Review by Paul Bowler
Captain Oziron “Oz” Rael and the crew of the Heliopolis face imminent danger in Micronauts #3 as the universe grows ever more divided by war. Marooned on a backwater world and attacked by Baron Karza‘s forces, the Micronauts now, by chance, find themselves prisoners of Force Commander – Baron Daigon – who also knows Oziron Rael – and that connection is one that could make Rael and his crew even more of a target for Baron Karza’s forces!
The new Micronauts series from IDW Publishing, written by Cullen Bunn, with art by Max Dunbar, and based on the fondly remembered toy line and the original Marvel comic book series, continues the adventures of space pirate Oziron Rael, thrill-seeking Space Glider Phenelo-Phi, Space-Warrior Acroyear, Orbital Defender Larissa, a stolen Biotron unit, and Oz’s witty first mate, the small robot Microtron. Having fended off a deadly Acroyear Swarm to protect the local population on this barren world, the Micronauts relief when the Space Glider’s turned up to help proved short lived, as they are now… guests of the enigmatic Force Commander, and it looks like Oz’s past is starting to catch up with him…
I really like the way writer Cullen Bunn begins to flesh out the characters more in Micronauts #3 as Oz and his crew find themselves incarcerated and taken aboard Baron Daigon’s star ship. It quickly becomes clear that Oziron Rael has had dealings with this Barron of the Ministry of Science before, and he’s even afforded a modicum of “special treatment” which he capitalizes on to keep his crew together. However, news of Daigon’s intervention and the destruction of the Valtricos Research Station soon reaches Barron Karza on the Ministry of Defence deep space outpost situated on the fringes of the entropy cloud, where it seems deceit, paranoia, and suspicion make uneasy bedfellows in these troubled times of interstellar conflict.
After all the non-stop action of the first two issues, Cullen Bunn instigates a refreshing change of pace with this issue of Micronauts. It gives us a chance to pause for breath and to really get to know the characters more, especially Ozrion Rael, as we discover where he comes from, and the role his race played in the grand scheme of things in times long since past. Bunn’s new take on the Micronauts really begins to form a clearer narrative now with these revelations. The characterization also shines, with the banter between Oz, Microtron, and Acroyear proving to be another highlight of the issue, and great fun at times, Phenolo-Phi and Larissa also begin to forge a close bond, and the simmering undercurrent of mistrust between Baron Karza and his wife, the Mistress of Spies, Shazrella, is a gloriously warped and duplicitous state of unholy matrimony!
Max Dunbar’s artwork for this issue is also highly impressive. Unfussy, yet concise, page layouts ensure the story flows seamlessly between characters and locations. The opening scenes provide a sweeping backdrop for Baron Daigon’s forces as Oz and his crew are processed for departure, while the interchangeable nature of the classic Micronaut toys is powerfully realized by Dunbar as Karza throttles his would be assassin, and the insightful moments in the cell really conveys the raw emotion of Oz’s story as he discusses his past with his crewmates. The colors by David Garcia-Cruz are fresh and vibrant throughout, providing excellent contrasting shades and tones between the many locales. For me though, the standout moment is a flashback to a key point in the history of this micro universe, where mysterious time chambers, Pharoids, and the legacy of the Time Travellers entwine with all encompassing paradox of the entropy storm that now threatens all existence.
Events in this issue build towards a tantalizing cliff-hanger, when Oz is summoned for a meeting with Baron Daigon. It’s a pivotal scene, especially when Oziron’s pacifism challenges the Force Commanders scientific reasoning, because there’s no escaping the fact that when it comes to the crisis now tearing their universe apart the role of scientist and warlord has now become virtually indistinguishable from the other.
Micronauts #3 steers this new IDW series to even greater heights, with its engaging storyline by Cullen Bunn and dynamic artwork by Max Dunbar, miracles, science, technology and faith, are skilfully threaded through the narrative of this new Micronaut universe in the most sublime and exciting way imaginable.
Publisher: IDW Publishing / Writer: Cullen Bunn / Art: Max Dunbar
Colors: David Garcia-Cruz / Letters: Tom B. Long