After eleven issues of IDW Publishing’s Micronauts revival, the franchise’s iconic villain Baron Karza is making his way to Earth – with an eye towards conquering.
Scheduled to launch in April, Micronauts: Wrath of Karza ushers the black-clad villain from Microspace and into the wild blue yonder of our world. Micronauts series writer Cullen Bunn is joined by co-writer Jimmy Johnston and long-time Transformers artist Andrew Griffith in a five-issue series pitting Karza against the Micronauts and other Revolution heroes including the Transformers, G.I. Joe, M.A.S.K., and Rom.
Newsarama spoke with both Bunn and Johnston about this new villain-led miniseries and what it means for the Micronauts franchise and IDW’s inter-connected Hasbro universe.
Newsarama: Cullen, Jimmy - why is Baron Karza looking to conquer Earth?
Cullen Bunn: Baron Karza's universe - the universe from which the Micronauts originate - is dying. A cloud of weird energy - the Entropy Storm - is eating away at its hearts, and it is continuing to expand. Baron Karza has been trying to find a way to stop the cloud, but he has failed to do so. Recently, he caught a glimpse of Earth, a world upon which his people might thrive, and he has decided to relocate the surviving people of Microspace to a new home. Of course, Baron Karza is a conqueror at heart, so he's foregoing the idea of peaceful negotiation in order to make sure the citizens of Microspace come out on top.
Nrama: So this is a direct continuation of what's been going on in the previous Micronauts title?
Cullen Bunn: Yes. Jimmy and I have been seeding the events of this series in recent issues of Micronauts. You've seen dire, prophetic warnings about Baron Karza's invasion. You've seen some of his soldiers appearing here and there on Earth. This is the culmination of events that have been playing out since the beginning of the series.
That said, I think any reader will be able to pick this up and follow the story pretty easily as long as they can accept the idea of alien invaders trying to conquer Earth.
Jimmy Johnston: I didn’t get involved in the creative process on this title until after the Micronauts were on Earth, but a big part of the storytelling Cullen had begun centered around the idea of the characters’ lives. That may sound silly, but what I mean by it is that these characters have lives, and we are presenting stories that they are experiencing. So the Entropy Cloud isn’t just some story arc, for them it was a profound and tragic experience they have been dealing with.
Wrath of Karza is going to be exploring how Baron Karza is dealing with the Entropy Cloud and what it means to all of Microspace.
Nrama: This I believe is the first series with Baron Karza front and center - in the title even. Given that, what are each of your opinions on him?
Johnston: Baron Karza is not a bad man. At least not in his eyes. He is the leader of Microspace and will do whatever it takes to protect his people. One thing I have always liked about the idea of villains is the concept that from their perspective everything they do is for a good reason. And Baron Karza is simply trying to protect his people in a way that he alone can accomplish.
Bunn: Going back to when I was a kid, Baron Karza was probably my second favorite villain, right after Darth Vader. This is before I had ever read a story about him. I was a fan of Baron Karza from the very first commercial I saw for his action figure. He's cold and warlike and he wants to rule with an iron fist, but he does all these things for the good of his people. He genuinely believes they will be better off because of his rule.
Nrama: There has to be more than just Baron Karza in the series - who else is in this, Micronauts or otherwise?
Johnston: One thing that is important to know is that the Micronauts are part of IDW’s shared Hasbro comic book universe including M.A.S.K., G.I. Joe, Transformers, Micronauts, and Rom. All of these exist in the same world, so when telling a story of an attempt to conquer Earth by an alien entity, there has to be acknowledgement of them. Part of the fun with this story is getting to dip our toes into the stories and characters of the rest of the shared universe.
Bunn: Jimmy's exactly right. This story will help to further cement the Micronauts in this shared universe, but it's not just a Micronauts story. Baron Karza is invading Earth, and that's going to draw the attention of many of the heroes of the world.
Nrama: So that being said, how does this tie into IDW's Revolution-verse?
Johnston: Revolution changed a lot for the different players in the shared universe. It introduced the Earth Defense to the potential threat of Baron Karza. But in that story he was being hampered by his alliance with Miles Mayhem. This time Baron Karza is coming in on his own terms.
Bunn: During Revolution, Baron Karza saw Earth for the first time. That whet his appetite, but it also gave him a glimpse of the opposition he'd be facing during an invasion. That gave him the chance to prepare, and a prepared Baron Karza is a very, very dangerous Baron Karza.
Nrama: Joining you on this is artist Andrew Griffith, who has worked pretty much non-stop on Transformers since 2009. What's it like for him coming in to draw Wrath of Karza?
Johnston: Andrew is a fantastic artist. Coming from Transformers will be an easy transition for him. In case he misses drawing all those giant robots, we have two robots - Microtron and Biotron - he gets to draw, and Oziron’s beard is very robotic looking as well!
Bunn: And it's not like he won't have the chance to draw plenty of Transformers, too!
Nrama: I can't forget - Microspace. Is it going to be no more, or is there hope for that fabled realm?
Johnston:The story of the Entropy Cloud hasn’t completely been told yet. You have to wait for that to resolve to see if Microspace remains standing. The fact that Baron Karza is planning an invasion and mass migration to our planet from Microspace doesn’t bode well though!
Bunn: As Jimmy said, we'll have to wait and see. It is quite possible that the Entropy Storm consumes Microspace and takes its place. And that sounds like it might be a bad situation for Earth as well.
Nrama: Big picture, what are your goals with this mini-series?
Bunn:I want this to be a fun, bombastic story! But Wrath of Karza will also wrap up a lot of loose ends for the Micronauts and position the Micronauts in an exciting new place going forward!
Johnston: Showing once and for all that while the Micronauts may be a small part of the shared universe, they are a powerful force to be reckoned with. As a new voice in the comic industry, I am just planning to tell a great and memorable story that will have a lasting impact on the characters and the readers.