So in case you haven’t heard, IDW is planning a shared universe with it’s Hasbro properties. Transformers, G.I.Joe, Action Man, M.A.S.K. Rom and Micronauts will all be hanging out with each other for the foreseeable future at the local drive through, eating hamburgers and fries while telling stories about how they were hot properties back in the 80’s. Sadly though, Jem and the Holograms will not be included in this one, mostly because the idea would be unbelievable, but really though there is money on the table by having Jem crossover with G.I.Joe if only for the fact we’d get to see a Cold Slither story. The idea of a shared universe with IDW hasn’t come up before, but it’s not hard to see why. Each franchise has it’s own major characters, it’s own themes and so trying to combine them can be fraught with danger. As with most things, it’s important to wait to see the final product before we jump the gun, but below I’ll discuss how I see it coming out, both pros and cons.
So already the major selling point for me is that there will be another G.I.Joe title written by Aubrey Sitterson which is already a great thing. His work on the Street Fighter Vs G.I.Joe book is fantastic and being perfectly honest with you, will be leaps and bounds better than what Karen Travis did with her run on the title. Another great selling point that IDW has is the Transformers brand, which continues to be some of the best comics I’ve read in recent memory. Also add to the fact Action Man, M.A.S.K., Rom and Mirconaughts are getting comics means that the universe will be rather interesting.
M.A.S.K. in case you don’t know is sort of a bridge between Transformers and G.I.Joe, because it features vehicles that can transform, such as a car into a jet, a motor bike into a helicopter, a jeep into a boat etc. It was a neat concept that was made into a cartoon which featured an annoying kid with a silly robot because it was the 80’s. Out of all the titles, M.A.S.K. is the one I am most interested in checking out, because I know G.I.Joe is already in safe hands, as are the Transformer titles. I don’t know too much about Micronauts or Rom, only that they both had comics with other companies, with Rom finding a home at Marvel for quite some time, but due to legal reasons, couldn’t be named as such.
The idea for the a shared universe looks good on paper, but my concern is how they will pull it off. They’ve gone on record and said that it’s no a reboot, which is fine, but how do you tie it all together. The G.I.Joe universes is practically a salted Earth thanks to an unnecessary time jump and poor story telling if you’re intention was to write a G.I.Joe story and not a politics based story. Even more troublesome is how you incorporate the others. The idea of Giant Robots running around the same time means that the Cobra and G.I.Joe war was so engrossing that no one noticed that New York was attacked by Megatron?
It also means that the die-hard Joe fans, the one who don’t want any sillier aspects of Sci-Fi invading their pristine title will be horrified that Megatron and Co. are now showing up, as well as the Micronauts Action Man and M.A.S.K. Honestly, I can’t really see them going for this idea to be perfectly honest, and I doubt that the G.I.Joe numbers will get above when they had Karen Traviss writing the title. The only way to do this well is to reboot the entire franchises, or at least set it elsewhere, which means that all the universe building would’ve been for naught in the end.
Myself, I’m excited for this, and I’ll try to pick up as many titles as I can afford, but for others, I can see why they may be opting to give this a wide pass.