WEEKEND READING: ‘The A-Team: War Stories’ And ‘Shotgun Wedding’

The A-Team” hits theaters this weekend, giving the classic 1980s television series a modern update with a high-profile cast and some brand new adventures. But that’s not the only place to find the team in its new incarnation.

IDW Publishing recently released collections of its two official “A-Team” miniseries, “Shotgun Wedding” and “War Stories.” The first is a tie-in to the film featuring a new adventure with Hannibal, B.A., Face, and Murdock, and the second is the official prequel to the film that provides origin stories for the four main characters.

So, are they worth picking up? Do they fit in well with the film? Read on for a full breakdown.

“The A-Team: War Stories” by Chuck Dixon & Erik Burnham (w), Hugo Petrus, Casey Maloney, Alberto Muriel, Guiu Vilanova (a) – IDW Publishing: In all the time the original “A-Team” television series was on the air, I don’t remember there ever being a definitive origin story for its main characters. Sure, they hinted at adventures they’d had together prior to the series’ run and characters from their respective pasts would regularly factor into their adventures, but with “War Stories” we get a set of stories that feature each of the characters on solo missions.

We find Hannibal extracting a chemical weapon engineer from Saddam Hussein’s army with a lame disguise and only a glimmer of a plan, and B.A. Baracus driving, smashing and otherwise bulldozing his way through a dilemma that ultimately leads to his dishonorable discharge. However, it’s the stories featuring Templeton Peck (a.k.a The Face) and “Howling Mad” Murdock that are really worth the price of admission. As Face races to locate an expensive motorcycle in the middle of a warzone and Murdock lapses between hallucinations and reality while recounting a tale from his past, readers get a great taste of why both characters are so much fun, and why the team itself has endured.

You don’t need to read “War Stories” before you see “The A-Team” in theaters, but it provides an extra dimension to the reinvented franchise that should be enjoyed by fans and newcomers alike.

“The A-Team: Shotgun Wedding” by Joe Carnahan & Tom Waltz (w), Stephen Mooney (a) – IDW Publishing: A tie-in story that could reside just about anywhere in the “A-Team” continuity (after the team was formed, that is), “Shotgun Wedding” is a fun adventure that unfolds on a cruise ship. The team is tasked with protecting the daughter of one of Hannibal’s old military buddies, after her life is threatened and her upcoming wedding is endangered.

Posing as members of the ship’s crew and the wedding team, Hannibal becomes the priest, Murdock the chef, B.A. the chaffeur/bodyguard, and Face becomes the couple’s wedding planner. There are a few complications, though: Murdock’s culinary abilities are questionable at best, and Face is already all-too familiar with the bride (in the biblical sense). As you might expect, hijinks (and explosions) ensue.

While it doesn’t add as much depth to the characters’ histories as “War Stories,” “Shotgun Wedding” is still a great ride. It’s the sort of tale that could serve as a storyboard of sorts for another “A-Team” film, complete with well-timed beats, nice action sequences and fun moments that make good use of the characters’ individual personalities. Like “War Stories,” it doesn’t need to be read before the film, but anyone who leaves the film wanting more would do well to pick up “Shotgun Wedding” for another adventure with the team.

Both “The A-Team: War Stories” and “The A-Team: Shotgun Wedding” are available now from IDW Publishing. Let us know what you think in the comment section or on Twitter!