By John Barber, Cullen Bunn, Fico Ossio, and Sebastian Cheng
The revolution has begun! The comic book event you’ve been waiting for is here and you have IDW to thank for a glorious, summer-long crossover adventure that finally explodes in Revolution #1. The efforts put into this campaign are undeniably huge and everyone involved can be proud of this single issue, which kicks off the culmination of their combined talents. If you’ve been following along the entire time, collecting individual issues of ROM, Action-Man, G.I. Joe etc. then you know Revolution is the big pay off. However, for those readers just jumping on, don’t worry because the writing here, by scribes John Barber (Transformers) and Cullen Bunn (Conan the Slayer), is so tight that you won’t skip a beat. You should know that comic shops nation-wide received an 8-page prelude prior to this first issue, which happens to be included in the back of the book along with a reading order for all future issues under the Revolution banner. Reading the prelude first will surely bring you up to speed, but skipping it will in no way hinder your reading experience of Revolution #1 as a somewhat self-contained storyline. Basically, it’s up to you to decide how involved you want to get in this story, so take comfort in the fact that the main priority here seems to be entertainment. And, boy, is it ever!
The initial concept of bringing together so many Hasbro toy properties into one comic universe is enough to make adult fans nostalgic for their childhood, but when the story arc brings the characters face to face, well that nostalgia reaches a fever-pitch that would make even casual fans rabid for these books. If you were a collector of Transformers and G.I. Joe toys, or comics prior to their fairly recent cinematic debuts then you’ll be glad to know that, like the movies, not much has changed. Yes, there have been modern updates to some characters and some storylines, but the spirit is intact and then some. If you’re learning about these franchises for the first time, then it won’t be long before you realize the qualities that allow them to remain largely unaltered for decades. Sometimes you break the mold and never look back and with top-notch creative teams, like the ones over at IDW, you’ll never have to worry about changes so big your beloved favorites would be rendered unrecognizable. In fact the storytelling only does the characters justice by capitalizing on what makes them so great in the first place.
Of course everything begins with a classic case of misunderstandings, which will most likely smooth out enough for our heroes to unite and face a common threat. There’s more to it than that of course and, even if things were so simple, there’s plenty of character development here to keep things interesting as all sides deal with certain prejudices and preconceived notions. It’s times like this that it pays to be the reader, so we can see the overarching context as various teams begin to miss the point or neglect to ask questions first instead of showing up guns blazing. But where would the fun be in seeing everyone getting along from the outset? No, this mash-up is as much a collision as it is a team-up and they have yet to introduce all of the parties involved! It remains to be seen just how these alliances will flesh out, if they do, and whether or not they’re stable or uneasy ones.
The art team of illustrator Fico Ossio (Skylanders) and colorist Sebastian Cheng (Boy-1) make for some of the most action-packed panels and pages you’ll read this year. First of all, the action is non-stop. Secondly, there’re so many different characters – not to mention different kinds of characters between robots and humans – you’d think there’d be moments in this book where you could find fault. Not the case, and both Ossio and Cheng are capable of drawing anything. Again, these guys can and do handle everything the script throws at them. Their approach is that of classic comic book art, while creating intensity that connects with readers emotionally. It’s a thrilling thing to see this level of interaction on the page, but it’s the art that brings it home and really makes Revolution possible.
Be sure to check out all of the variant covers when you grab this book off the shelf, with the likes of John Byrne, Adam Riches, Guido Guidi, James Biggie, Ken Christansen and Tradd Moore. Each cover has a unique quality all of it’s own so that there’s something for everyone no matter your artistic preference. IDW is definitely looking out for the true collectors here too. The excitement continues into November with Revolution #5, so be sure to grab this first issue and see for yourself what a well done crossover looks like. You won’t be sorry. Revolution is a remarkable feat created by genuine fans of the source material!