|This article is about the current Action Man. For the previous Action Man, see Mike Brogan. For a list of other meanings, see Action Man (disambiguation).|
Action Man is known as "the greatest hero of them all", but Ian Noble, the current holder of the title, might not quite live up to that description. He's reckless, impulsive and irreverent, and not exactly one for subtlety, so it's hardly surprising that he struggles to live up to the previous Action Man's legacy.
Despite that, he wasn't made the new Action Man for no reason. Ian is a brave, dedicated agent with a strong sense of loyalty and justice, skills that impressed even his predecessor, and a sharper mind than most would give him credit for... even if he does mostly use it for making bad puns. When he sets his mind to a task, you can count on him to carry it out, though he might derail a train into a wildlife park in the process.
The Cambridge-born Ian Noble was once a smart but ordinary North London sixth form student who felt he was destined for greater things. Disliked by his fellow students, he turned to petty crimes; his skill in pickpocketing, particularly, allowed him to break into the headquarters of the Action Man Programme, where he met Agent Mike Brogan, the Action Man. Impressed with Ian's abilities, Brogan offered him employment, and Ian joined the Action Man Programme's technology division alongside his contemporary Bryce Chan.
Over the following four years, Ian undertook multiple pieces of fieldwork—often unauthorised—in pursuit of the mysterious Doctor X. During this time, Ian visited a military science and technology gathering in Vienna with Mercy Gale, where he met Mainframe. On one such occasion, he uncovered the theft of a spacecraft using an antimatter generator, held in a facility beneath the river Thames; however, while he infiltrated the facility, the generator was accidentally set to overload, threatening to destroy the planet in a chain reaction. Ian was rescued by Agent Brogan, but finding that there was no way to disable the generator, Brogan chose to instead pilot the spacecraft away from Earth, where it was destroyed. Considering Ian a hero for uncovering the plot, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom put pressure on Action Man Programme Director Pauline Bestley to make him the new Action Man over Agent Terrence Salmons, who Bestley and Salmons considered to be the better choice.
The greatest hero of them all
After becoming Action Man, Ian refused to accept that Doctor X was dead, and enlisted Bryce's assistance in trying to find the truth, despite the lack of evidence; in the meantime, he took part in a missions as Action Man, which included rescuing a terrorist-controlled passenger train with a dirty bomb on board from collision with an oil tanker train. While he managed to take out the terrorists, he was unable to disarm the bomb, and instead avoided disaster by derailing the passenger train and causing it to crash into Shepreth Wildlife Park, preventing his air support from having to destroy the oil train. While Agent Salmons was heavily critical of Ian, thinking him insufficiently skilled for his role, Agent Gale was more sympathetic, and consoled him on his guilt over Brogan's death.
Subsequently, Ian reported to Bestley for a briefing on his next mission: to infiltrate Victor Hugo's home in Guernsey, which had been taken over by extremists claiming to be for Guernsey independence, and retrieve sensitive information in a hidden hard drive. Ian infiltrated the house and successfully obtained the data, but upon seeing the extremists, he noticed an "X" symbol on one of the men's belts; taking this to be a sign that they were working for Doctor X, he disobeyed orders from Bestley, and jumped in to attack the extremists.
Though Ian successfully defeated the terrorists and rescued the hostages, he was chewed out for disobeying orders by an angry Bestley, who had been forced to resolve jurisdictional red tape with the Guernsey authorities after Ian revealed himself, and punished him by confining him to quarters. Despite Salmons, Bestley and Gale alike dismissing Ian's theory of Doctor X's involvement, Ian asked Bryce to analyse a phone he had taken from the extremist leader for clues; upon returning to him, Ian found that the phone had been used to make a call to a burner phone in Bath, but was soon caught out of quarters by Salmons, who escorted him back... not realising that Ian had taken his security card, and used it to escape his room.
Making his way to Bath, Ian stayed in contact with Bryce, who was tracking the mysterious phone; with his help, Ian located the owner, the mercenary Colditz, being invited to the Chateau by a ninja ally of Doctor X... to whom he mentioned a traitor in the Action Man Programme. Once the ninja disappeared, Ian jumped into action, subduing Colditz with the help of an electrical device provided by Bryce, and was subsequently congratulated on acceptable work by Salmons, who had tracked Ian down—and told him to prepare to use Colditz's invitation to the Chateau to go undercover.
Tasked with infiltrating the Chateau disguised as Colditz to retrieve data, Ian expressed concern that he would be recognised as an impostor, but was informed by Mercy that there was nothing to connect Colditz to Doctor X's staff. Taking Bryce aside to quietly inform him of the traitor within the A.M.P., he brought up his suspect—Salmons. Bryce didn't believe his accusation, but promised to have Ian's back regardless.
The next day, Ian was taken to the Chateau in the Bavarian Alps, where he was greeted by the doorman. Though his transit letter was accepted, Ian was taken aback when the doorman referred to his and Colditz's job in Little Bazeley by the Sea; though he assumed it to be a bluff, and dismissed it as a trick, it turned out that the doorman wasn't just an acquaintance of Colditz, but his lover. His cover blown, Ian shot the doorman and his guards, before breaking in the door to the Chateau. As Ian's backup—Gale, Salmons, and McFeeley—advanced on the Chateau, Ian let Bestley know his suspicions of Salmons, though Bryce dismissed them as a product of his bruised ego, and told Ian to save it until he returned.
Breaking into the Professor's lab in search of the data storage and anti-aircraft controls, Ian was attacked by the scientist's monstrous cyborg creations; as he fought them off, Ian noticed the Professor holding a similar data card to the one that Bryce gave him for the mission. Putting two and two together, he shouted to Bestley that Bryce was the traitor, and she put him under arrest. Noticing that the cyborgs were drawing power from the Chateau, Ian destroyed a connecting cable, causing an explosion that knocked him and the Professor out of the window with the data secured on the card. As the A.M.P. jet landed, Bestley and Salmons congratulated Ian on a job well done, while Gale apologised for not knowing about the relationship between Colditz and the doorman... something that struck Ian as odd, as with no intel on the Chateau staff, she shouldn't have known about the doorman. But it turned out that she should have known because she hired them—shooting Salmons off the roof, Mercy revealed that she was Doctor X!
Ian was forced to fly the A.M.P. jet away from the Chateau's ruins by Mercy, who explained why her backstory: disillusioned by the constant struggle of the A.M.P. to counter the operations of the planet's villains, upon finding the dead body of the original Doctor X, she took the opportunity to take his place in the hope of accomplishing real change. As Ian landed the jet on the snow, Gale also explained that she had not planned for the antimatter generator to self-destruct; but when Ian infiltrated the facility, her agents panicked and set it to overload, causing Brogan to have to sacrifice himself. Ian was devastated by this, but Gale tried to spin it as a positive, attempting to convince Ian to join her and destroying the jet as she elaborated on her plans. Ian, however, had an ace up his sleeve: Mercy underestimated him, and thus hadn't realised that Ian had flown the jet low enough to pick up the still-living Salmons, who leapt out at Gale!
While the two agents grappled, Ian broke out of his restraints with a gun provided by Salmons, shooting himself in the shoulder in the process. When Doctor X tried to escape using a jetpack, Ian hitched a ride and was brought along to her airship, staffed by ninja guards. Though the Doctor once again requested that he join them, Ian soundly refused, shooting the O.S. codex in her pocket and jumping from the airship, despite being stabbed by the ninja leader. He was rescued in the nick of time by Bestley and Bryce, who had also picked up Salmons; the A.M.P. operatives destroyed Doctor X's airship, before returning to SIS headquarters, where Ian got to rest and recover from his injuries. Not for long, though—at the first sign of another mission, Ian was out of bed and raring to go. Though he suspected it was Doctor X, Bestley assured him that, despite no bodies being found in the airship wreckage, she was certainly dead...
Responding to a distress beacon coming from Mount Olympus in Greece, Action Man used a glider suit to descend into a crevice in the mountain, where he found a cave full of Ore-13... and the former G.I. Joe member Big Ben. The badly injured ex-SAS member managed to explain that they had tracked a group of covert agents to the mountain, but that their entire squad had been killed; and showed Ian the dog-tags that proved that the enemies were G.I. Joe. As the Ore-13 crystals destabilised, Ian was pulled out by Salmons moments before the entire mountain exploded. Ian subsequently contacted Mainframe (who didn't recognise him), who confirmed that the dog-tags belonged to David D. Dubosky, aka Countdown... something that wasn't possible, as Mainframe had spoken to him just two minutes before. Ian warned Mainframe to make sure that he could trust his teammates, given the Cybertronians' ability to disguise themselves... and though Mainframe couldn't tell him where the Joes were deploying to, Ian slyly noted that it was raining in Portland.
When the Action Man Programme discovered that the Transformer Kup had been captured by Mobile Armored Strike Kommand and was being held at the compromised G.I. Joe's headquarters on Governor's Island, Action Man was deployed to infiltrate the facility and extract him. Using an Orca Sea Jet loaded with Octaazacubane to destroy part of the compound's walls and cause a distraction, Ian worked his way inside, fighting off Joes and M.A.S.K. operatives as he went. Sealing shut an internal door to escape from Ice Queen and Stiletto, Ian was brought face-to-face with the chained-up Kup, who irritably claimed that he was done with humans. However, the young man's charm and destruction of the wall to which he was chained quickly won the old 'bot over, and the two worked together to escape; with the help of a distraction from Chinese laser satellites—courtesy of Mainframe, who Ian had been contacting for help—Action Man and his new friend escaped the island, and began the long drive to Monument Valley.
Ian and Kup arrived at Monument Valley in the midst of an all-out fight, just in time to save Mainframe and Mayday from a helicopter crash... though Mainframe still professed to not know who he was. The two managed to safely evacuate to the rising Autobot City; though Ian was worried about everyone managing to escape, everyone ended up accounted for except from—apparently—the Micronauts, and half of the M.A.S.K. team. As Rom left, Action Man noted that the other heroes had higher priorities than the Dire Wraiths.
Action Man subsequently worked with Kup on a regular basis. One of their first operations was investigating the transmutation of several civilians into Dire Wraiths in Schleteva, an event that Ian discovered to have occurred thanks to Garrison Blackrock's accidental activation of the Talisman. Ian and Blackrock got into a fight, but were interrupted—first by Rom and Mayday's unit of G.I. Joes, then by Major Bludd and the Oktober Guard, who were there to claim the Talisman for themselves! Action Man, Rom, Blackrock, and the Joes fought back against the Guard, though the rest of Mayday's unit were mutated into Wraiths when the Talisman activated for a second time. While the Oktober Guard escaped, pursued by Mayday and Action Man, they didn't get far before being run off the road by Kup. In the aftermath, Ian stayed close to the Guard to ensure they stayed down, but when Bludd activated a teleportation device, he was brought with them.
Action Man awoke on the surface of the Moon in a spacesuit, chained up next to the words "HELP US" carved in the lunar dust. Breaking his chains, Ian followed a bulldozer trail to the Section Sabine moonbase, making it inside just before he ran out of oxygen. Entering the base, he was dismayed to find himself greeted by Doctor X, Storm Shadow, and Baron Ironblood, along with the Talisman and an army of Red Shadows. Doctor X explained that they didn't want any harm to come to him, but that they couldn't let him go; obviously, Ian responded by escaping, running further into the base while pursued by Storm Shadow and her ninja. Coming across a MASS device powered by Ore-13, Ian realised how he had been brought to the moon, but quickly had his hand pinned to the wall by Storm Shadow's sword. While Doctor X and Storm Shadow argued over what to do with him, Kup—followed by Mayday, Blackrock and the Micronauts—broke into the base, engaging the Red Shadows while the Heliopolis clashed with Storm Shadow to rescue Ian.
When the Talisman destabilised the base's Ore-13, the villains' alliance evacuated through the teleporter; Kup, meanwhile, protected the humans and Micronauts inside his chest as the base exploded. As the team returned to Earth, Action Man noted that he could still provide help with the Talisman: as a member of British Intelligence, he had files on the men who had found the obelisk in the first place. Richard Ruby on the time that the Adventure Team found the Talisman, and discovered its connection to Garrison Kreiger and Count van Rani. With the help of Snake Eyes, the "Revolutionaries" infiltrated van Rani's Iron Castle by disguising the ninja commando as Tomax Paoli, using a synthesizer to allow Kup to provide his voice. Breaking into the castle to retrieve Blackrock, Action Man and Kup clashed with Predaking, the combined form of the Predacons, while Mayday entered the building to find what was controlling them; after Snake Eyes destroyed the Talisman emulator that van Rani and his allies were using, the Predacons were forced to decombine, but Razorclaw—furious at having been used by the humans—swatted Ian into a wall while Kup grappled with the Predacon leader. After shooting Razorclaw in the head, Kup was relieved to find that Ian was okay, before catching their other allies out of the air when they were teleported out of the castle.
- With his tousled hair and blue-and-orange power suit, Ian would seem to be inspired primarily by Alex Mann, the protagonist of the 2000 Action Man TV series, and/or Axel Manning from the 2006 A.T.O.M. show.
- Posters on the walls of Ian's quarters indicate him to be a fan of both The Misfits and David Bowie, because of course he would be.