Sunday, 23 September 2012
Published by IPC Magazines, the comic was given away free with every "Boys" Comic at the time from the IPC stable. This included The Eagle, Battle Action Force and Roy of the Rovers to name but a few.
So, whether you went on to collect this comic or not, most comic collectors in UK would've had this comic in their collection.
This opened the door to "A great new world of adventure!" for many of us with it's great format - from the colourful front and back covers to the centre page poster, this format would last for a regular run of 80 issues.
On the front cover of this issue, we have almost all of the main characters that were introduced first into the UK. Matt Trakker with his Ultraflash MASK and his team - Dusty Hayes (Backlash Mask), Brad Turner (Hocus Pocus Mask), Alex Sector (Jackrabbit Mask) and Bruce Sato (Lifter Mask). Hondo MacLean (Blaster Mask) for some reason is missing. We also don't see Matt Trakker's more popular Spectrum Mask.
V.E.N.O.M. Leader Miles Mayhem with his Viper Mask is backed up by Cliff Dagger (Torch Mask) and Sly Rax (Stiletto Mask).
The back cover shows the original 7 vehicles brought to the UK comic - for MASK - Rhino, Thunderhawk, Gator and Condor and VENOM - Switchblade, Jackhammer and Pirhana.
The inside cover gives us a little background on the struggle between MASK and VENOM before throwing us into the action in the first Strip entitled "The Beginning". Somehow, we manage to fit a whole back story of how MASK and VENOM were born within a 6 page black and white strip.
The story of Miles Mayhem and Matt Trakker setting up MASK together share it's roots with the Mini Comics that came with the toys, however, in this Preview comic Matt's brother is called Joe, not Andy.
On the hunt of a secret parchment, the next 5 page story "Secret of the Tomb" sees Miles Mayhem and Cliff Dagger venturing to Egypt and the the Great Pyramid of Ra. The first of these pages is Black and White with a hint of yellow - this sets the tone for the rest of the series where a mono colour is quite often found of the first page of a story.
After a full page Advert, we then get to one of the defining parts of every issue - the Centre Page Poster! From the illusion of an innocent Gas Station, Boulder Hill quickly converts to MASK's head quarters.
Four pages of "The day it rained money!" then followed by an Advert and three pages of "Mask of Evil". One more advert page followed by four pages of "Royal Robbery" leads us to the inside of the back cover and preview of what we can expect from the first issue.
Overall, this was a spectacular start, despite being Black and White with splashes of colour here and there.