|ACTION MAN No. 1, June 2016|
Disconcertingly however, this shock that the “master of all forms of fighting, communication, and disguise” is also “a tenth-level judo black belt, member of Mensa, and a three-star Michelin chef”, as opposed to a veteran military operative deployed to the toughest known warzones in the world, is as nothing compared to the astonishment caused by the freelance comic book writer’s decision to kill the titular character off at the conclusion of the prologue, and replace him with the immeasurably immature and juvenile Agent Ian Noble; “one of A.M.’s support crew”, who, whilst “capable enough”, has so many “ideas beyond his station” as to be entirely unlikeable and, perhaps more importantly, utterly unbelievable as the “muppet” who won the top prize...
Admittedly, not everything within Barber’s re-imagining is entirely without merit. The ‘new’ Action Man’s incompetent attempt to thwart a group of terrorists planning to detonate a dirty bomb outside Shepreth Wildlife Park certainly proves pulse-pounding enough, as the youngster guns down a train-full of hijackers and derails the locomotive straight into the middle of a “tiger enrichment programme.” But such scintillating sequences are few and far between within a narrative seemingly far more interested in undermining the abilities of its disagreeable and somewhat foul-mouthed lead protagonist.
Paolo Villanelli’s decidedly Manga-influenced breakdowns don’t help the accessibility of this publication either. Though rather better than Chris Evenhuis’ soulless sketchings for the comic’s six-page prologue, the penciller’s inability to draw Noble consistently, especially during the more sedentary scenes, quickly irks, as does his propensity for incorporating numerous ‘speed lines’ whenever anything, even Ian's 'eagle eyes', move fast.
|The regular cover art of "ACTION MAN" No. 1 by Chris Evenhuis|