Revolution #1 Review – IDW Publishing

It started off as strange, obscure hints several months ago…a Revolution was coming.  Then word came out and things really heated up with lots of discussion revolving around this big combined Hasbro universe event bringing together diverse brands into one cohesive world.

So it’s official… the Revolution has arrived.  It started with Rom and with Revolution #1 this month (though technically the prelude kicked it off a couple of weeks ago).  So was it worth the wait?  Is it an event worthy of the Revolution title?

Read below to find out, though fair warning – Spoilers are aplenty!

G.I. Joe: Revolution #1

Writers: John Barber & Cullen Bunn
Artist: Fico Ossio
Colors: Sebastian Cheng
Letters: Tom B. Long
Editor: David B. Hedgecock

First and foremost, if you’re primarily a G.I. Joe fan, chances are you may not have read the lead in to this series.  You may want to go back and read Rom: Revolution #1 for a direct lead up, and also consider checking out All Hail Optimus, which features Optimus Prime’s return to Earth.

TFWiki has a spectacular rundown of Revolution #1 (and the associated links to other comics) here.  But again, spoiler warning.

We start off the Revolution train at Mount Olympus in Greece with Action Man gliding towards a mountain filled with Ore-13.  Inside the mountain he finds a gravely injured Big Ben, former G.I. Joe operative who indicates that he was ambushed by the G.I. Joe team themselves.  Action Man makes a narrow escape before the entire mountain detonates, killing Big Ben.

The rest of the issue focuses on the Autobots (and recently converted Decepticons) trying to help the public at large, but the Joes take the fight to them, unloading their entire arsenal on the Autobots (even though they appear to be helping people).  Rom makes an unexpected and violent appearance, incinerating a handful of G.I. Joe team members (including Colton himself).

Such is the introduction to this new Hasbro combined universe.  There isn’t a whole lot of set up, most of the lead up events being described away on various monitors with the assumption that the Transformers and G.I. Joe team have co-existed on Earth all along.  They make some connections between the massive battle on Earth and the formation of  COBRA (and ensuing global conflict).  I’m actually okay with this, as they don’t try to over-explain the connections here or assume that there’s some strange dimensional portal or something.  The fact that the majority of IDW’s Transformers comics have taken place on Cybertron helps to sell the fact that they’ve shared Earth all along.

Rom is surprisingly violent and aggressive, effectively melting the flesh of Joes off their bones for some as of unknown reason.  Likewise, the G.I. Joe team seems unusually aggressive as well, launching a barrage of conventional weaponry at the Autobots, even though they’re taking steps to save human lives.

I haven’t quite gotten my head around all of the unprovoked violence present in the first book, though my hope is as the series continues, some of this behavior might be better explained.  As it stands, nobody is horribly out of character, but I was questioning the “jump to conclusions” decisions in many cases, especially when it comes to launching explosive ordinance within a rural American town just because a couple of big robots happen to be there.

Fico Ossio does a good job on the art, mixing realism and a very dynamic motion-oriented style which almost seemed a little too cartoony in some places, but never so much that it took me completely out of the story.  The Autobots were also somewhat exaggerated in places, but the action was portrayed and choreographed really well, and I especially loved the angular, dramatic panels (such as Action Man wing-suiting it towards Mount Olympus).  All in all, the art complimented the story quite well and told it’s own tale, which is what a good comic artist should do.

Revolution #1 was not perfect.  The overly aggressive nature of nearly every non-Transformer character seemed somewhat out of place, but I liked how they tied things together without over-explanation and the art did its job pretty well, too.

I’ll definitely be picking up the rest of the Revolution story.  We haven’t even seen MASK or the Micronauts in this yet!

  • BCYa

    I thought the GI Joe team was pretty out of character in this. They just angrily wanted to attack the Transformers the whole time. I liked it, but it didn’t feel “real” to me, ya know?

  • Deadborder

    My biggest problem with it was that Scarlett was being stupid and evil for the simple sake of pushing the plot on. Plus, of course, the whole “Its okay to kill off characters from after 1987, nobody cares” thing

  • PiggyV01

    The Joes were too aggressive, unnaturally so. They’re meant to be the best of the best, not irrationally, reactionary mentals with itchy trigger fingers. Colton got what he deserved. It reminded me of BvS, seeing characters I love act with reckless aggression just to further a plot which obviously isn’t very good if it requires characters to act out of character.

  • Ben

    Overly aggressive and stupid is totally in character for IDW’s GI Joe. They should retcon all of the Joes into being Dire Wraiths this whole time cause that would explain a lot about the IDW run.

    They really should’ve gone with a hard reboot cause I can’t think of anything worth saving from IDW’s continuity. The first Cobra mini was good but in an “Elseworlds” one-shot kind of way where it was an interesting take but I have no real desire to revisit that world again.

  • Deadborder

    I was really hoping for a full reboot of IDW Joe as well. It kept flopping directions and changing its mind so many times and couldn’t make up it’s mind where it was going. The dull as all hell Traviss run was just the icing on the awful cake.

    It’s a real missed opportunity too, as this would have been the perfect time