John Barber and Fico Ossio Talk IDW Revolutionaries
Tuesday, January 17th, 2017 5:30pm CSTCategories: Comic Book News, People News, Interviews
Posted by: Va'al Views: 35,191
Aaron Long: Revolution merged the Hasbro properties into a shared universe, with Revolutionaries now spinning out of the event. What will readers be seeing in this series?
John Barber: Lots of fast-paced action and big world-building. The Revolutionaries team is made up of Mayday (who’s a G.I. Joe agent), Kup and Blackrock (who are Transformers), and Action Man (who’s English). So they’re already kinda all over the place to start with, but right off the bat they have to team up with Rom and the Micronauts to fight the Oktober Guard and the new Storm Shadow. Nothing’s off the table!
So we’ll be seeing big crossovers between characters, plus we’ll be going all over the world. If you’re a fan of the Hasbro characters—from the comics or the toys or the cartoons—there will be little nods, or returns to places and ideas from all over. Remember when Cobra had a base on the moon? We do. And we’re trying to pull in things from all over the history of the characters—like, I don’t know if anybody was expecting the Sgt. Savage and his Screaming Eagles relaunch of G.I. Joe, but that stuff plays a role.
If you’re not familiar with this weird stuff, no worries—we’re introducing all these ideas, not expecting you’re an expert. But that said, we’ve done our homework.
AL: The ongoing cast consists of Action Man, Blackrock, Mayday and Kup. Can you dis-cuss how this mix of characters was decided upon to anchor the title?
JB: At the Revolution writer’s retreat, Cullen Bunn suggested that since Action Man’s comic was a limited series, he’d be without a home post-Revolution. (Action Man, not Cullen, who has a nice home). So it might be good to have A.M. looking over what everybody else was doing—like, his mandate might be to monitor everybody worldwide. And Mairghread Scott sort of riffed on that that you could do with it, suggested it could be a little like Global Frequency and have self-contained stories about this world. And I wound up getting elected to write it because I’d done Action Man and sort of knew a lot about where the universe was going. (In the comics, I mean. Certainly not in real life).
So, I thought if we made this a team with Action Man, really gave this a different feel, it’d be a good fit to add the Transformers character Blackrock, who’d just be coming out of the Titans Return story. Blackrock is a tech-CEO who discovered his memories were false and he’s a Cybertronian. He’s Cybertronian, but his alt-mode is basically a human.
I knew we’d want somebody from G.I. Joe, but I suggested we could sort of push things here and use this to develop a new character, or anyway to build up a character Andrew Griffith and I had set up in Transformers, but who’d now be in G.I. Joe. We gave Anya Jones the semi-obscure out-of-use Joe code-name of Mayday, and she’s become sort of the leader of the team—Action Man is still new to the job; Blackrock is new to this life; so Mayday has the experi-ence with aliens and military tactics.
Kup was originally going somewhere else, or so I thought, but then it turned out Kup wasn’t really going to fit into that other series, and I thought he was too good a character to lose track of, but he wasn’t really essential to what Kei Zama and I were going to do in the Optimus Prime comic… but with about a half-second’s thought, I realized Kup’s an old soldier, and the idea of getting him together with this young, mostly-inexperienced team was just the thing Revolutionaries needed.
FO: Well, when I came on board the cast was already set. And I think they picked a great set of characters. Plus it feels a lot more tightknit and relatable than Revolution. Working on a smaller cast allows us to develop these characters more, and John is writing them awesomely. For my part, I focused on working more detail into their design. I got the chance to redesign Blackrock and it´s definitely a new look for the character, closer to his cybetronian nature. And well… I got carried away and kept going with Mayday: new armor suit! We did keep her hairstyle though… Nah, in all seriousness I wanted them to look the part of a lead character. Action Man´s design was pretty awesome already.
AL: Fico, with Revolution and now Revolutionaries you’ve penciled the vast majority of Hasbro characters. Are there any particular characters or a particular group that you get the most excited to work on?
FO: Well… It´s hard not to get excited to draw Blackrock with the new design. I also enjoy drawing Mayday a lot. I really feel it´s important to have a strong female character, and I very much love paying attention to every detail on how we portray her to reinforce that. She rocks.
Action Man has the best lines, John is really bringing life to all these characters so it’s hard not to enjoy drawing all these characters.
And lastly, I´m always exited to see them pop out of the pages with Seba’s colors. He is doing a fantastic job, as always.
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Posted by Hydrargyrus on January 17th, 2017 @ 7:18pm CST
Posted by Va'al on January 18th, 2017 @ 4:45am CST
THE REVOLUTION MAY BE OVER--but the future is just beginning! Ripped from the pages of the hottest crossover of the year, the REVOLUTION team of John Barber and Fico Ossio continue the action! KUP is a CYBERTRONIAN literally older than the universe; ACTION MAN is the ultimate special agent trying to live up to an impossible legacy; MAYDAY is a G.I. JOE leader trying to rescue her first command; and BLACKROCK is a CYBERTRONIAN that thinks he’s a human. It takes the mind-bending clash of ROM versus MAJOR BLUDD and the OKTOBER GUARD to bring this unlikely team together... and the secret they learn threatens to unravel the entire universe.
Whatever your thoughts on the IDW Hasbro franchise crossover event, Revolution did happen, and we have now entered the phase titled Reconstruction (but not really). The multiple universes now coexist, and a new book in particular emerged from the rubble: Revolutionaries #1.
John Barber takes the helm of this new venture, which feeds off some of the tracks set in pre-Revolution Transformers comics - and the start of the issue clearly shows that, by having its timeline show more TF lore than any other book so far - alongside otherwise series-less Action Man/Ian Noble, and the full return of GI Joe (in some way or another).
Blackrock does mostly steal the spotlight, as we have come to know him in his early days, and after his discovery of his Cybertronian origins - no sass was lost in the transition, no ego was too bruised to recover - and he seems to be working mostly for himself once more; even after the events just happened, the various human factions are not particularly keen to collaborate.
Then enter Kup, and his partnership with young Action Man operative Ian Noble - if GB is the sass, the duo are the other side of the chemistry that keeps the book together. There are witty exchanges, playing on established TF concepts but not too heavily given the new audience, and the story does not bode badly at all for the future of the ongoing.
My apprehensions about the art, especially when it had to do with non-human characters in the Revolution books, seem to have faded a little here, as Fico Ossio brings out some strong work even in Kup and ROM's designs - though Blackrock's features can still throw me a little off at times.
Similarly, Sebastien Cheng's colours still have that glossy finish that works really well as an eye-catching piece of art, but can get in the way of fully enjoying - and potentially understanding - the more crowded scenes. I do feel, however, that it works perfectly in sync with the lineart, and there are no problems in the issue itself!
Tom B. Long has his hands full with the art, too, as had happened before - and the task of keeping who's who clear in a book as busy as this is not an easy one, but he does manage to make it the least cluttered as possible. As for the covers, there are a slew of them, from Tradd Moore/Felipe Sobreiro's main, via TF veterans Andrew Griffith/Thomas Teyowisonte Deer and Sara Pitre Durocher's variants (thumbnailed), plus the usual Paul Pope/Kindzierski, Sonny Liew, then Tone Rodriguez/Jordi scuin and Ossio and Cheng's own take - and the retailer exclusive Jed Dougherty/Jason Millet variant, too. Phew.
I can't shake the feeling that his book is what Revolution could have been/wanted to be, had it not been dumped into one event, one book, one giant mess of clashing factions within a core story (heavily pivoting on Transformers... and ROM the Space Knight): a monster of the week format with overarching mythology; likeably unlikeable characters; hints and nods to the various fandoms, global scope and scale of casts and settings - though with one major issue...
...more traditional GI Joe fans may not like this new incarnation of their team. And that is fine, obviously, but I'd be interested to hear the opinion of readers with feet more in that than the robot pool of things to confirm my suspicion. Not the redesigns, or retakes on the characters, but how the new dynamics work, and who they're pitted against in the series as a whole. That said, I enjoyed the read, and would suggest giving the book a try!
Posted by Randomhero on January 18th, 2017 @ 8:15am CST
Posted by D-Maximal_Primal on January 18th, 2017 @ 10:17am CST
I'm optimistic for the book
Posted by ricemazter on January 18th, 2017 @ 11:02am CST
On another note, I can't say I like Blackrock'so new look. I kind of like the design he had as sovereign in titans return. Does he go by Blackrock or Sovereign now, anyway? I normally buy IDW comics a month later when they're on sale.
Posted by ScottyP on January 18th, 2017 @ 11:41am CST
Kup gets captured by MASK in Rev 3, iirc, maybe 2. He's then somewhat accidentally rescued by Action Man in the Action Man:Rev one shot. They keep hanging out because AM thinks it's cool to have a giant robot friend. He's not wrong.
For Revolutionaries, gotta say I enjoyed it overall. I still have some issues with the art, and I wouldn't call this great but it was definitely a good start.
Also, passing mention of something from the Hot Rod and Doubledealer Spotlights? What year is it?
Posted by Kurona on February 7th, 2017 @ 8:08am CST
Posted by D-Maximal_Primal on February 9th, 2017 @ 8:26pm CST
Posted by Nexus Knight on February 9th, 2017 @ 9:40pm CST
Posted by Va'al on February 21st, 2017 @ 4:28am CST
John Barber (w) • Fico Ossio (a) • Tradd Moore (c)
ENTER THE SHADOW! One of the REVOLUTIONARIES is missing—and when his teammates launch a rescue mission, they get a little help... from the 4"-tall other-dimensional MICRONAUTS! Together they'll have to face the swords of the all-new, all-different STORM SHADOW—and she's not taking prisoners!
FC • 32 pages • $3.99
Enter the all-new, all-different STORM SHADOW!
The secrets of the Hasbro universe are revealed here!
Variant cover by Andrew Griffith!
Posted by Va'al on February 21st, 2017 @ 1:07pm CST
(W) John Barber (A) Ron Joseph (CA) Marcelo Ferreira
BLAST FROM THE PAST! In the deadly catacombs beneath an ancient pyramid, Joe Colton-the original G.I. Joe-found something far worse than any curse or boobytrap. He found the Decepticon Soundwave... scouring Earth for Cybertron's salvation. Their meeting remained classified-until the Revolutionaries crashed headlong into the modern-day results!
Posted by lowman_x on February 21st, 2017 @ 2:41pm CST
Posted by ScottyP on February 21st, 2017 @ 9:58pm CST
Posted by lowman_x on February 21st, 2017 @ 11:22pm CST
ScottyP wrote:Hrm, does that jive with Maximum Dinobots though? I don't feel like re-reading that again quite this soon after the last time, so for now, in Barber I'll trust.
If its set prior to 1984 then it won't clash with Soundwave's burial under Mt St Helens and subsequent return in Maximum Dinobots. What it does tell me though is that Soundwave has s penchant for getting buried. Often.
Posted by Tigertrack on February 23rd, 2017 @ 3:35am CST
Action Man and the sought after talisman got transported to somewhere unknown and Ayana’s Joe team members were zapped into alien creatures along with a townful of innocents.. What do you do? Who’s in kahoots? And Kup wants his little buddy back…
Did you check out the preview?
ENTER THE SHADOW
Action Man’s been transported to the moon (via a familiar GI JOE device). A seemingly abandoned bad guy base happens to be there as well—and not abandoned— not to mention a whole squad of dead Cobra soldiers. We also have tiny people/aliens trying to elude very large people and an even larger alien.
Whatchamadoodles > Petrorabbits
Kup, Mayday, and Blackrock are trying to catch and talk to (and not squish) the Micronauts to ask them for help in using the talisman to hopefully: (a.) find Action Man and (2.) change the alien-zapped Joes and townfolk back to normal. The talisman has been recognized by Blackrock as microverse tech, thus, the ‘watcha-ma-doodles’ should be able to use it- hence the needed help by the Micronauts. The ‘nauts are still very nervous about getting involved in these matters… in their experience, alien meeting alien = destruction/havoc/capture/torture. Thank Primus, Micronimus, and all the other deities and Primes that we have a universally recognized greeting to rely on and an older wizened bot who knows it!
"Now offer them some energon goodies..."
"Don't worry, they'll reciprocate..."
Progressing and Layering:
Pieces are getting pulled together from the different involved franchises. There’s a few familiar surprises -used in a new way- new bad guys, and some old, as well. Perhaps, no one familiar bigger than the inclusion of Stormshadow and HER Red Shadow ninjas who are also alien symbiotes. Yes, that’s right. Red Shadow Alien Ninja Warriors…(and that other thing).
Storm SHE-adow joins the fray...
It’s not just all fun for Joe fans (or not depending on how you react to the above information). There are plenty of other cool elements splashed into the story. Kup and Blackrock are there for Transformer fans to appreciate (note Kup’s Titanmaster deluxe toy form), and by the way, the microverse tech seems to also be ancient Cybertronian…
The art by Ossio is consistent with what we’ve seen before. Excellent action scenes and vehicle design work, I really loved his Kup flyer design, and Ossio seems to be finding his rhythm becoming more familiar with drawing big robots and people much more consistently. As much as I like what has been done, I’m still not a fan of how Blackrock has been designed in his Cybertronian form, looking more like Iron Man (“Iron Man sucks…”) than a titanmaster- and then when you add in his ‘billionaire’ human head image the likeness seems even more intended-.
Computer, password 'Blackrock Sucks!' Password Accepted. Welcome home Kup.
Ossio and the art team also have a very large task (and tiny) -especially in this issue- trying to show the different scales of the characters- from teeny, tiny micronaut people and ship to large Cybertronian-scaled Kup; scale and size are a huge element, and I think it’s no easy task to effectively portray the character’s size in relation to one another in the panels, but are they doing it? Sort of. I think they rely more on your understanding of the character’s size rather than other devices to show the scale. I often feel like Acroyear is the size of a regular Cybertronian, or at least Rom, and that the Micronauts are regular human-sized alien people, not 3 3/4 inch action figure size (or 6 inch whatever). Not a big deal, and I may be being a bit too picky on this, which is why I mentioned that it would be quite hard to do!
Tom B. Long is always making his presence felt in very meaningful ways. It’s hard to imagine the books he works on without his special touch.
I wasn’t sure where to begin with this review. The concept of this comic being such an amalgamation of the different worlds and franchises coming together, and I’m just not used to it yet— or where all the other involved franchises were prior to Revolution. It’s a lot better than the introductory crossover story that it spawned from, being focused on a much tighter and smaller group, and working to relate the different titles together.
New Buckethead bad guy on the block that I do not yet feel threatened by.
Kup and Action Man are a fun pair. A bit like Hot Rod’s generalized relationship with Kup, Action Man seems to fill that role of young, hot shot go-getter to Kup’s experienced war vet. Action Man is very capable on his own, as is Kup, but together they both seem to be getting something that they both need…
I’m not sure what to think of Mayday yet, or Blackrock. I seem to have a lot of personal problems with Blackrock and what he is (and isn’t) that I can’t get to really trying to enjoy or hate this character yet. I lean more toward hate right now.
The story definitely has something good going for it. I’m not sure we are far enough in to the series to really understand what this book’s characters and plot ‘do’ other than bring together pieces/histories of the IDW/HASBRO-verse. As the Revolution story line showed us, this is not an easy task, but Revolutionaries seems to be going in a positive direction.
WRAP UP 2:
Joe fans may be cringing, but at least IDW is calling GI JOE the flagship title and it’s getting more exposure. Transformers fans still have lots of other fun in other places. Revolutionaries, so far, is a capable add-on, but it still has a long way to go to approach ‘Optimus Prime’, ’Til All Are One’, or ‘Lost Light’ for that group of fans.
Posted by D-Maximal_Primal on February 23rd, 2017 @ 7:56am CST
Posted by Kurona on February 23rd, 2017 @ 7:58am CST
Posted by Va'al on February 23rd, 2017 @ 8:10am CST
THE REVOLUTION MAY BE OVER--but the future is just beginning! Ripped from the pages of the hottest crossover of the year, the REVOLUTION team of John Barber and Fico Ossio continue the action! KUP is a CYBERTRONIAN literally older than the universe; ACTION MAN is the ultimate special agent trying to live up to an impossible legacy; MAYDAY is a G.I. JOE leader trying to rescue her first command; and BLACKROCK is a CYBERTRONIAN that thinks he’s a human.
The Revolutionaries uncover the deep, dark secret of Mike Power, the Atomic Man—and enlist the help of M.A.S.K. to bring in the long-lost agent! But there's more to Power's story than anyone imagined. Collects issues #5-8.
Paperback: 96 pages
Publisher: IDW Publishing (November 14, 2017)
Posted by ScottyP on March 5th, 2017 @ 2:55pm CST
John Barber (w) • Ron Joseph (a) • Tradd Moore (c)
BLAST FROM THE PAST!In the deadly catacombs beneath an ancient pyramid, Joe Colton—the original G.I. Joe—found something far worse than any curse or boobytrap. He found the Decepticon Soundwave... scouring Earth for Cybertron's salvation. Their meeting remained classified—until the Revolutionaries crashed headlong into the modern-day results!
FC • 32 pages • $3.99
· A special “Blast from the Past” issue featuring art by Revolution: Rom #1 artist, Ron Joseph!
· The secrets of the original Adventure Team are revealed here!
· Variant cover by Marcelo Ferreira!
Posted by Kurona on March 5th, 2017 @ 3:06pm CST
And THIS is what I was hoping for from Revolutionaries. Relatively smaller self-contained stories featuring a handful (which means less than 10. Can you hold more than 10 characters in your hand? If so, check with your local doctor!) of characters that may or may not have repercussions on the main story but is generally a side thing. Like the old Spotlights. Spotlight: Shockwave was great. More of that please.
So yeah. Well excited for this one~