Micronauts #5 (May 1979)

Micronauts vol 1 #5

May 1979
“The Prometheus Pit”
by Bill Mantlo, Michael Golden and Joe Rubenstein

Tiny Micronauts – plus Muffin the dog – defending Steve from a Deathlok-type cyborg at the edge of a circular Prometheus Pit. (It’s a great cover!)

PAGES 1-2: The Micronauts arrive at H.E.L.L.

  • The Astrostation has an “ultimate flight-ceiling”: it can’t fly over a wire fence. It does seem that Astrostation isn’t the most appropriate name for the vehicle.
  • Acroyear is impervious to electricity as he’s able to rip through an electrified fence.

PAGE 3: Biotron has almost repaired the Endeavor.

  • Biotron’s constructed an adaptor to convert Earth’s domestic electricity so that it can be used to power the Endeavor.
  • Biotron has hydraulic leg extensions. (Biotron also appears to have a human sense of pride perhaps inherited from Rann).

PAGES 4-7 (6-7, 10-11): Marionette frees Muffin the dog from Ray Coffin’s car and the Micronauts enter the H.E.L.L. building.

  • Bug has an unmistakable smell, according to Microtron.
  • Dogs are extinct on Homeworld.
  • Microtron has long, extendable arms.
  • Mantlo pairs Microtron and Acroyear for comedic effect. Acroyear is presented as an emotionless warrior while Microtron has a sense of ironic humour.

PAGES 7-10 (11, 14-16): Professor Prometheus is a crazy cyborg and already knows about the Microverse. Bug defends Steve.

  • Prometheus is already aware of the Microverse. He has samples of dead beings from the Microverse in fluid-filled canisters and Acroyears on computer screens (Ray Coffin calls them “print outs”). Presumably, Karza has sent explorers beyond the Spacewall who have died.
  • Steve makes the mistake of mentioning Rann.
  • The Prometheus Pit was built was built to travel to the “Micro Universes”.
  • Prometheus analysed the dead specimens from the Microverse and reveals they are a BIONIC synthesis of man and machine.
  • Prometheus was almost killed by COSMIC RAYS when he was aboard Starlab. Remember, cosmic rays are the energy source that transformed the Fantastic Four (as well as Red Ghost and his apes). Prometheus was saved from death by becoming a cyborg. While it’s not explicitly stated, Prometheus has been made stronger by the cosmic rays (later in this issue he withstands blasts from Rann’s gun).
  • Prometheus rips off the fake skin covering on his face. That’s always the sign of an insane villain! His plan is to use the technology of the Microverse to transcend what little humanity remains of him and become a god. For the less astute readers, Bug notes the similarity with Karza.
  • The security guards are robots.
  • Bug defends Steve from Prometheus. It’s a great scene in showcasing Bug’s bravery. He might be wise-cracking but he has a strong sense of morality (this will be explored later on in the series).

PAGES 11-14 (17, 19, 22-23): On Homeworld, the captured rebels are processed into the Body Banks. Prince Argon has been transformed into a centaur but is easily subdued by Baron Karza. Slug is chosen as the next body for Duchess Belladonna.

  • The captives for the Body Banks are firstly put through the Purificath Bath and dressed in antiseptic prison uniform.
  • We see writing on the walls of the Command Center of the Body Banks. Superficially, it looks similar to Devangari, the alphabet used in languages such as Hindi and Sanskrit.
  • In conversation with Duchess Belladonna, Karza explains his construction of Homeworld’s society: one where the rich live in ever-lasting luxury, the middle-class work to earn immortality and the working classes use their wages to gamble in the temples of the Shadow Priests. The poorest end up as dog soldiers or in the Body Banks.
  • Prince Argon, Marionette’s brother, has been transformed into a centaur.
  • Karza has a personal FORCE-FIELD around him. He is able to fire energy beams from his eyes.
  • Slug draws attention to herself and Karza selects her body as the host for Duchess Belladona.

PAGES 15-17 (26-27, 30): The Micronauts come to the rescue. Prometheus and Ray Coffin fall into the Prometheus Pit.

  • Marionette rides Muffin to rescue Bug.
  • The floor of the laboratory tilts into the Prometheus Pit.
  • Bug tells Marionette that Insectivorids can stick to almost anything.
  • While Acroyear destroys one of the robots, Microtron uses his extendable arms to save Steve from falling into the pit.
  • Ray pulls Prometheus into the pit with him. They shrink to sub-molecular size as they fall.
  • The robot guards continue to follow orders: to seize the Micronauts (though I’m not sure how the robots know the team are called this) and throw them into the pit.

Next issue: “The Great Escapes!”