IDW Publishing 2016
Written by John Barber
Illustrated by Paolo Villanelli
Coloured by John-Paul Bove
Lettered by Neil Uyetake
Will ACTION MAN and his allies put aside their differences long enough to stop DOCTOR X and save the world? Or will the bad Doctor’s master plan tear apart young ACTION MAN’s career before it starts?
Well all it took John was four issues to really set up this series and set the stage for what’s to come. The current Action Man, Ian Noble, is established we learn who Doctor X is and what their plan for the world is. How G.I. Joe, Cobra and Cybertronians play into why things have been playing out. It’s been a great thrill ride and the fact that it’s only four issues and dragged out to six for trade purposes is even better. Why waste time when you can actually it all done in a timely manner, keeping the suspense level high and the intrigue riveting.
I have to hand it to John here for the story he’s presented this issue. Yes there are moments that appear a lot times in comics and the monologuing while sometimes a rather tired tool is actually effectively done here. After all we’ve seen how Ian joined the programme throughout the opening of the first four issues. This time around when it's done it’s multipurposed. Not only does keep the talking going to reveal a plot point but the way he’s got her going reveals the state of the world they live in with Cobra and the Cybertronians, not to mention other worldwide criminal organisations, but her vision of what she’s trying to do so it’s more a recruiting tool. She wants Ian to join her after all he’s not as altruistic as his predecessor and would fit well working alongside her.
The characterisation and character development here really is so strong, interesting and way beyond what I was prepared to see. I mean I figured we’d get some good stuff but nothing on the level that was presented to us. As the revelations of machinations are revealed and Ian is forced to think on his feet we get to see everything we thought we knew thrown into the blender.
Paolo and John-Paul do some great work on the interiors. I like the classic comic book almost cartoon style of work for this series. The way they present the action and adventure here is exactly how it should be. The use of page layouts with angles, perspective and backgrounds are used effectively to really get the reader into the thick of things and the action. The flow throughout the entire book is great and keeps the adrenaline pumping.
Now that our introduction is over it’s time to see how the Action Man programme fits into the greater scheme of the world at large. We’ve seen Storm Shadow so we know Doctor X is involved with them and Ian was briefly in the first issue of Revolution so now it’s onward and upward to see how the programme moves forward. Can’t wait to see him team up with the Joe’s and the rest to help set the new tone for this shared universe.