Sunday, 24 February 2013

M.A.S.K. Issue 7

"MASK v VENOM - the battle continues" in issue 7 of M.A.S.K. UK.  Dated 17th-30th of January 1987, I turned 14 during this period - and now I'm 40!!

Table of contents -
  • Front and Back Wraparound Cover
  • Five Pages - "Monster Mountain" Conclusion (B&W with Pink Tint First Cell)
  • Four Pages - "Amazon Mystery" Part 2 (Colour)
  • Five Pages - "Kamikaze" Part 3 (B&W)
  • Centre Page Spread - Piranha
  • Five Pages - "The Ultimate Weapon" (B&W with Blue Tint First Cell)
  • Single Page - Advertisement
  • Single Page - Letters Page
  • Single Page - MASK Art (T-Bob Special!)
  • Single Page - Advertisement
  • Four Pages - "Double Trouble" Part 2 (B&W)
  • Single Page - Preview of next issue/advertisement
This issues cover, drawn by Ron Smith, features Matt and Scott Trakker as "T-Bob meets   - Frankenstein's Monster!"  Ron Smith is a veteran artist famed for his work on M.A.S.K.'s stablemates 2000 AD and Judge Dredd.

With the images of an Iron Maiden and a Guillotine on the back of the cover gives the tone that the M.A.S.K. UK is definitely geared toward an older, teenage market. 

The boys over at M.A.S.K. Movie Blogspot have recently reviewed episode 21 of the M.A.S.K. Cartoon in which T-Bob also has a somewhat brief encounter with Frankenstein's Monster.

We swiftly move onto the first story which is the Conclusion of "Monster Mountain".  Upset at M.A.S.K. thwarting his plans, Miles Mayhem in Switchblade gives chase after Matt Trakker, Scott Trakker and T-Bob in Thunderhawk.  Issues with it's steering, Matt is forced to land Thunderhawk.

Meanwhile, Sly Rax and Cliff Dagger fighting with each other as Hondo and Dusty look on and laugh!

Matt, Scott and T-Bob enter a museum that has been partially destroyed after Mayhem's devious plan.  This is where T-Bob has his encounter with Frankenstein's Monster as intimated on the cover.

Miles Mayhem follows them in.

Matt uses his Spectrum Mask to disorientate Miles Mayhem but Scott and T-Bob get in his way and Miles Mayhem escapes to fight another day...

Matt Trakker in Thunderhawk surveys the scene below in "Amazon Mystery" part two as he flies over a large gun in a clearing.  He spies Cliff Dagger and another henchman talking and lands to get a closer look.  As he does so, Miles Mayhem sneaks up on him - until we realise it's a hologram from Brad Turner's Hocus Pocus Mask as he is the first of Matt's backup as soon Dusty Hayes and Hondo MacLean arrive in Gator.

Using his Mask again, Brad creates an image of a dinosaur to help him and his team infiltrate and take over the gun - but it's not only M.A.S.K. that use illusion on their side as Cliff Dagger explains this gun is just a Mock Up.

Hitetadi's Savage Sumo's are still wrecking havoc in Japan in part three of "Kamikaze".  Brad Turner on Condor uses his Hocus Pocus Mask to confuse the Savages as Dusty Hayes uses his Backlash Mask to attack them.

Meanwhile, Buddie Hawks uses the full force of Rhino on the Sumos.  Unfortunately, some of them manage to cling onto Rhino in an effort to stop him.  To get rid of his hitchhikers, Buddie calls on his Penetrator Mask to allow him and rhino to pass through a brick wall whilst his attackers smash into the wall.

Kamikaze is unleashed into the foray and forces of a multistory office block.  Matt and Bruce in Thunderhawk come to the rescue as Lifter is put to good use saving the people falling out of the building and Matt uses Spectrum's Free-fall ability to help others.

As Jackhammer flees from the scene; Matt and Bruce give chase in Thunderhawk, only to find themselves surrounded by the Savage Sumo's - will they live to tell the tale?

Sly Rax and his Piranha Motorcycle and Sidecar/Submarine are this issues Pin Ups!

A fearsome combination of man and machine, the devious Sly certainly lives up to his name.  I sometimes thought that Piranha should have a co-pilot to use the Motorcycle whilst the sub is in the water and also wondered how the sub joins back up with the bike?

In the new PNA (Peaceful Nations Alliance) Research and Development HQ on the shores of Lake Geneva, Matt Trakker and his M.A.S.K. team are unaware that Miles Mayhem is about the fire "The Ultimate Weapon" at them.  Causing all glass to shatter, shards of glass cause havoc and the M.A.S.K. vehicles are left inoperable as their tyres are shredded in the ensuing chaos.

Brad Turner heads out on Condor but his weapons fail to bring down Mayhem's weapon of destruction.  Dusty Hayes and Hondo MacLean manage to get Gator's Hydroplane in the water.  Using her water cannon to boil the water in front of them, the rising steam creates a shroud allowing them to get close to Mayhem.  Firing Gator's Depth Charge, they cause a small tidal wave that engulfs Mayhem and his weapon.

Mayhem manages to escape.

After and Add and the letters page, we then have a T-Bob Special Art Page.

Bill over at Matt this one is specially for you as I believe you are doing a little T-Bob project just now?

MASK Art is a feature of most of the issues of M.A.S.K. and in this issue we have various images of everyone's favourite rotund robot, T-Bob.

Buddie Hawks, M.A.S.K.'s Master of Disguise, is posing as the captive Miles Mayhem - a lure to the real Miles Mayhem.

As M.A.S.K. forces sit in wait above ground to capture the real Mayhem, V.E.N.O.M. agents infiltrate the building from below.  How will this end?

Another great issue of M.A.S.K. and it's nice to be able to put a name to one of the talented artists who contributed to making this one of, if not the, best comics of a generation.

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Sunday, 17 February 2013

Thunderhawk Live Action Movie

If my M.A.S.K. Script were made into a Live Action Movie, would you prefer an original 1985 Camaro or a new model - Camaro or otherwise?

Remember for more chat, pictures and information.


Wednesday, 6 February 2013

M.A.S.K. UK Issue 1 & 2 Free Gifts

The first two Issues of the UK M.A.S.K. comic came with free gifts and sealed in a Poly Bag.

Above is a photo of one of the poly bags.  This was a great idea as it protected not only the Free Gift but made sure that the comic stayed in perfect condition at your local newsagents.

Although I still have this, I often wished that I'd bought two copies of the comics so that I could've kept one in pristine condition sealed up.

Week ones free gift was a cardboard Ultraflash Mask worthy of any junior Matt Trakker's!

With it's vibrant colours and elastic bands that you looped around your ears to hold the Mask on, I guess this free gift was more aimed at the younger Mask Fan.

Issue two saw Miles Mayhems Viper Mask as the Free Gift.

As above, vibrant colours and free elastic bands.

For the next few issues different Masks would be printed in the comic - the idea being that you cut it out yourself and glue to a piece of cardboard.  Due to this, if you are buying second hand copies please be careful that some horrid child hasn't cut this out.  Also be careful and ask the seller if the centre page posters are still intact!

I'll give you more updates on future Free Gifts as and when I review the comics!

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Monday, 4 February 2013

M.A.S.K. Issue 6

Kamikaze drops in on the Cover of Issue 6 of the UK M.A.S.K. comic.  The first issue of 1987 dated the 3rd of January through to the 16th.

Table of contents -

  • Front and Back Wraparound Cover
  • Five Pages - "Kamikaze" Part 2 (B&W with Pink Tint First Cell)
  • Four Pages - "Amazon Mystery" Part 1 (Colour)
  • Five Pages - "Mayhem for President!" (B&W)
  • Centre Page Spread - Jackhammer
  • Five Pages - "Monster Mountain" Part 5 (B&W with Blue Tint First Cell)
  • Single Page - Advertisement
  • Single Page - MASK Art
  • Single Page - Letters Page
  • Single Page - Advertisement
  • Four Pages - "Double Trouble" Part 1 (B&W)
Although not a big fan of the Kamikaze character, the image of him falling from Switchblade is a memorable one.  With Matt Trakker and Bruce Sato in Thunderhawk on the back page, circling a large image of Matt's Spectrum Mask, this is one spectacular comic cover.

Continuing from the cover to the first story, "Kamikaze" Part 2 continues as it left off last issue with Hidetadi's "Savage Sumos" on the rampage in Japan.  Using brute force and machine guns, they manage to destroy 15 aeroplanes at Tokyo Airport before the duo of Matt Trakker and Bruce Sato arrive in Thunderhawk to save the day.

Using a combination of Sonic Disruption Bombs, Spectrum and Lifter, our intrepid duo initially have the upper hand.  Unfortunately for them, Miles Mayhem has other plans as he unleashes the mighty Kamikaze from Switchblade Fifty Feet above the ground.

Despite their best their best efforts, they can't overcome this behemoth!  After a heated discussion with General Shagon, Matt advises him that the next time he will cut Kamikaze down to size.

This has both a great story and fantastic artwork.

A great example of this is the image of Matt putting on his Spectrum Mask.

Normally when we see Matt with Spectrum on, we can't see his eyes.  I don't think this is a clear lens - my opinion is that the Artist has cut away a portion of his Mask so that we can see the emotion in his eyes.

Many of the images in this strip epitomise why I fell in love with M.A.S.K.

There is a look of Centurions about this image - another great 80's Franchise.

Teenager Paulo Nedras returns to his home in "Amazon Mystery" to find it deserted.  Suddenly, a blast destroys his village and as he turns and runs, a lorry almost runs him over.  Sly Rax exits the lorry and races after him firing his Stiletto Mask at him but misses.

As Paulo flees and is picked up by a passing car and taken to the nearest police station, Sly Rax's thoughts alert us to the fact he was ordered to allow the boy to escape.

Soon, Matt Trakker is on the scene in Thunderhawk to investigate.  As he flies over the scene, he finds a Military compound....

Unbelievable as it may seem but "Mayhem for President!"?  Miles Mayhem is running for the Presidency in the Central American Country of Rondara and is addressing the residents of the Capital city at the start of our story.

Buddie Hawks, dressed as Beggar, is watching the scene unfold when a couple of Security Guards Threaten to shoot him for trespassing.  He manages to flee and rendezvous with Matt Trakker and Bruce Sato who are with Rhino.

Believing that something is wrong, they make their way to Latero as this is the only City not under the influence of Miles Mayhem's Presidential Campaign.  As they arrive, a Dakota Crop duster flies over but instead of spraying crops, it sprays the City in a Gas Cloud that soon has the residents supporting Mayhem.

The M.A.S.K. agents follow the Dakota back to it's base and manage to destroy it and more plans and Storage Tanks full of the Gas.  Without the Gas, the inhabitants of Rondara soon return to normal and chase Mayhem out of the Country!

Jackhammer, V.E.N.O.M.'s Ford Bronco that converts to an Assault Vehicle is this weeks "Pin-Up" in the Centre Spread of our comic.  Piloted by the dimwitted Cliff Dagger wearing his Torch Mask; Jackhammer is a formidable piece of equipment that boasts cannons and a 360 degree gun turret.

"Monster Mountain" part five and Matt Trakker's conscience gets the better of him as he is reluctant to fire on the unleashed Giant of Geissmuhl high up in the Bavarian Alps.  He explains to Scott that it wasn't the monsters fault that he has been unleashed with Miles Mayhem controlling him.

As Matt, Scott and T-Bob fly up above in Thunderhawk, Dusty Hayes and Hondo MacLean in Gator are in battle with Sly Rax and Cliff Dagger in Jackhammer. As their struggle continues, Matt drops a Delayed-Action Bomb from Thunderhawk that lands right at the feet of the Monster which retaliates throwing masonry back at them.

The Monster then picks up the bomb and throws it; it misses Thunderhawk but lands beside Jackhammer blowing her over.  Using Thunderhawk's onboard lasers, Matt fires vaporising rock and ice to make a "grave" and manage to knock the Monster into it.  as they cover it up, Mayhem appears in Switchblade...

After a Kenner toy advert for Rhino and Switchblade, when then have a page of MASK Art; a page where readers can send in their own pictures for a chance of winning £5 (a lot of money in those days) followed by a letters page.

After an advert for Invaders Club, we then enter the world of "Double Trouble" part one.  At a press conference outside the Peaceful Nations Alliance , Matt Trakker retells the story of how he and his team managed to capture the V.E.N.O.M. leader Miles Mayhem.

We soon discover that Buddie Hawks is playing the role of Miles Mayhem's doppelganger - a M.A.S.K. ploy to get the real Miles Mayhem to come to them.

Overall, this is another great issue from the IPC Magazine Stable.  The story lines are great and the artwork - especially the black and white strips - is amazing.  The detailing on Matt Trakker's Spectrum outfit in "Kamikaze" is just outstanding.  You get the sense of his Stature is you appear to be looking up to the Leader of M.A.S.K.

If I'm honest the only problem I have with this issue is in one frame Hondo and Dusty are in Gator and a couple of frames later Hondo is on Condor.

Here's looking forward to the next issue....

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