To coincide with the impending release of a new A-Team movie, the brand is relaunched through IDW's series of character-centric one-shots. George Peppard is traded in for Liam Neeson in this prequel to the June-opening movie. It's all Hannibal in this issue, not even a mention nor a shot of Face, Murdock, or B.A. Baracus. Chuck Dixon and Erik Burnham do deliver a high-energy story set during Desert Storm, featuring the likeness of Liam Neeson acting out Hannibal as he attempts to apprehend Dr. Skarfasis. Skarfasis (I chuckled, too) is an alleged bio-weapons expert, and Hannibal has to extract him from Iraq.
Petrus' art is photo-referenced, but not to the point where it seems traced, save for the end pages with General Schwarzkopf. Petrus does a great job of capturing the essence of Liam Neeson without resorting to painstaking precision. The end result is a set of characters that can easily be imagined in another medium, with specific voices and mannerisms.
Under Dixon's and Burnham's writing, A-Team-like things -- such as car chases and explosions -- happen. Some things, such as car chases, don't translate to comic books very well, especially if photo-referenced art is employed. The machinery looks great, but the lack of motion and energy takes the excitement out of it.
In this issue, there seems to be a missing day, as Hannibal's mission appears to start on January 27, but ends on January 29. The action in this issue is way too brisk to cover the span of a day and a half. That's a minor quibble, to be sure, but it almost seemed to me as though the dates could have been left out altogether.
It is also worth mentioning that Michael Gaydos delivers a great cover for this issue. The image is sure to be considered iconic should this new A-Team prove anywhere near as popular as the original.
This is a fun enough story, but hardly A-Team worthy, save for the trademark line of "I love it when a plan comes together." An extraction tale with nearly predictable results and minor swerves to hold the reader's interest, it would be every bit as intriguing under the title of "Not Liam Neeson Adventures" or some such. The A-Team, in my opinion, works better as a team, hence the title. If the rest of these one-shots are akin to this one, I'll hold off until the plan comes together more tightly.