Battle Action Force

On June 4th 1983 Battle began a four-part Action Force strip(these were not the Marvel characters) to promote the new Palitoy line. It proved to be so popular that a further five promotional mini-comics were produced as free gifts. On October 8th 1983 the title was changed to Battle Action Force as the toy line joined the pages full time. There were two or three regular Action Force strips per issue, alongside Battle stalwarts such as Johnny Red and Charley's War. The writing experience of the creative team lent itself very well to the gritty action-packed theme of the toys. As the title progressed, the Action Force section developed into a center-section pull-out, although there are some instances where the pages did not properly line up!

In January 1985 Palitoy dropped the Red Shadow toy line in favor of the traditional GI Joe toy moulds, which were repackaged as Action Force. IPC did a superb job of changing the comic's storyline to fit the new Action Force line. They changed Baron Ironblood into Cobra Commander in the first official issue in which the Marvel GI Joe/Cobra characters began to appear, titled World Enemy No. 1 (February 2nd, 1985). In this story, Baron Ironblood ruthlessly betrays his followers to Action Force and goes to ground. His lieutenant Red Jackal escapes the onslaught and vows revenge. He cuts a bloody trail across the globe in his hunt for Baron Ironblood. The Baron, meanwhile, sheds both his identity and appearance and remodels himself as Cobra Commander. Red Jackal finds him and attempts to murder him - he fails and is subdued. Upon waking he discovers that he too has been surgically altered, and has mockingly been renamed Destro after his failed assassination attempt (the Red Jackal figure was a UK repaint of Destro). The Cobra movement is born and Action Force begins the fight.

The tenth anniversary issue, dated 9th March 1985, saw the launch of the new-look Action Force team. Operation Snakebite featured new recruits Recondo, Flash and Ripcord being put through a grueling boot camp by Top Sergeant Duke, while the second strip told the bloody origin of the Baroness. This was the first appearance of the Larry Hama Marvel created GI Joe characters (although still called Action Force).

However, the Red Shadows simply refused to die for Palitoy! The Baron's second in command, The Black Major, soon resurfaced after months of being MIA and swiftly reformed the tattered Red Shadow army. Time and again both they and members of the original SAS and Z Force teams(again the non-Marvel Action Force characters) resurfaced in the pages of the new-look Battle Action Force. The storyline climaxed spectacularly with the epic Operation Deep Cover, a massive marketing exercise which never came to fruition.

In 1986, Marvel UK acquired the Action Force comic rights and canceled Action Force. The GI Joe/Cobra characters began there own series mixing original stories with reprints of the US Marvel series. They can be view in the Action Force section. Unfortunately for the original Action Force characters this was the end of their run.

Battle Action Force ran for 165 issues. Wave 1, referred to as Red Shadows Era, ran for 69 issues. Wave 2, referred to as The Cobra Era, ran for 96 issues.

To read the individual Action Force stories for yourself, go to
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