Friday, September 23, 2016

Review - Revolution #1 (@IDWPublishing)


"Looks like our cousins across the pond...need to get their house in order."

"Autobots, roll out" and "Go Joe!" are two of the most recognizable phrases from the 80s. They're attached to two of the most recognizable toys of the 80s as well, speaking to their popularity. We all imagined them fighting one another, but IDW is taking that to the next level in Revolution #1. The issue is written by John Barber and Cullen Bunn, illustrated by Fico Ossio, colored by Sebastian Cheng and lettered by Tom B. Long.

THE REVOLUTION BEGINS! Explosions rip across the Earth-and all signs of blame point to OPTIMUS PRIME and the TRANSFORMERS! G.I. JOE refuses to go quietly-and they assemble heroes big enough to stop the invaders! ACTION MAN and M.A.S.K. fight for humanity-but where do ROM and the MICRONAUTS stand?

Barber and Bunn must have been kids like the rest of us because they write Revolution #1 like they're rehearsed the scenarios more than a few times. The duo clearly establish the the setting at the beginning of the issue, using the Transformers and humanity's uneasy trust of them as a catalyst of things to come. The dialogue further embellishes the scenario with Scarlet taking the charge against the Autobots against what is a perceived act of war. The set-up is pretty believable as well within the context of the Hasbro universe as Barber and Bunn don't try to do anything too crazy when it comes to bringing the two sides together (apart?). And the issue is paced exceptionally well, slowly establishing the stakes faced by each side and where they see themselves falling in the order of things.

Ossio does a fantastic job on the artwork, finding a happy medium between rendering the Joes as somewhat lifelike and the Transformers as somewhat human. All of the characters are easily recognizable and Ossio does good work in maintaining a sense of scale throughout the issue. And characters from each property are presented with an attention to pride--Ossio is big on establishing hero shots throughout. The stacked panels also add to the frenetic pace fostered by the mounting tensions as Ossio follows along with the burgeoning battles. Cheng's colors are rich and vibrant, furthering the reader's familiarity with characters who are pretty easily recognizable.

Revolution #1 is pretty much everyone's childhood ever. The Joes are waging war against the Autobots, but there's plenty of room for other popular characters to step in and make their presence known. Barber and Bunn write the issue out of deference to the characters, putting them in situations that are the stuff of imagination. Ossio's illustrations are clean and play out like a Saturday morning cartoon. Revolution #1 hits all the right notes as both a first issue and a crossover.

Revolution #1 is in stores now.

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