Before the Hasbro Cinematic Universe launches, uniting properties like G.I. Joe, Micronauts, ROM, and more on the big screen, IDW will take a stab at the shared universe on the printed page.
The publisher, which has had the various Hasbro licenses for several years (aside from more recent acquisitions like the long-in-limbo ROM), will launch a five-issue biweekly event series in September 2016 called Revolution. The series will take the stories that IDW has already been publishing in each individual book, and bring them into a tighter-knit shared universe for the properties. Since it's comicbooks and not film, they're able to bring all of their Hasbro properties together: G.I. Joe, Transformers, Micronauts, ROM, Action Man, and M.A.S.K. will all be included in Revolution, and their new first issues on the other end of the event series will live in one cohesive world.
Remembering what came before is important to IDW editor-in-chief Chris Ryall, who didn't want a "reboot or relaunch where you're asked to forget about all these characters and stories you've been following for years," he told EW. "It's just now everybody will be acknowledging each other in a much greater way than ever before."
Ryall said the idea of putting them all into a shared universe came about organically, and because of fan questions. Every time they've added a Hasbro property to their portfolio, the questions like "Will G.I. Joe meet the Transformers?" or "is ROM gonna meet the Micronauts?" would come up, and they decided, why shouldn't they? The story of Revolution will call back to their very first Hasbro comics, the first Transformers series they published in 2005, to help make sure fans understand that this is a combination of those worlds and stories, not a reboot or the birth of a brand-new universe.
The series itself will revolve around an "unstable version of Energon" called Ore 13 that directly affects ROM and the Micronauts, and will be the catalyst for M.A.S.K. to launch (both in the universe and as a comic). All six properties will get new first issues that now live distinctly in one universe, though that doesn't mean they'll be constantly crossing over.
"I don't want G.I. Joe orTransformers 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 aTransformers 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," Ryall explained. He compared it directly to the Marvel Universe, and how as a kid he could be reading a Spider-Man comic and see Thor fly by in the background of an issue. "He had no bearing on the story, but reminded you that there are other gods and heroes in the universe."