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IDW's 'Revolution': Transformers, G.I. Joe, Hasbro universe come together

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Fico Ossio, colors by Diego Rodriguez

IDW has been teasing a mysterious “Revolution” banner for the past few months, and now EW can exclusively reveal the meaning. Revolution will be a five-issue biweekly event series, starting this September, that will bring together all of the company’s Hasbro properties: G.I. Joe, Transformers, Micronauts, ROM, Action Man, and M.A.S.K. (Mobile Armored Strike Kommand)). In its wake, all the series will kick off with new number one issues and a new status quo. But IDW editor-in-chief Chris Ryall insists this isn’t a reboot.

“We didn’t want this to be what fans have seen from so many others, which is a reboot or a relaunch where you’re asked to forget about all these characters and stories you’ve been following for years,” Ryall says. “It’s just now everybody will be acknowledging each other in a much greater way than ever before.”

 

IDW’s announcement comes after rumbles of a Hasbro Cinematic Universe that would unite properties like G.I. Joe, and ROM on the big screen. Btu before any Hasbro characters come together on film, we’ll see them in the pages of comics.

Above, check out a beautiful image of the different characters interacting (illustrated by Fico Ossio and colored by Diego Rodriguez). And if that tickles your nerd button, check out EW’s interview with Ryall about the details of Revolution below. 

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: How did this whole thing come about?

CHRIS RYALL: It happened in a stealthy way. When I was bringing back ROM, the co-writer Christos Gage and I were talking about a nice way to make something big and impactful happen in that issue. So at the end of the issue there’s a big reveal that shows ROM might be a part of a larger universe than fans expected at the start. We were going to stealthily seed things along the way, so that fans would think these guys might exist in ROM’s world and then, in talking about it internally, it just made sense, now that we’re launching Micronauts and ROM, and we’ve already got G.I. Joe and Transformers, and were looking to do M.A.S.K. All these things should exist together. That’s what fans want to see.

When we first launched G.I. Joe, fans asked us, “Are they gonna meet the Transformers?” And every time we’ve added a Hasbro title since then, it’s been the same question. Are the Micronauts gonna meet the Transformers? Is ROM gonna meet the Micronauts?

What does “Revolution” signify?

“Revolution” signifies a lot of different things, all of which felt applicable not only to the story here but to the idea of just what we’re doing, making this universe known to people. There’s actually story elements that date back to the very first Transformers comic we did in 2005 that serve as the catalyst for why everything we’ve done exists in the same universe, and why people can be comfortable with everything they’ve followed. It’s just now everybody will be acknowledging each other in a much greater way than ever before.

To some degree there’s a revision of history. It would be presumptuous to say that in our very first issue of Transformers we seeded the way for this event that will eventually include ROM and Micronauts. But now when we look back, we see that yeah, the story does make sense, and there’s reason for it to exist the way that it does.

What will the event involve?

Revolution is its own thing. It’s a five-part biweekly series that we’re launching in September, and that series will detail the reasons why these characters are all drawn together. It centers around something called Ore 13, which is an unstable version of Energon, the material that gives the Transformers their power and life. There’s a version of that on earth, that has an adverse effect on tech, which adversely affects ROM, and changes the status of him and his villains, the Dire Wraiths. It affects the Micronauts universe in a way they didn’t expect, and then it also gives birth to M.A.S.K., which is a big new title we’re launching out of this.

So that series details the reason for all these characters to be drawn together. Then all the series will be relaunched with new number ones and this new status quo. The plan is to have the characters go back to occupying their own spaces. I don’t want G.I. Joe or Transformers fans to feel like they have to buy every issue of everything we publish now just to get the whole story. If they do, certainly that’s a nice outcome, but I still want them to read a Transformers book and have it feel like a Transformers book. It’s just, now within that universe, ROM is somewhere in the background and may be drawn back in at some point.

It’s sort of like the Marvel universe, how Spider-Man’s book can be his own thing but occasionally he may come into contact with the Avengers or the Guardians of the Galaxy. As a kid reading comics, that was actually something I loved, that you could read an issue of Spider-Man and Thor flew by in the background. He had no bearing on the story, but reminded you that there are other gods and heroes in the universe.

Beyond Revolution, what’s the long-term plan for uniting these characters?

The long term plan is just trying to make this as organic as possible. Like I said, we live in a world where contrived universes are being created daily now. We did our best to make this one feel organic to the story we’ve been telling here. Beyond that, we want just a fun universe where people can get into where each of these characters serves a different component. The Transformers are kind of the cosmic level beings, whether here on earth or up in space. ROM, I want to be the dark conspiracy-laden corner of this universe. The Micronauts bring in the tech and science-fiction. G.I. Joe is the closest component to a superhero team book that we’ve got. We wanted a universe where all these kinds of stories can be told in different ways, but also still feel like they belong together and feel part of a larger whole.

As these things go, you tell individual stories for a while until there’s a reason to bring characters back together again. It really opens up the storytelling potential. I don’t have to rely on ROM carrying a book by himself forever. If at a certain point it makes sense to have Snake Eyes and G.I. Joe in that book, now those characters can easily appear. It opens worlds and a broad universe of story potential.