The A-Team #1
First Published March 1984
Published by Marvel Comics Group
I am a huge fan of The A-Team. It’s one of those shows I can sit down and watch at any time regardless of the episode. Well, except for the fifth season. Those aren’t the best episodes. It doesn’t matter that nobody ever dies or that the episodes are incredibly formulaic. It’s just an incredibly fun show. Marvel Comics released three issues of a comic book based on the series, the first of which was published in March 1984. That was near the end of the show’s second season when it was at the height of its popularity.
I don’t know exactly how long it takes to produce a comic book but I’m sure it takes a while. That explains why the character of Amy Allen (played by Melinda Culea) is included in this first issue (and perhaps the other two as well). Amy was written out of The A-Team halfway through its second season; its likely that this issue was written before the decision was made to drop the character. Or maybe the writer and/or artist(s) just loved Amy Allen/Melinda Culea.
The story of this issue sees the A-Team hired by diamond entrepreneur Roger Townshend, whose diamonds are being stolen. Mario Ronda, an old friend of B.A., is somehow involved, although B.A. doesn’t believe it. The team has to fly to Puerto Rico (B.A. is hypnotized by a man pretending to be a pilot) and they bring along Townshend’s assistant, Lucille Priss. She’ll pose as Amy’s aunt and try to point out the thieves, the Lopez brothers.
B.A. tells Mario to steer clear of trouble; Mario worries (in thought bubbles, of course) that B.A. knows the truth. Before long, the real truth comes out: Mario’s an FBI agent working undercover. A chance discovery by Amy reveals Lucille Priss — Townshend’s sister-in-law — as the mastermind of the stolen diamonds. She even tries to frame Townshend’s son, her own nephew, in order to both hurt Townshend and get the company for herself. Mario and B.A., meanwhile, take a cruise back to the United States, their friendship intact.
The surprise twist that Lucille Priss was the villain came as a shock, I admit it. She wanted Hannibal and the others to think Townshend’s son was the traitor and used a disguise to make it look he was involved with the Lopez brothers. The artwork, unfortunately, left a lot to be desired. As always, I wonder if legal issues were involved with the likenesses of George Peppard, Mr. T and the rest of the cast. The characters are recognizable but far from perfect.
Hannibal, thanks to his white hair, stands out, as does B.A. for obvious reasons. Murdock, Face and Amy, however, bear only the vaguest of resemblances to Dwight Schultz, Dirk Benedict and Melinda Culea. The story also suffers from a severe lack of both guns and car crashes. There are two fistfights and Murdock does get to fly a helicopter, at least, but that’s about it. There’s no montage of the team working to design an ingenious weapon to get out of a jam. But at least Hannibal gets to say “I love it when a plan comes together.”