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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