It’s been awhile since I got to read anymore Action Man and since then the Revolution event this series was leading into has come and gone, whether it was good or not I have no idea. I didn’t read it. But what surprised me the most coming back to this series was learning that it had only gone for 4 issues. I’m so used to comics advertising that they’re going to be a mini-series that it caught me a little off guard.
So, how does Action Man wrap up its story in only 4 issues? If you recall the previous 3 issues were pretty dang good in the grand scheme of things. They were really fun and captured the essence of a Saturday Morning Cartoon while also being updated for modern storytelling. The mystery behind Doctor X was intriguing, the characters engaging, and the comic really did live up to its namesake.
There also wasn’t a whole lot of baggage in terms of dumbing the story down for the reader, or depending on a massive amount of exposition in order to tell us what we need to know with the story. All in all this was shaping up to be a pretty solid series, regardless of its length.
Things obviously started taking a turn for the worst when I complained that I felt the story was moving a little too fast because issue #4, in my opinion, takes a complete nosedive in quality as we spend the entire issue with Doctor X explaining to Action Man why she did what she did, her backstory in becoming Doctor X, all the while forcing Action Man to take her to a location that ultimately proves fruitless. Salmons is revealed as well and alive after being shot point blank and knocked off a cliff. And the other supporting cast members also find time to show their faces in the final pages in a contrived fashion.
Added in with all of this is a surprise cameo from G.I. Joe’s Shadow Storm – who’s a woman, I had no idea that was the character’s current status quo so it through me off at first – which essentially amounts to a glorified screen grab as she doesn’t really do anything. For a lead-in to Revolution this book certainly does its job, but with 3 stellar issues of lead in I was quite disappointed with how much the quality seemed to fall in this final issue.
I also felt Doctor X’s explanations for why she did everything was rather flimsy and convoluted. So anytime Action Man came to any conclusions that he felt bad about for interfering with her plans I didn’t quite grasp why he would take her side on any of the bad things she did. What WOULD Action Man continue to do if Doctor X was dead? Well, he would continue to save the world from other forces of evil that clearly exist in this world. The new Doctor X didn’t need to take on the mantle of Action Man’s arch nemesis only to send him continuously on wild goose chases that would serve her purposes.
It’s all very dumb and I hate that because this series had so much potential to be a masterpiece. It just couldn’t quite get there…
I love the new Action Man as a character however, he’s very likeable and his jokes oddly enough really work despite being terrible. His banter never feels out of place in this comic and I did appreciate that. There is definitely a way to overplay comedy and thankfully he doesn’t. In that sense this is like a good Spider-Man comic without Spider-Man. I do hope to see more of Action Man’s adventures but I also hope they’re on par with the previous 3 issues at least and definitely not like this issue.
All in all, I do recommend this series if for the first 3 issues are a lot of fun and extremely well written. This issue may be the weaker of the group, but that’s doesn’t make the entire story not worth your time. I just makes for a lackluster ending which I wish we hadn’t received. The series as a whole is great. This issue in particular is not. Which leaves me with giving this issue the incredibly underwhelming score…
Final Score: 1.5 Needless G.I. Joe cameos out of 5
Action Man #4 (2016)
‘Road to Revolution’ Tie-In
Writer: John Barber
Illustrators: Paolo Villanelli
Colorist: John-Paul Bove
Letterers: Neil Uyetake
Reviewer: Derrick Crow
Summary: 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!