Mr Love and Justice

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Action Man #4
ActionMan4 subcvr.jpg
"Mr Love and Justice"
First published September 21, 2016
Cover date September 2016
Written by John Barber
Art by Paolo Villanelli
Colors by John-Paul Bove
Letters by Neil Uyetake
Edits by Carlos Guzman

As Doctor X, Mercy Gale lays her plan bare.

Synopsis[edit | edit source]

Four years ago in a secret underground facility in London, Mike Brogan, Action Man, admits to Ian Noble that he's quite impressed with the young man and invites him into the Action Man Programme.

Today, Ian is forced to fly over the Bavarian Alps away from the Chateau by Mercy Gale, who has revealed herself as Doctor X. She reveals her backstory: a star student recruited by MI6, she transferred to the AMP before she was thirty and was running intel within a year. She once sent Mike Brogan on a mission to stop Doctor X from using a chemical to mutate college students. The situation ended with the students cured and zero official fatalities. But her investigation led her to the most fortunate coincidence: below some heavy junk that fell when Action Man broke in was the dead Doctor X. After verifying his identity, she dumped a mutagen on the body to make it unrecognizable and decided to take his place.

After landing on the snowy landscape, Gale explains that she grew tired of the constant and useless back and forth between evil organizations and their opposing numbers. So, as "Doctor X", she realized she could effect real change and play both sides for a better tomorrow. One of her plans was the antimatter generator that Brogan died to neutralize. It would've been an interplanetary propulsion system, putting her into the United States and China's class. But when he snuck into Doctor X's organization, Ian panicked her agents, who accidentally set it to overload. Gale takes it in stride, noting that Brogan had no place in her world, but Ian could still join forces with her.

Gale further explains: the data Ian picked up from the Hauteville House was an O.S. codex—from the American Operational Support and which Brogan copied as a contingency against America. The extremists were an excuse for Ian to grab the codex. The Chateau was the base for the Professor, whose job it was to datamine IP addresses from American agents. Combining both addresses and the codex would have allowed Gale unfettered access to all American intelligence communications, including ones containing alien technology. Ian was supposed to get in the Chateau and out without issue, but the doorman's unknown relationship with Colditz threw a wrench in her plans and she was forced to improvise, including faking her death in a VTOL explosion.

But despite being underestimated by Gale, Ian has an ace up his sleeve—he picked up Agent Salmons and the latter leaps on Gale, allowing Ian the opportunity to break free of his restraints. Gale flies off with a jetpack, but Ian hitches a ride and they end up in an airship filled with ninjas. The leader doesn't like how things have went and Gale again makes Ian the offer to join them. Action Man soundly rejects it, shooting the codex within Gale's pocket and leaping out despite a stab from the ninja leader. He's rescued in the nick of time by Bestley and Chan, who have also picked up Salmons. They destroy the airship and head back to SIS Headquarters, where Ian makes a full recovery before being sent on another mission. Ian suspects it's Doctor X, but Bestley promises him that she is very quite dead.

At the ruins of the Chateau, the surviving Storm Shadow meets with the equally alive Doctor X; the duo have been in contact with "the Baron" and they all have a plan for the future of the planet...

Featured characters[edit | edit source]

Characters in italic text appear only in flashbacks.
(Numbers indicate order of appearance.)

Quotes[edit | edit source]

Notes[edit | edit source]

Continuity notes[edit | edit source]

Hasbro franchise references[edit | edit source]

  • We get our first glimpse of the original Doctor X; this particular version seems to be modeled mainly on the 1995 DIC cartoon version of the villain.
  • Among the other villainous organisations that Gale mentions, she references Baron Ironblood, the main villain of Action Force, the European counterpart to the 1980s G.I. Joe line, who would go on to be the main villain of Action Man's successor series Revolutionaries and its follow-up event First Strike.
  • The mysterious ninja who's been helping Doctor X is revealed to be none other G.I. Joe's Storm Shadow. With the previous IDW Storm Shadow presumed dead as of the conclusion of Snake Eyes, Agent of Cobra, this is a new, female incarnation of the character (whose existence was first revealed with the announcement of Revolutionaries).

Real world references[edit | edit source]

  • As with the previous issues, this issue is named after a Colin MacInnes book; specifically, the 1960 novel Mr Love & Justice, the conclusion to the "London Trilogy".

Errors[edit | edit source]

  • Doctor X talks about Baron Ironblood as if he's an established villain that Action Man should know about, but given what Revolutionaries #7 reveals about his true identity, that doesn't seem to make much sense. When asked about this, and whether there was a "previous" Baron Ironblood (or if the Revolutionaries villain had a history of blowing off steam by menacing European intelligence services prior to becoming a full-time baddie), author John Barber decided to leave it open for future stories to potentially deal with.

Covers (3)[edit | edit source]