Issue by Issue – Micronauts #26

Writer – Bill Mantlo
Artist – Pat Broderick
Inker – Armando Gil
Colours – Bob Sharen
Letters – Joe Rosen

After having gleaned the information they needed from the mind of Mentallo, the Micronauts seek out the Esper division of S.H.I.E.L.D. which just so happens to be aboard one of their Helicarriors, for it is there that the dark presence that was sensed has originated from. There is no time wasted as Bill Mantlo and Pat Broderick throw the heroes right into the thick of the action as Hydra is attacking S.H.I.E.L.D. and the Micronauts find that they must also join said battle if they are to get anywhere in discovering just what it is that they are looking for. The fight is a hard one as the forces they face are overwhelming and the Micronauts learn a few things while all of this is taking place, the first of which is that S.H.I.E.L.D. has a number of dead Acroyears and Micronaut ships aboard, something they find more than a little disturbing. The second is that Nick Fury is an honourable man and is willing to help them in their quest which leads to the third and that is the return of Baron Karza, who with the help of the Espers, has now manifested within the Helicarrior. The villain’s first order of business is to claim the Enigma Force for himself and he does just that, the man’s presence and power too much for Arcturus to prepare for on such short notice. It is not long before Karza gets what he wants and it leaves with the Espers dead, the Micronauts defeated and Mari seemingly passed beyond the realm of the living much to the agonising dismay of Commander Rann. So not only is Karza marshalling his forces in the Microverse, he also intends to claim the Earth and the universe it resides in for his own. Mantlo crafts an incredibly tight and taut tale, one that never stops for a second as Broderick’s incredible pencils make it all come alive, each panel a thing of beauty. While one would expect this to be a full-length shocker, Mantlo still manages to pack in an extra back-up story in Tales of the Microverse and readers discover that Mari is alive and well, surprisingly not dead but merely shrunk down and now back on Homeworld. So it is that with Slug and Prince Pharoid, she must convince the rest of the Homeworld council that Baron Karza must be stopped immediately, that forces must be rallied before the man can take hold and marshal his armies. Though they all agree, the book is left off on a note of foreboding for the shadow of Karza was a dark one that lasted a very long time and escaping the memory of it is easier said than done.

4.5 out of 5

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