Sunday, 4 November 2012

M.A.S.K. Issue 3

Dated 22nd November - 5th December 1986, saw the third issue of M.A.S.K. hit the UK Newsagent Shelves.

Table of contents -
  • Front and back wraparound cover
  • Five pages - "Monster Mountain" Part 2 (B&W with red tint first cell)
  • Four pages - "The Great Head Robbery" (Colour)
  • Five pages - "Operation Sea Dog!" (B&W)
  • Centrepage spread - Rhino
  • Five pages - "The Key of Solomon" Part 3 (B&W with blue tint first cell)
  • Single page - Advertisement
  • Single page - Letters page
  • Single page - Spectrum MASK cutout
  • Five pages - "War of Venom" Part 3 (B&W with blue tint first cell)
  • Single page - preview of next issue
Starting off with the boast of "Too big for just a cover" we see Rhino in action - an unsuspecting baddie is dispatched from Rhino courtesy of her Ejection Seat as Bruce Sato wearing his Rhino Mask follows behind.

Like so many covers, this issue 3's is full of action and suspense and draws you into the comic.  The UK MASK comic was a larger size than most comics of it's day and lends itself well this type of cover.

In Part 2 of "Monster Mountain", Matt, Scott and T-Bob have to flee a Volcanic Eruption in Thunderhawk.  Matt attempts to use various weapons in order to protect the locals and tourists from the Molten Lava and then comes to the realisation that this eruption is the work of VENOM.

We then cut to Miles Mayhem as he and Sly Rax explain the devious plan to the dimwitted Cliff Dagger that they are trying to melt a Glacier to free the Giant of Geissmuhl.

Shells rain down in Lower Manhattan as Jackhammer fires from her hiding place with the head of The Statue of Liberty in "The Great Head Robbery" part three.  Buildings collapse and come down on unsuspecting members of the public.  As Buddie Hawkes and a repair crew work to get Thunderhawk back in working order, Matt, Bruce and Alex take Rhino out onto a Jetty and use her missile launcher to fire at the Statue - but miss.

This alerts VENOM to their presence and Sly Rax is dispatched in Piranha to deal with them, destroying the Jetty legs, Rhino and crew fall into the water...

Miles Mayhem lands Switchblade on the deck of an Oil Platform in "Operation Seadog!" and uses his Viper Mask to stamp his authority to take it over.  Meanwhile, Matt Trakker is alerted to the situation by Duane Kennedy of the Peaceful Nations Alliance so he and Buddie head off in Thunderhawk to investigate.

Mayhem has place explosives all around the Platform and threatens to blow it up if MASK interfere in his business and gives chase of Thunderhawk in Switchblade.  Matt decides to land on a passing Oil Tanker to abate the confrontation - however, Cliff Dagger and Sly Rax are on the Oil Tanker and Rax uses his Stiletto Mask to pin Matt and Buddie to some crates.  We find out that Rax is about to go after sunken treasure in Piranha.

Everything works out ok for the MASK team, however, as Brad Turner in Condor and Hondo MacLean in Gator, not to mention the Russian Navy, come to their aid.

Piloted by Matt Trakker when wearing his Ultraflash Mask and Bruce Sato with Lifter, Rhino is the focus of this weeks centrepage spread.  We see her in all of her glory in mid battle.  As previously mentioned, the larger format of the MASK comic allows this to be a great spectacle and as can be seen by the image above the artwork is immense.

Buddie Hawkes is in disguise as Blaire "The Toff" Dickins in the "The Key of Solomon" part three as he meets with Miles Mayhem.  He is told that "The Toff" must deliver "The False Kali of Kush" to Mayhem in one week.  We discover that this contains the last piece of "The Key of Solomon" - an ancient book that details how to summon Demons to find Hidden Treasure.

Unbeknownst to the MASK team, Buddie is walking into a trap when he takes the Kali to Mayhem as his disguise didn't full "The Toff's" former Cell Mate Steady Jones and his taken captive.

The first two issues of the MASK comic came with free Cardboard Cutout Mask's - this issue, however, we have a page dedicated to Spectrum that you can cut out yourself to use as a Mask - imagine tempting kids into wrecking this great comic by doing such a thing!

Alex Sector using his Jackrabbit Mask faces off against the might of a Jet Fighter in part three of "War of Venom".  Luckily, Brad Turner comes to his aid in Condor.  They then have to go to the aid of Hondo MacLean and Dusty Hayes as they face off against some tanks.

During the battle, Gator is hit throwing Dusty clear.  Buddie Hawkes using Rhino's ATV in combination with his Penetrator Mask, heads out to recover Dusty who has been left dazed and confused by his ordeal.

This is another great issue from IPC Magzines.  By now, it is becoming clear that the Covers, Centrepages and Black and White strips contain the best of the Artwork.  The images of Thunderhawk taking flight and Sly Rax using his Stiletto Mask in Operation Seadog! are amazing.

The storylines are good and we see great use of all the characters, vehicles and Masks.

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