IDW Publishing 2016
Written by John Barber
Prologue Art by Chris Evenhuis
Illustrated by Paolo Villanelli
Coloured by John-Paul Bove
Lettered by Neil Uyetake (Prologue by Shawn Lee)
For those who haven’t heard of Action Man he was developed as a toy line for Great Britain in the 60’s as their version of G.I. Joe. So where James Bond was a special agent Action Man and his team were the Military equivalent handling domestic terrorism. I was a kid in the 70’s so for me dolls like this, the Joe’s, Mego’s and Star Trek were a staple in my playtime and apparently I had a lot of crossovers long before I knew they weren’t all connected. With technology what is is now and the state of the world today it’s a great time for Action Man to make a comeback and John and IDW have done it with style.
Action Man has never been one person he’s been a mantle passed down since Elizabeth I and this issue sees us pass that mantle once more. I think that this was the right move it’s a chance to get in on the ground floor of a character and watch him grow, evolve and change into the kind of hero the man he admired was. Also it opens the door for flashback stories or arcs that feature the previous Action Man down the road. Also it’s unrealistic to think that a character never dies or stays dead.
For a first issue this one by John is pretty darn spectacular. We see the events that have placed Ian as the new Action Man. We see how he is handling that emotionally as well as the team around him. So far the characterization has been fantastic and we see just what it means to be a part of this organization, which btw is in the same Universe as G.I. Joe (General Colton’s team is referenced). We see the feelings about the previous Action Man from different angles and the decision of who was his replacement. That might be unspoken but I have inferred that Action Man had already tapped Ian as his replacement and I could be wrong but maybe that will become clear later down the road.
With plenty of action and motivation, aside from serving one’s country, like revenge of the death of his mentor and predecessor and trying to fit into the mold. The writing here is strong, easy to follow and has stellar characterization with unlimited potential.
The interiors here are wonderful! I love and appreciate the attention to detail throughout, including (especially) the backgrounds. The use of pages and panels to tell the story are quite nicely done. There’s a great style here and the sense of motion and emotion are on display in ways I wish more people would do. Plus it has this cross between high class animation and traditional comic books that is highly appealing for people of all ages to sit and enjoy.
This by no means is for kids, teenagers sure, as it has violence and such however it does evoke shades of the James Bond and Mission Impossible franchises which is pretty darn impressive.
Strong writing, excellent characterization and vibrant interiors brought to life extremely well this is a first issue not to miss!