Yeah, Adventure Team has been one of the highlights of the mag for an entire year now. The writing has a solid retro feel that is helped by Rod Wingham's art. The whole thing feels like it actually could have been the 70s precursor to the ARAH GI Joe. There's a pulp-adventure/spy-tech feel to it that's really great, and there's always constant reminders that yes, this IS the same universe that the GI Joe you know takes place in. It's like getting James Bond nods all through the Indiana Jones movies; you really feel like you're just exploring a different part of a world you already knew.
The following is a REALLY LONG issue-by-issue rundown for those interested/who missed a part. If there's any AT stuff that predates November 2011, I'm not aware of it. It's probably tl;dr if you don't care much. Then again, I didn't care much myself a year ago, so... Anyway, I'm just trying to cover it all and let talking points get pulled out naturally. November 2010:
Action Figure Review of the 3 3/4" Club exclusive Adventure Team Commander. Probably not surprising that the review is good, but it's amusing to see that even the reviewer is surprised by the kick he's getting out of AT-styled Joes. The next two pages are a GI Joe Club Dossier on the Adventure Team Commander that nicely preview the upcoming comic story. The described setting is clearly meant to evoke a similar bunker lab that Dr. Venom used waaaaaay back in Marvel #12. I do have to take some issue with the Commander remarking that Dr. Venom's lab is "straight out of a sci-fi 'B' movie"... seems a bit too modern for such a retro story; I'm pretty sure that term didn't exist at the time this supposedly takes place.
Of note here is also the ads for Club Exclusive 12" AT stuff. Want to lay bets that Urban Adventurer, Magnum Power, and Kung Fu sets show up in this comic later on? December 2010:
Action Figure Review of the 3 3/4" Club exclusive Dr. Archibald "Venom" Monev. The full name makes me cringe, but hey, at least it's not as punny as Albert "Alpine" Pine. Interestingly, the reviewer thinks the head is from the 3 3/4" Mortal Kombat Liu Kang
figure, although Yojoe has said it's based on Gristle
... I'm leaning toward Liu Kang. The review is followed by a two-page GI Joe Club Dossier of Dr. Venom. The lead-up to the AT comic continues as the Commander is captured by Dr. Venom.January 2011:
2-page GI Joe Club Dossier of Land Adventurer. We also get an in-fiction look at the ATV the figure comes with. There's an amusing notation about using the "cargo bay" as a sleeper berth (a nod to the vehicle's Spy Troops days, I'm pretty sure) and FINALLY, a reason for AT vehicles to be yellow! It's a protective coating that is bullet- and flame-proof!
The GI Joe Con Preview shows off the 12" Adventure Team Racing (Drive into Danger) exclusive. I don't recall it showing up in the comic so far, which frankly surprises me a lot. I think the Club could do a lot worse than to repaint an AWE Striker and replicate the figure at the 3 3/4" scale at some point. February 2011:
There's a Special Feature on AT vehicles. The Big Trapper
makes me want a Maggot
in yellow. And oh, the "SW-2" on Sea Adventurer's sub would appear to mean "Sea Wolf-2". Neat!
Finally, the Adventure Team comic begins! This is actually something of a prequel to our preview, showing the Commander heading to Brazil to investigate some suspicious activity. Mike Power
is recruited to the Adventure Team. No word on if he's the Atomic Man yet; his original one-page comic ad doesn't quite fit this new AT continuity, and we don't get a look at his limbs. Of note is that he seems to be testing a prototype JUMP jet pack
The AT comic continues, as we see the capture of the Commander by Dr. Venom. It's a somewhat different scenario than the preview showed, but things often change between previews and product, so no big deal. The bunker is definitely supposed to be similar to the one from Marvel #12, but it's definitely a different one (location, physical setting, and other details are very different). There's also what appears to be a cameo by Wild Bill! The Commander mentions a Forrestal as well, but I'm not familiar with that as a fictional or real person; perhaps it's just an in-joke reference. There's also a 2-page GI Joe Club Dossier of Air Adventurer. A good bio, but sadly no real insight on that second page like we got out of the others.April 2011:
Rod Whigham provides the cover for this issue, although it doesn't actually reflect the goings-on in the comic (yet). As the Commander finds himself in a perilous spot, the Adventurer activates the recall for Land/Sea/Air. I'm certain they're being shown using AT gear/adventure sets, but I'm afraid I'm not familiar enough to know which ones. Dr. Venom lets on that a certain snake-themed operation has been trying to recruit him. I'm not sure if the guy in the red AT jumpsuit is supposed to be anyone in particular (Unemployed Adventurer?). The comic is followed by a two-page GI Joe Club Dossier on the Sea Adventurer. Sadly, like Air before him this one is slim on the world-building/fictional insight we've come to expect from the second page.May 2011:
AT coverage starts off with a two-page GI Joe Club Dossier on the Foreign Adventurer. As I've said before, he seems more like "European Adventurer", but I suppose AT is effectively US-based even though they recruit from and operate worldwide... anyway. There might be some random nods on his second page, but I'm not getting them at the moment. The Adventure Team comic continues. Air, Land, and Sea gather to rescue the Commander. The script is REALLY good here; in about half a page I'm fully convinced that these men are very familiar with each other and form a well-oiled unit. They're not exactly friends, but they are definitely battle-tested brothers. As Air and Land create a diversion, Sea grabs the Commander. Unfortunately, the team is surrounded by mind-controlled tribesmen, and the Commander is looking a little blank himself...June 2011:
A one-page GI Joe Club Dossier on the Arctic Adventurer. His last name is "Isberg"... like "iceberg", see... GI Joes and puns; it never ends.
The two-page comic has Land producing an idol that even the mind-controlled natives recognize and respect, ending the standoff. The Team threatens Dr. Venom, but the slippery weasel negotiates a deal, securing his escape for curing the Commander. He takes with him the Air Adventurer's one-man gyrocopter, and he mentioned previously the snakes trying to get his research... I'm suspecting that Venom headed right into the protection of Cobra's coils and offered them a prototype FANG
while he was at it. Venom described himself as "a fully qualified fixed wing pilot with single and multi-engine certifications" (Marvel #15) and this is a MUCH different craft, but... eh, it's GI Joe; EVERYONE knows how to fly Skystrikers. I'll suspend disbelief on a FANG 1.0, you know? As a final note, the idol that Land carries, given to him by "a friend", is the same as the one from the classic Raiders of the Lost Ark opening. I think we all know who his "friend" is. July 2011:
The second storyline of the AT comic introduces us to the Man of Action. Parachuting into a European manse during a party, he suits up, gets a tip from a Bond Girl, decks a thug, and... well I'll be. The whole operation is a ruse. Apparently he's staging a theft for the benefit of the owners, but they turn the tables on him. They won't give him the documents he was supposed to get unless he rescues their daughter. There's a very unsubtle but nicely-done James Bond feel to this, and MoA mentions Derek Flint and Matt Helm, giving a nice period feel. The gentleman who owns the house, with his graying temples and green jacket, bears a certain resemblance to Ra's Al Ghul; this is heightened by the thug's resemblance to Ubu and the picture of the daughter looking greatly like Talia. A one-page GI Joe Club Dossier on the Man of Action follows. I confess that given the setting and the expertise of the character, I'm not sure why the Club didn't just blend Man of Action with Action Man and call it a day. Seems like a missed opportunity. Also, why is there a European reservist if the MoA is going to pull duty in his territory?August 2011:
The AT Comic sees the Man of Action searching for the missing girl all over Europe. Finally in Berlin, he receives word that there has been a ransom demand. Tricking the contact into taking him to the girl, he is in for a surprise, as everyone double-crosses everyone else! Once again I have to wonder why there's a Foreign Adventurer... MoA seems to do all the footwork himself, even though there's an agent who exists for the very purpose. A one-page GI Joe Club Dossier for the Astronaut ties nicely into the Air Adventurer, among other things. Lastly, a Special Feature on the Magnetic Flaw Detector spotlights the rarely-complete vintage AT item. September 2011:
This chapter of the AT comic is called "Blitzkrieg Bop", which is an amusing little in-joke. The Man of Action rescues the girl in a harrowing escape and returns her to her parents. The identity of the girl is revealed (but I won't spoil it here) and it ties in nicely to the Marvel Comics while also calling into question a family history that has been assumed true for decades. The "T007 Tactical Briefcase" seems to be both a nod to a classic AT item AND a James Bond reference. One line suggests that the Foreign Adventurer HAS been involved in this mission, even making a cameo in the previous issue. Finally, we get a one-page GI Joe Club Dossier for the Adventurer, first seen way back in April! Why did we get files on guys who didn't appear like the Arctic Adventurer and Astronaut before him? Still, a good bio and given that medicine is the "family business", I'm hoping that he's a pointed connection to Doc or Stretcher.October 2011:
The cover has some FANTASTIC artwork of the Man of Evil/Lost Adventurer exclusive. Words can't express how much I want a 3 3/4" version of this guy. Inside the mag is a standalone comic that spotlights the Adventurer--AND the Magnum Power accessory set! Yay, a two-fer! Adventurer must stop a warlord from reaching safe haven. One bullet is all it takes... but is he the sort who can take that shot? I think a figure of Adventurer in this gear could easily be made using Tripwire as a base and arming him with Low-Light's rifle. There's a kid dressed and colored disturbingly similar to Freight of GI Joe Extreme. Say... that jeep looks pretty familiar... and Land's name actually appears to be "Joe". After the comic is a one-page GI Joe Club Dossier on the Man of Asia. Surprisingly and gratefully, I don't see any obvious links to the Arashikage here, but there is a nice tie-in to MARS. November 2011:
More or less covered this above... Sea and Air go to recover a downed satellite, and must defeat the mountain. There is a kid who looks not unlike Short Round from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom... wearing a Red Sox hat like our old pal Cutter. There's a few shout-outs to AT gear, and one character in particular that I cannot unsee as a nod to The MASS Device. One really gets the feeling that AT is operating right before the era of "Joe as we know it". Still, I can't help but wonder way Arctic Adventurer is not operating in the snow. The now-standard one-page GI Joe Club Dossier follows, this time on the Man of the Sea. Like Foreign and MoA, it feels a little redundant. Even worse, Sea Adventurer and MotS don't get along, just like Air Adventurer and the arguably-necessary Astronaut. It's really beginning to feel less like a team of specialists in unique areas and more like one bearded guy and one clean-shaven guy in about four areas. It isn't helping that we don't really SEE most of the reservists in environments they're suited for, or in some cases don't see the environment or the operative, leaving them just a random profile.
I dearly wish I could count on Adventure Team to keep going indefinitely so we can really explore the team and the world they work in, but sadly we already have a year of coverage and I think it's probably winding down.
I can only hope that the Man of Evil warrants a return when he comes out.
Edited by Lukeblast, 18 November 2011 - 11:52 PM.