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Action Man #1

ACTION MAN IS DEAD — LONG LIVE ACTION MAN! He’s the world’s greatest special agent… until he dies saving the planet, with all the world’s eyes on him. Now his young protégé has to step into the role — whether he’s ready or not!

I have long been a fan of IDW Publishing’s ability to take tired old franchises and breath new life into them.  I wish I could say that they have done the same thing with Action Man, but if the first issue is anything to go by, this one may be a bit of a miss for them. John Barber’s story just feels like the typical “passing the torch” plotline that we’ve read a dozen times.  Great hero dies doing something decidedly heroic and his younger protege is thrust into the role.  The new “hero” is filled with uncertainty driven home by the fact that no one really believes he can live up to the previous incarnation’s reputation.  So, that was pretty much the whole script for the first issue.

I feel like the writer missed some opportunities to dig into the past of both the old Action Man, and his successor, Agent Ian Noble.  There was very little if any observance from the new hero on how he felt about being thrust into the insurmountable job of becoming England’s version of G.I. Joe.  Instead, we are given a short introduction that chronicles Action Man’s (probable) death and then thrust into a shoot ‘em up where Ian tries and (seemingly) fails to live up to Action Man’s flair.  It’s my fervent hope the Barber has some twists planned for subsequent issues other than the inevitable reveal that Action Man (probably) isn’t actually dead.

Paolo Villanelli delivers some adequate artwork for the inaugural issue.  The work is good, but not great.  He presents good single panels shots that are bright and colorful but seem to lack any real motion.  That just killed things for me a bit for a comic that is devoted to, well, action. The debut issue delivers the usual array of variant covers.

For all the thrills, spills, excitement, explosion, and general mayhem, check out Action Man #1 at IDW Publishing.

Geek-o-Rama received a copy of this book for the purpose of this review. All thoughts, comments and opinions are those of the individual reviewer.

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