The original G.I. Joe, Joe Coulton, takes his fight to Transformers home world of Cybertron, tying together the Hasbro Comic Universe event of 2017, First Strike!
Today we spoke with writer Mairghread Scott and editor David Hedgecock to talk about Hasbro post-Revolution and how Micronauts, M.A.S.K. and ROM fit into this epic story.
Earth formally joins the Cybertronian Council of Worlds but there can’t be universal peace with Dire Wraiths and Cobra out there for the Joes and Transformers to take on!
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FOG!: For those not caught up in the Hasbro shared universe, where is a good place to start to get caught up on Revolution that can carry you to the events of First Strike?
Mairghread Scott: Well let’s start with what First Strike is. Cybertron and Earth are having their first joint diplomatic event. Explosions, fighting, no one knows what’s going on and before anyone on Earth can figure it out the feed cuts out. All we know is that it looks like Cobra is laying waste to Cybertron and there’s seemingly no way to get there.
But a little thing like interstellar travel isn’t gonna stop Scarlett and her team of G.I. Joes, who gather all the help they can to make it to Cybertron and try to save day. Unfortunately, the Cybertronians they’re trying to defend are often as much of a threat to them as the people they’re fighting.
We’ve got Optimus vs. Destro. Storm Shadow and her ninjas cutting down Decepticons. This is the story where you get to see the world’s most elite soldiers riding and dying with the universe’s most powerful warriors.
So what do you need to read get onboard?
G.I. Joe are the good guys, Cobra are the bad guys and the Transformers are everything in between (literally). But of course, if you want to go back and read our previous issues, they’re totally worth it and available on Comixology now.
David Hedgecock: If you aren’t caught up with the continuity of the Hasbro line, don’t worry! First Strike may be built on all that history, but we’ve made sure that it will also stand-alone nicely for a first-time reader who doesn’t know much of anything about G.I. Joe, Transformers, M.A.S.K. or the other books and is just in it for an action-packed robot beat-down!
That said, if you want to catch up, John Barber, Fico Ossio, Sebastian Cheng and the team on Revolutionaries has been tracing the story from Revolution to First Strike with all the little key details you could ask for! It’s a real deep-dive into the history of the line for those who want a little extra knowledge going into First Strike.
The Hasbro shared universe seems to be crashing into each other, after the events of Revolution and current status quo across the books. Tell me, what can fans expect in First Strike?
MS: Big action, big personalities and big heart. With Scarlett as our main character; we’re aiming to show you a new side of her as a leader and soldier against the backdrop of a fast-paced action film with all your favorite brands. Roadblock and Lady Jaye really shine on the Joe team, while Optimus struggles against the increasingly powerful Starscream.
For those of you who love seeing Elita One be terrible; she cements her rep as “Megatron in pink” while Shazraella becomes the deadliest character I’ve written in a while. And she’s partnering with Lady Storm Shadow; so that should say a lot. M.A.S.K. brings in their heaviest tech and while ROM isn’t a huge presence, those Space Knights are definitely going to throw a wrench in the works for everyone.
First Strike is a chance for us to show fans who are reading these books a new way of looking at them and to show readers new to our stories why they’re definitely worth picking up.
Mairghread, you and David Rodriguez have teamed up for issue #0 with art by Max Dunbar. Who assembled this incredible team?
MS: That would be the fabulous David Hedgecock. I like to think the thing that we all have in common are fun, fast-paced sensibilities but we also have differences that strengthen us. David Rodriguez is a master of dialogue. Max can draw…well everything. Which is good because this book has everything – robots, cars, soldiers, flying cars, cyborgs, aliens in cars, ninjas, you name it. And me? It’s gonna be awesome.
DH: It was a group decision by our editorial team here. I love David Rodriguez’s stuff and his work on the M.A.S.K. Annual—which also featured G.I. Joe—was great! Meanwhile, Max and our colorist, Ander Zarate had been the team on Micronauts and when the opportunity came up, I knew they had to be a part of this!
Meanwhile, Carlos, our long-time Transformers editor, and former-editor John Barber, currently writing Optimus Prime, both suggested that if this story was going to take place on Cybertron, no one fit the bill better than Mairghread! Till All Are One has been a great addition to the canon and no one gets those bots better!
Longtime fans of G.I. Joe and Transformers have seen the two properties line up for decades now, but how do these properties plus M.A.S.K., ROM, and Micronauts fit together?
MS: Really well actually. They’re all working with tech and aliens on various levels so bringing them together doesn’t feel as hodge-podge as you think and the entire theme of our book is “us vs. them” so we play into the differences of our characters (viewpoints, ages, races, etc.) instead of trying to ignore them.
Not every Hasbro hero (or villain) thinks the same way so their alliances and betrayals are things we build out of the natural friction you get when combining brands. Our diversity is our strength and, in many ways, makes our story feel more real, not less.
DH: For properties that sometimes seem like they’d be at odds, they have a lot in common. G.I. Joe and M.A.S.K. are both military-derived units that use extraordinary tech against incredible threats. ROM and the Micronauts fight in space with fantastic armor against villains who can change their shape. It’s the little story connections we’ve made that really bring everyone together—and that will bring them together in First Strike and beyond in the new limited series coming out of the event!
Are ROM‘s enemies the Dire Wraiths acting as the catalyst for this epic team-up?
MS: That would be telling. But I would say in First Strike, your friends can be just a dangerous as your enemies.
In First Strike #0, Roadblock speculates that change is the only constant, something his teammate Skywarp can certainly relate to. Looking at the checklist for First Strike, it looks like current seasons of some books may be coming to an end. What will become of the regular G.I. Joe, M.A.S.K., Micronauts: Wrath of Karza, and ROM titles?
DH: We’ve got fresh Seasons starting for all these projects in one way or another. It’s going to be a fantastic way for new readers to be introduced to these properties. If you’ve never tried a G.I. Joe book before, this is the time. Aubrey Sitterson has created something bright and fun and relevant with G.I. Joe that any fan of good comics is going to want to read.
Similarly, if you’ve never read ROM, Christos Gage and the rest of the team are putting together something truly special that people aren’t going to want to miss. For our existing readers and fans this is a chance for you to continue to enjoy these characters in totally different ways with unique storylines that are guaranteed to thrill! Rest assured, the next wave of the Hasbro action universe is on the way and it is going to be filled to bursting with excitement!
Any other big surprises you’d like to tease?
MS: A surprise for me was how diverse this book became. We were going through our roster of characters and found we’re far more diverse than I think anyone expected, which is awesome. I never thought I’d get to write so many heroic, funny, vicious, deadly, scheming and selfless women all in one book.
In terms of teasing events you might not expect, I’d say anyone who still ships Elita and Optimus is in for a really rude awakening.
First Strike #0 is available now for free from your local retailer,
or you can read it in it’s entirety below!
A complete checklist of the entire event can also
be found below so you don’t miss a single issue!