When site admin and contributor Turner told me he had a box of free comics for me to paw through, I was skeptical, a justifiable suspicion as I saw issue after issue covered in foil and 90sness. However in the recesses of this box was a run of Micronauts, As a kid enamored with “Captain Universe Spider-Man” who popped up on trading cards, action figures, and the like, I knew that Captain Universe, a transient power that bounces from host to host, first appeared in, of all places, Micronauts #8. Wouldn’t you know, there was a pretty sharp copy of #8 in the collection. Only I already had it. Still, I took it anyway, in case it was in better shape than my copy (it was, so there you go). For posterity’s sake, I decided to also take the copy of Micronauts #1, to see what the whole thing was about. Based on a toy line (a fact which is hard to come by in the book itself, which is good for storytelling, bad for marketing), Micronauts features a mishmash of sci-fi characters (including “Bug”, Princess Mari, something called Acroyear, and Arcturus Rann, a space commander) as they band together to take on the autocratic Baron Karza, ruler of the Microverse. Generic sci-fi action ensues as the group evades some low level flunkies (literally named “Dog Soldier”, though not looking like the Beagle Boys) and head toward “the fringe” in their spaceship, toward…EARTH! See ya next issue (not really, I’m not getting issue 2 or any more Micronauts).
One issue this issue raises is…what’s the Enigma Force, and is it the same as the Captain Universe power? The Enigma Force is mentioned by name here by some energy being thing named “Time Traveler”. Some Wiki’s list “Enigma Force” as the real name of Captain Universe, along with naming it the “Uni-Power”. Are they different? Are they the same? Should I keep issue 1 in case it actually is the first real appearance of Captain Universe? The thing is, those same wikis universally list the first appearance of Captain Universe as Micronauts #8, so I’ll probably just stick with that. As for the Micronauts in general…if you like sprawling sci-fi, maybe, but I’ll pass.
The What If Podcast returns as we discuss Galactus, his heralds, Dazzler, Iron Man, and King Arthur, among others. Throw in Avengers movie talk, Counting Crows, and Antonio Sabato Jr for good measure.
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When I found some loose Paradise X issues in a dollar bin recently, it was the culmination of an entirely too long 15 year journey, similar to what I experienced with Venom 2099 in the pages of Spider-Man 2099. When the very first preview of Earth X was packed in with an issue of Wizard all those years ago, I was instantly intrigued by the haggard Captain America and other wacky character designs (wacky character re-designs are half of why I love Marvel’s What If series). The series came and went, and though I thought the designs were awesome, this series came at a time where I was getting out of comics as a teenager (to get into…professional wrestling…more on that at a later date), and so I didn’t pick up any of the issues. Flash forward 9 0r 10 years, I’ve graduated college and have returned home to the geekery of comic books. I pick up the Earth X graphic novel and I’m…underwhelmed. Perhaps I built it up in my mind too much over the years, as the last thing that I was interested in before I “left” comics for a while, but it didn’t do it for me, to the point I even sold the book back on Amazon. A few more years later, I pick up both volumes of the Universe X series, and for whatever reason, I liked it much more than Earth X. I think what stood out the most to me was its efforts to try and tie all of Marvel’s versions of “the devil” into a coherent train of thought, as well as trying to explain why Marvel’s earth is so wacky, and why there are multitudes of “all powerful” devices, each more “all powerful” than the last. If you’ve ever looked at comic book mega-events and thought for a second “why is everything so crazy for this universe all the time?”, Universe X might be worth checking out.
As for Paradise X, while I’m intrigued by Universe X, I’m hesitant to drop $50 or more to try and track down both volumes of the graphic novels. So when I found issue 12, I thought to myself “Hey, this is probably near the end of the series, I’ll just read the end and see what’s been happening.” Lo and behold, we get some of what I liked about Universe X: an allusion to the fact that Galactus is eating Celestial embryos inside of planets when he “eats worlds”, and a plot thread about Excalibur, the sword of legend, and how it fits in the schema of “all powerful” weapons in the Marvel Universe. The overarching plot is about Captain Mar-Vell creating a “paradise”, a purgatory free from death, that is expanding and slowly consuming the universe as its numbers grow. While these plot threads do entice me, I’ll probably hold off for now and concentrate my money on hockey tickets. Tis the season!
The What If Podcast returns to its slideshow form with Episode 19 as we discuss Cable of the X-universe (-Force, -Men, -Factor, take your pick) as well as Forearm, Marvel movies, and Days of Future Past! Specifically, we cover What If Volume 2, #s 46 and 47, What If Cable Destroyed the X-Men, and What If Magneto Took Over the USA?