Eric S Brown
When one thinks of Marvel’s most powerful villain, Dr. Doom usually comes to mind. Doom is certainly a well known character, portrayed as a powerful magic user, and one of the smartest characters on the Marvel Earth. However, what most fans don’t realize is that a smarter, and even more powerful, bad guy is lurking in the Microverse. His name? Baron Karza.
Baron Karza, created when Bill Mantlo adapted the Micronauts toy line to comic books at the end of the 1970s, is virtually immortal. He uses both magic and technology in the tradition of Dr. Doom, however he isn’t the king of his own country but rather the ruler of a vast interstellar empire. During his time as a Marvel character, Baron Karza attempted to conquer the Earth and it took the combined might of the Micronauts, the Avengers, the American military, and S.H.I.E.L.D. to stop him. And even then, a living planet had to be sacrificed to counter his power.
Marvel lost the rights to the Micronauts at the end of their series, and the rights to Baron Karza with them. Both Devil’s Due and Image tried to reboot the Micronauts but neither were very successful. Later, IDW obtained the rights to the Micronauts and rebooted them again, staying as close to Mantlo’s version as they could. Their more traditional take on Baron Karza led to better success, and while IDW’s Micronauts ended after only eleven issues, Karza went on to battle with other such iconic characters as Rom the Spaceknight, G. I. Joe, M.A.S.K. and even the Transformers. Many of these later battles are collected in a trade from IDW simply titled Baron Karza which portrays him in all his evil glory on its cover. The art work in the collected stories is superbly well done and the writing will make long time fans of the character rejoice. Baron Karza’s reign of terror continues in the IDW comics. Though after his last battle, he was banished to the Microverse, it is likely only a matter of time until Baron Karza returns to threaten the Earth again.