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Action Man 1 is the first issue of IDW Publishing's Action Man series. It was published in June 2016. Action Man 1 contained two stories; "To The Victors The Spoils," which had previously been published in Rom 0 on Free Comic Book Day, and "Absolute Beginners."

Publisher's Summary[]

ACTION MAN IS DEAD — LONG LIVE ACTION MAN! He’s the world’s greatest special agent… until he dies saving the planet, with all the world’s eyes on him. Now his young protégé has to step into the role — whether he’s ready or not!

To The Victors The Spoils[]


Action Man Programme Director Pauline Bestley briefs the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom on Doctor X's latest plan. Doctor X has stolen an experimental spacecraft with an antimatter drive. The drive has inadvertently been set to overload, which could trigger a chain reaction to destroy the Earth.

Ian Noble, a member of Action Man's support team, infiltrated Doctor X's organization against orders. However, his presence in the facility, located beneath the River Thames, alerted Director Bestley to the danger. Mike Brogan, the current Action Man, storms the facility and rescues Ian from Doctor X's henchmen.

Reaching the spacecraft, they find they only have seventeen seconds until it explodes. Determining the craft to be spaceworthy, Mike Brogan pilots the ship away from Earth where it explodes, killing Action Man but saving the world.



"Don't mince words … just how close are we to armageddon?"
"Extremely close, Prime Minister."
"Ah! You—you seem to be taking the end of the world well."
"Potential end of the world … and we have the situation in hand."
—The Prime Minister and Pauline Bestley[src]
"I'm asking if it flies."
"Yeah, yeah, but we've got to figure out a way to—what? No! What are you—"
"We have 17 seconds, Ian. I'm saving the world. It'll be up to you to protect it."
"Don't— you can't—"
"Ian, it's a good way to go out. And a good world to stand on guard for. I'm happy. Hope you're happy, too."
—Mike Brogan and Ian Noble[src]

Behind the scenes[]

Action Man references[]

  • The design for Doctor X's henchmen are based on the X Robots introduced in 2004.
  • Ian Noble refers to Mike Brogan by the nickname "Eagle Eyes." In 1978, the Action Man figures were redesigned to include an "Eagle Eyes" feature which allowed the figure's eyes to move back and forth.

Real world references[]

Absolute Beginners[]


Ian Noble is at school in North London, studying a mathematics problem involving two trains speeding towards each other. He is not paying attention and is called out by the teacher, but Ian retorts that whatever his future holds, he will not have to worry about train schedules.

Four years later, Ian—now Action Man—is hanging off a commuter train hijacked by terrorists armed with a dirty bomb. The commuter train is speeding towards a tanker train loaded with petrol. Ian's only comment is "Bollocks."

Ian kills the terrorists on the train, then uses a jet pack taken from one of the dead terrorists to derail the commuter train, taking it out of the path of the tanker. Although his actions save the lives of the passengers and foils the attempt to detonate the dirty bomb in London, he is reprimanded for his reckless actions by Director Pauline Bestley.

Ian is given another assignment: Separatists have taken control of Hauteville House on Guernsey, demanding the island's independence from the United Kingdom. Although they have hostages, Ian's mission is to recover vital data hidden at Hauteville House, which served as the headquarters of the Action Man Programme when Victor Hugo ran the agency.

Arriving at the target, Ian recovers the data but then notices that the leader of the separatists has an X engraved on his belt. Believing them to be in league with Doctor X, Ian attacks them.


By type 
Characters Creatures Events
Locations Organizations and titles Sentient species
Vehicles and vessels Weapons and technology Miscellanea




  • Hauteville House takeover
  • Train hijacking


Organizations and titles

Sentient species

Vehicles and vessels

  • Train
  • VTOL

Weapons and technology


  • Bitter
  • Les Miserables
  • Miss Saigon
  • Miss Saigon: Piano & Vocal Selections


"What did you say?"
"I said this is total crap—nobody needs this. I sure don't!"
"Ian, you don't know what the future holds."
"Yeah, well—I know my life will be about more than train schedules!"
—Ian Noble tempts fate[src]
—Ian Noble while hanging off a train[src]

Behind the scenes[]

Real world references[]

  • The number of the passenger train appears to be 47635. This is the number of an actual Class 47 train, named the "Jimmy Milne."
  • The view from Director Bestley's office shows both Big Ben and the London Eye. While this is technically correct, the distance between the SIS Building and both landmarks is considerably further than the image implies. In addition, for Bestley's office window to have the view it has, the the building would be in the middle of the River Thames.
  • Shepreth Wildlife Park is a real zoo south of Cambridge, and it does indeed have a tiger enrichment program with two tigers — Amba and Rana.
  • Hauteville House is the house that Victor Hugo lived in while in exile on Guernsey.

Cover gallery[]

Notes and references[]