Nostalgia is often the key to unlocking my wallet. I have overpaid for countless action figures, purchased tickets to Michael Bay explodegasims, and bought video game remakes that have left me angry at myself for believing in the magic of my childhood memories. Trying to recapture youthful wonder has become a lucrative industry thanks to Gen-Xers and Millennials. Yet, this tends to only really work on something that had lasting impact on pop culture. When that nostalgia is rooted in something so niche that even the calculator watch wearing hipster only has the vaguest recollection of; success is a less of a likelihood. When it comes to rebooting a comic franchise that was based on a toy line from 70's and early 80's and your name is not G.I. Joe, you have your work cut out for you.
Micronauts, as you may not remember, was a series of toys produced by Mego that was licenced off the Takara toy line of Micromen. Highly articulated, plastic injection molded, action figures where in their infancy back then. These toys launched a comic book universe: a universe that continued to exist long after Mego folded and the toys have been lost to toy boxes and Ebay accounts.
The "Microverse" is a subatomic universe where planets and solar systems exist in similar relation to our own... just... you know.... smaller. There is a wide range of species, robots, and gizmo's that outpaced the limits of 1970's toy manufacturing thanks to Marvel Comics writer Bill Mantlo. In time the Micronauts will have had adventures with the X-Men and even Guardians of the Galaxy. Micronauts jumped to Image, then Devil's Due Publishing, and now finally resides with IDW and Hasbro. Three decades of narrative tie it all together. This is both the blessing and the curse.
Part of the problem with having a niche comic with such a rich backstory is that it often leaves little room for character innovation without doing damage to the world which the nostalgic collector. Fortunately for John Barber (editor for IDW), they found the right writer craft a world in which the grizzled old toy collector can appreciate while still being accessible to the infinity scarf wearing youth that might be looking for something new to read.
Cullen Bunn, as many of us at the Court of Nerds have said before, is one of the most diligent and loving writers of this generation. He artfully crafts stories that are relevant to today using characters from yesterday. Micronauts further proves that a wry wit and clever dialog can make even the most niche of narratives accessible.
Instead of using the tired, and played out, cast of characters that most of the Micronaut stories of the past were about; Bunn introduces us to a new set of roguish mercenaries. The leader of the merry band is the Pharonic looking Oziron Rael (Oz to his friends). He owns one of the few "warp capable" ships left in the microverse and tends to deal with the less than lawful. He is a bit of Han Solo, a bit of Peter Quill, and a bit of Gambit all in one. He leads his crew into what could only be a set-up and has to jimmy-dick his way out biological warfare complex.
The artist I instantly recognized from his work with RA Salvatore on the Dungeons and Dragons comic series: David Baldeon. His character styling is a perfect compliment to the wonder storytelling: fresh but not straying too far from inspiration from which the comic derives.
The end result is a comic which i can appreciate for it ties to the past, without getting bogged down in the minutia by it. The only downside is that even with all that this book has going for it, it still will not have the mass appeal that Voltron or the Shadow have.
How I hope I am wrong about that.
Rating: 9/10 Decapitated Robotic Sentries