Codename Action #3 Review

by @WednesdayComix on Dec 17, 2013

Captain Action is back! Who is switching the world's leaders with doppelgängers? Super-spy Operator 5 seeks answers. When he is captured by the terrorist group responsible, it's up to Operative 1001 to find him.

The Good

Chris Roberson and Jonathan Lau deliver an action-packed story for Dynamite Entertainment in conjunction with Captain Action Enterprises with "Codename: Action." I purchased Issue No. 1 digitally via Comixology because it caught my attention. I was curious about the book because I remembered Captain Action being an action figure toy-line from the late 1960's. So I bought it as a Digital Exclusive Edition. This edition was a steal compared to the cover price and has been one of the best parts of collecting this series digitally. Included were scripts, sketches and unfinished panels providing readers an inside-look into the creative process. The cliffhanger at the end of the first issue drove me to buy Issue No. 2. Before I knew it, Roberson and Lau had me hooked. Not to mention, Jae Lee's cover art for Issue No. 2 breathed both intrigue and suspense. Not only was the man whom I believe will take on the title Captain Action featured on the front; but pulp favorites the Spider and the Green Hornet and Kato were spotlighted as well. There are several variant covers available in print. The Digital Exclusive Editions include each one.

By the time readers get to Issue No. 3, they know by now that it's the height of the Cold War. The world's heads of state and other military leaders are exhibiting strange and unusual behavior. As a result, multiple nations are on the verge of war. As members of an American intelligence agency, Operative 1001 and his well-seasoned partner Operator 5 are charged with the mission to investigate who's responsible for the madness. In the backdrop, America's masked vigilantes come under fire by the government, are under threat of being labeled "communists" and rounded up. It's McCarthyism at it's most infamous. To add to the insanity, a French operative uncovers the plot of her government to aid a plan to build a nuclear bomb. This is where the worlds of Operative 1001 and the French pilot Black Venus collide.

Chris Roberson's story is fun. I never read "Masks," but his work here persuades me to check it out. Jonathan Lau's art is stylish, except in a few spots.

The Not So Good

"Codename: Action" is only a six-issue, limited series. My hope is that the success of this comic will lead to an on-going series, or at least another limited one. Buying them digitally encourages me to invest in a collected edition if one will be published. As for the art, a few panels in the book seem rushed (see Issue no. 2, p. 23 for example). This would be a minor guffaw in print, but it really stood out in Guided View. I'm waiting for this ensemble of pulp heroes to cross paths with Captain Action in a big way. How will it be done without overshadowing the title character? Finally, I'm not sure at what point I should refer to Operative 1001 as Captain Action. Is he the iconic action hero? Operator 5 wore a mask in Issue No. 2 in order to infiltrate the terror organization now revealed to be HEXAGON. Does this mean he's the original Captain Action, a master of disguise? Part of me believes this knowledge is assumed. It may come off as unfair to some readers. Either way, my bet is on Operative 1001 developing into the prototypical James Bond, Ethan Hunt and Jason Bourne as Captain Action.

The Bottom Line

"Codename: Action" is thrilling and fast-paced. You should check out this book. I did and was pleasantly surprised. Kudos! We have a winner.

4.2 / 5
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Codename Action #3
Released November 6, 2013
Writer Chris Roberson
Artist Jonathan Lau
Cover Artist Jae Lee

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