Friday, November 25, 2016

Revolution: Not your dad’s GI Joes & Transformers

Revolution: Not your dad’s GI Joes & Transformers
by rick olivares

This is where the IDW Universe finally unites all their main action books in one continuity – Transformers, G.I. Joe, Mask, Action Man, Rom, and Micronauts. But at what cost?

Incidentally, all the characters here began as toys either owned, sold, and manufactured by Hasbro, Kenner, or Parker brothers. Transformers, GI Joe, Rom, and Micronauts enjoyed successful comic book publication by Marvel Comics in the 1980s while Mask was put out by DC. Since the lapses of their contracts, they are now all currently under the umbrella of indie publisher, IDW.

This multi-comic book crossover is titled, “Revolution” and has the feel of a big budget Michael Bay film. The basic plot is a body snatchers/alien invasion story where the alien Dire Wraiths have infiltrated GI Joe and Mask and have put in motion an elaborate and long-running plan to pit the Cybertonians against the humans. Relations between Earth’s inhabitants and the Cybertonians are already strained following Optimus Prime’s controversial annexation of Earth into the Council of Worlds and where Ore-13, the energon cubes that power the giant robots begin to explode and threaten the world with nuclear annihilation.

Yes, this aren’t your daddy’s Transformers or GI Joes all right.

It doesn’t help that the interstellar space policeman Rom wades in the midst of a testy battle between GI Joe and the Autobots and wastes two soldiers (whose life forces have been consumed by Dire Wraiths) – one who is Joe Colton the head of the Joes. Yet even after that first battle, there are questions that linger among some. Why kill only four Joes and not all? Some Autobots took a lot of fire but never even bothered to return fire.

Modern comics have followed that summer Hollywood blockbuster with their annual comic events that span several issues and involver many other titles. When done right are lauded by fans. When they aren’t… they can be universally panned such as last year’s DC event, “Convergence”.

The problem of many of these crossover events such as Marvel’s “Civil War II” or even DC’s “The Dark Knight Returns III” is they are too long and then they suffer all sorts of delay problems.

Not so with “Revolution”.

First and foremost, the main series is five-issues long and is bi-weekly; meaning it takes only three months. The tie-in issues are very few and greatly add to the main storyline. Furthermore, the creative team is consistent. And by the time this is all over, the entire story is relevant.

What I mean by that statement is for example, “Civil War II” was supposed to be seven-issues long. Like the preceding “Secret Wars II” crossover event, it went into an extra issue and the new books that were supposed to be launched after the final story was published and put on the racks – they all came out even before that final story. Talk about anti-climactic endings.

“Revolution” is a good push for all the characters and comics under IDW. But properties like Action Man and Mask need it more because I really don’t see them having lengthy runs. Micronauts… I picked up the early issues of this title under IDW and some of its runs from Devil’s Due (the publishing company that picked up the publishing rights after Marvel). The problem is what made the title so popular during Marvel’s run was its synergy with some original Marvel characters such as Commander Rann, Marionette, and Bug. Acroyear has potential but hasn’t achieved that. The robots Microtron and Biotron aren’t anywhere in the same galaxy as an R2D2 or C3PO. The new crew have the feel of a Firefly-inspired team.

Furthermore, the challenge of the Micronauts is like Marvel’s X-Men today -- the Transformers and GI Joe have become unrecognizable. Some main characters are there but they are all greatly changed. Hence, the question, do you care?

Should you want to give it a try, the main “Revolution” titles are still available. If not, the trade paperback should be out in a month or two. "Revolution” a good jumping on point for Transformers and GI Joe fans. Just be prepared for the surprise.

The Revolution crossover event and all related titles can be purchased at your nearest comic book specialty shop.

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