Sep 1, 2011

It Came From The Dollar Bin: Action Force #17

Andrew Sorohan already went on at length about the formatting differences between US and UK comics, so I'll skip any explanations along those lines and go straight to the meat of this week's featured find.

That's right, ladies and gentlemen: It's a story about how Quick Kick from Action Force G.I. Joe totally learned to fight from Shang-Chi, Master of Grant Morrison.

For those of you who aren't my long-suffering roommate, to whom this sort of thing has been explained unbidden about a thousand times: The whole G.I. Joe thing didn't really resonate with British children, so Palitoy, the company that licensed the original 12" G.I. Joe toys from Hasbro, sold them under the name Action Man. Action Force was the name adopted for G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero in the UK, including the relatively short-lived comic series.

Like the more popular Marvel UK Transformers comic, Action Force consisted of reprints of the Marvel US G.I. Joe comic interspersed with original stories. The first five pages of #17 conclude a story by Simon Furman called "Cold Comfort" about a friend of Quick Kick's, Michael Anke, who led a group called the Cult of the Two-Headed Serpent that tried to break away from Cobra. As the estranged buddies fight, Quick Kick accidentally throws Anke off a cliff and kills him because Marvel UK toy comics did not mess around.
So he's dead.
It reminds me of the "Not intended for children under 13" note on the back of IDW's Transformers: Best of UK Omnibus.

The second and longest part reprints the first 8 pages of G.I. Joe #29, a story called "Beached Whale". It's only notable for a speech by Cobra Commander declaring that everything bad about American culture in the 80s is playing right into his hands and a fisherman trying to punch Destro in the face.
Punching him somewhere else, sure...

The last 5 pages belong to "Meditations in Red", which was written to lead into reprints of the Marvel US Shang-Chi, Master of Kung Fu comic starting with #18. It's not a very notable story apart from the writer's pedigree. It's a recap of Shang-Chi's origin story as told by Quick Kick, including the wisdom the legendary martial artist and son of Fu Manchu passed on to the Joe:
Blue-black wristbands can do ANYTHING.
Okay, to be fair, the fact that it's a toy tie-in comic story written by someone who is now one of the most respected names in comics is the most interesting thing about Action Force #17. Nothing especially pivotal happens, but it would be a fun thing to approach Morrison with to sign at a convention. Given he seems to have a better sense of humor than some other British writers from his generation, he might not even tear it up and scream at me.

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