with Bug and it ends up being successful, incapacitating the Psycho-Manipulator and thus depowering the Psycho-Man, at least to a point. Everyone else battles for their lives as this goes on, the forces against them seemingly endless. On another front, Marionette has done a little investigating and finds that Biotron and Microtron are in fact, still alive – having been reassembled by the machines of the Psycho-Man’s ship, automatic processes that could not tell the difference between friend or foe and Mari, to say the least, is overjoyed. That being said, tragedy strikes the Micronauts as Jasmine, the woman that Bug loves, is struck down and when all is eventually said and done, neither side has come out on top, the heroes of the tale merely living to tell the tale while Psycho-Man heads off to continue his reign of terror elsewhere. The artwork that accompanies this story is as strong as any seen in the title thus far and it draws the reader into each and every page, making the battle between the forces of good and evil live and breathe in the panels put down. Having the Fantastic Four team up with the Micronauts was a great idea, though just what they will say when they return to Earth and talk with S.H.I.E.L.D. is unknown at this point, but it does make the reader wonder. With the death of Jasmine, Bug has to be hurting pretty bad and how he acts going forward is going to be interesting, if he even stays with the team. What is evident is that Mantlo and Chaykin work extremely well together and the book and the readers are better for it.

4 out of 5

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