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EXCLUSIVE: IDW Reveals First Strike Tie-Ins, New Ongoing Hasbro Series

by  in Comic News Comment
EXCLUSIVE: IDW Reveals First Strike Tie-Ins, New Ongoing Hasbro Series

IDW Publishing’s next Hasbro crossover is looming, and it looks to have an even bigger impact on the line than fans might have initially guessed. First Strike, which brings together Transformers, G.I. Joe, M.A.S.K. and more, gets going next week with a #0 issue from co-writers Mairghread Scott & David A. Rodriguez and artist Max Dunbar, also the creative team of the main six-issue First Strike miniseries which kicks off with twice-monthly issues in August.

Along with the imminent debut comes the news that some of IDW’s current licensed Hasbro books will end in August — due to a “seasonal” model and in-story changes brought by the events of First Strike. August will bring the last issues of G.I. Joe (with #9), M.A.S.K. (#10), Micronauts: Wrath of Karza (#5) and Rom (#14).

But those characters, naturally, aren’t going away for good — September sees a G.I. Joe: First Strike by Aubrey Sitterson and Ilias Kyriazis and a Micronauts: First Strike one-shot by Christos Gage and Chris Panda; October follows with a M.A.S.K.: First Strike one-shot from Sitterson and Kyriazis and Rom: First Strike from Christos Gage and Chris Panda. Additionally, a Optimus Prime: First Strike one-shot is scheduled for September from John Barber and Guido Guidi; Barber is joined by artist Guido Guidi in October for the Transformers: First Strike one-shot in October.

Then in November, a new series titled G.I. Joe: Unmasked (uniting G.I. Joe and M.A.S.K.) is set to debut in the wake of First Strike, and Rom & The Micronauts is slated for December. Transformers: Till All Are One will also end with July’s issue #12, as revealed recently by Mairghread Scott on her personal website, where she disclosed that she declined a First Strike follow-up for the series.

CBR caught up with IDW Editor-in-Chief David Hedgecock, for further insight on First Strike — which sees Cobra invading Cybertron after targeting the race for termination, and the Transformers, G.I. Joe and M.A.S.K. uniting to save that world and Earth — and how it’ll affect the Hasbro action publishing line as a whole. CBR also has the solicitation text and covers for the G.I. Joe: First Strike, Micronauts: First Strike and Optimus Prime: First Strike one-shots, all set for release in September.

Cojoined cover of Micronauts: First Strike and Rom: First Strike one-shots, by Chris Panda.

CBR: David, how did IDW decide on the “scope” of First Strike — the number of tie-ins, characters it would affect, etc.?

David Hedgecock: The inspiration for First Strike came early on in a series of group meetings we had with all the Hasbro writing teams prior even to the Revolution event. It was always about serving the story itself. That was the priority. The characters we used and who was affected always came from the place of telling the most compelling stories.

As for deciding the mechanics of publishing, we knew we wanted to do an event that fans of the existing material could really latch onto that was also 100 percent accessible to new fans. To that end, we started looking at our line of Hasbro titles in terms of “seasons.” We are currently in our first season, where we’re learning about this new world and all the possibilities it contains. As our first season reaches its satisfying conclusion, so too will a handful of titles like Transformers: Till All Are One, G.I. Joe, ROM, M.A.S.K. and Micronauts: Wrath of Karza. This felt like the perfect spot to complete these series for two main reasons:

1. We knew we wanted to do a big event book with some surrounding one-shots. However, we didn’t want to ask the fans to buy into the event and still try to keep up with all the ongoing books at the same time. Instead, we’ve chosen to allow people to enjoy the event without asking them to take out a second mortgage on their house (OK, maybe comics aren’t quite that expensive yet, but you know what I mean!). While First Strike is in play, we’re asking fans to buy roughly the same amount of books they would have bought if they were already taking a dive into this universe (about 4 titles per month, give or take).

2. For story reasons that will become clear during First Strike, the titles we’re drawing to a close won’t really make any sense any more! After the events of First Strike, we’ve got plans for radically new, fresh takes on some of these properties and we want to signify how important the changes are. We couldn’t do that and keep the current series titles in place.

And it won’t just be the stories that are new either. Along with some of your favorite creators like the incredibly talented Mairghread Scott and John Barber, we’re bringing in exciting new creators to further strengthen our line and add their ideas to the rich tapestry already being woven.

This is coming a year after Revolution — are you planning on annual Hasbro events?

We have a three-year story arc in mind for the shared Hasbro universe. First Strike is the second act. While Revolution brought everything together, First Strike is the first chance we get to see the ramifications of this bold direction we’ve undertaken, and it leads us directly into… well, I can’t wait to tell you what it leads us into but I can’t just yet!

Anything you can tease about the impact this story is planned to have on the line as a whole?

First Strike will see old alliances break down and new surprising alliances form. We’re introducing incredible new stories that no one will have thought possible with a licensed property. Starting with First Strike, we’re embarking on a non-stop, roller coaster thrill ride that will keep readers on the edge of their seats and gasping for more!

It all starts next week with First Strike #0, which sets the stage for the event, and if you want a hint of what’s to come, check out the checklist at the back of the #0 issue which unveils some new #1s which pick up where First Strike leaves off.


G.I. JOE: First Strike #1—Cover A: Drew Johnson—SPOTLIGHT

  • Aubrey Sitterson (w) • Ilias Kyriazis (a) • Drew Johnson (c)
  • As Scarlett heads off to Cybertron to confront the events of First Strike, her G.I. Joe team on Earth faces an unusual enemy… V.E.N.O.M.! With the help of a former M.A.S.K. member, G.I. Joe looks to put an end to Miles Mayhem’s sinister group once and for all, in the Greatest Crossover One-Shot Of All Time!
  • *Retailers: See your order form for incentive information.
  • FC • 32 pages • $3.99
  • Expected in-store date: 9/27/17

G.I. JOE: First Strike #1—Cover B: Ilias Kyriazis

  • Aubrey Sitterson (w) • Ilias Kyriazis (a & c)
  • *Retailers: See your order form for incentive information.
  • FC • 32 pages • $3.99
  • Expected in-store date: 9/27/17
  • *Retailer incentives: Order 10 copies, get one free variant cover by Nick Bradshaw!

Micronauts: First Strike #1—Cover A: Nelson Daniel—SPOTLIGHT

  • Christos Gage (w) • Chris Panda (a) • Nelson Daniel (c)
  • Rom, remaining on Earth as the events of First Strike take place, finds himself in a most unusual team-up… with Earth’s smallest heroes, The Micronauts! Together, these two forces must prevent a catastrophe on Earth even while Cybertron descends into chaos!
  • *Retailers: See your order form for incentive information.
  • FC • 32 pages • $3.99
  • Expected in-store date: 9/13/17

Micronauts: First Strike #1—Cover B: Chris Panda

  • Christos Gage (w) • Chris Panda (a & c)
  • *Retailers: See your order form for incentive information.
  • FC • 32 pages • $3.99
  • Expected in-store date: 9/13/17
  • *Retailer incentives: Order 10 copies, get one free variant cover by Nick Bradshaw!

Optimus Prime: First Strike #1—Cover A: Sara Pitre-Durocher—SPOTLIGHT

  • John Barber (w) • Guido Guidi (a) • Sara Pitre-Durocher (c)
  • With Cybertron under siege by Baron Ironblood’s forces, Optimus Prime and Arcee defend their homeland! Caught in the middle is the human/Transformer team known as the Revolutionaries—and one of them has a secret that puts everyone at risk!
  • *Retailers: See your order form for incentive information.
  • FC • 32 pages • $3.99
  • Expected in-store date: 9/20/17

Optimus Prime: First Strike #1—Cover B: Guido Guidi

  • John Barber (w) • Guido Guidi (a & c)
  • *Retailers: See your order form for incentive information.
  • FC • 32 pages • $3.99
  • Expected in-store date: 9/20/17
  • *Retailer incentives: Order 10 copies, get one free variant cover by Nick Bradshaw!

First Strike #0 is available free next Wednesday, June 14 at participating retailers. First Strike #1 is scheduled for release on Aug. 9.

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