Sunday, 28 July 2013

M.A.S.K. Comic UK Issue 14

Table of Contents -

  • Front and Back Wraparound Cover
  • Five Pages - "Project Dinosaur" Part 7 (B&W with Pink Tint First Cell)
  • Four Pages - "Danger in the Outback!" Part 2 (Colour)
  • Five Pages - "The Main Feature" (B&W)
  • Centre Page Spread - Matt Trakker with Spectrum and Ultraflash
  • Five Pages - "Maelstrom Mayhem" Part 4 (B&W with Pink Tint First Page)
  • Single Page - Competition
  • Single Page - MASK Art
  • Single Page - Advertisement
  • Single Page - Letters Page
  • Four Pages - "UFO Over Africa" Conclusion (B&W)
  • Single Page - Advert and Preview of next issue
Every now again there was an issue of M.A.S.K. that left me feeling a little underwhelmed by the end of it.  There might be no specific reason or it might be a combination of issues - Issue 14, dated 25th of April - 8th of May 1987 was one such issue.

I can't really put my finger on why I felt underwhelmed but maybe my review may shed some light on it.

After a V.E.N.O.M. lockout of the front cover over the past few issues, we have T-Bob on the front cover proclaiming he is a "V.I.R. - a Very Important Robot!" and we are told that this is a T-Bob Special - so that may have something to do with my non-excitement of this particular issue.

T-Bob is holding a complimentary ticket to a Movie Première in his hand and is standing against and image of the cinema with crowds watching as the VIP guests enter the cinema.  This image is set into the cover like a TV/Cinema Screen behind T-Bob with a vibrant red border all round.  I'm not too keen on the insert image - it's a very different style to the rest of the cover and the previous covers I've been used to.

Down the bottom of the cover, Miles Mayhem is out to cause mischief!  On the back page Matt and Scott Trakker are in their box at the cinema with Miles Mayhem on screen with the words "The End".

Down below, Matt points out that "Hidden jets blasting out some kind of white mist!" and Scott Trakker replies "People are dropping like flies.  It's a Sleeping Gas!"  What I don't understand is, why it takes a 10 year old kid to deduce it's a Sleeping Gas and not the Leader of M.A.S.K.?

We kick off this issue with part 7 of "Project Dinosaur" as Miles Mayhem's Triceratops is about to wreck havoc on the US town of Salt Flats.  As Miles Mayhem flies over the monster gloating, we discover that he has fitted a control implant in the beast - this story now reminds very much of previous "Monster Mountain" storyline a number of weeks earlier.

Back at the V.E.N.O.M. hideout, Sly Rax is beginning to have doubts about his role within the team.  He fears that with the might of this beast on his side, Miles Mayhem may no longer require his minions.  Floyd Malloy tends to side with Rax but Cliff Dagger is too stupid to see the logic of Rax's argument!

Back at Boulder Hill HQ, Alex Sector gives the bad news to Matt Trakker and the rest of the M.A.S.K. team about the carnage in Salt Flats created by V.E.N.O.M.!  Matt heads out in Thunderhawk, Dusty Hayes and Hondo MacLean in Gator and Julio Lopez in Firefly.

Disgruntled that his father wouldn't take him with him, Scott Trakker decides that he needs to sneak after them astride T-Bob.

As Matt arrives by air at Salt Flats, he takes the opportunity to fire at Switchblade - but misses!  However, this was deliberate by the M.A.S.K. leader!  Knowing that Miles Mayhem would gloat to his minions back at V.E.N.O.M. HQ, the M.A.S.K. team are able to trace the transmission and find the location of the hidden enemy base....

After being struck by fire from Jackhammer, Julio Lopez has to make a crash landing in Firefly as Danger in the Outback continues.  Sly Rax and a team of V.E.N.O.M. soldiers run to the crash site but they are easily taken out with a combination of water then oil from Julio's Streamer Mask - but he is no match for Miles Mayhem as he fires Corrosive Poison from his Viper Mask that eats into Streamers Visor!

Rax receives a smack to the jaw from Julio as he and the V.E.N.O.M. minions overwhelm him and eventually take him prisoner.  Once in custody, Mayhem threatens to kill Julio unless PNA (Peaceful Nations Alliance) Scientist Jerry Carter gives him the plans to a secret new weapon!  He agrees!

Outside, we see Matt Trakker and Bruce Sato in Rhino on the approach to the V.E.N.O.M. compound and easily take out some guards but then face off against Jackhammer....   Who will win?

Following on from our cover, we then come to "The Main Feature"!  Matt Trakker and the M.A.S.K. team have prime seats in a box at the Première of a new Hollywood Blockbuster.  Dressed for the occasion in Tuxedos, even T-Bob is wearing a black tie!

As the curtain draws back, the audience are greeted by the face of V.E.N.O.M. Leader, Miles Mayhem, instead of the movie on the screen!  The image of Miles Mayhem proclaims that this will be the end of Trakker and his team as sleeping gas fills the cinema theatre.

The conversation from the back cover re the sleeping gas is also in the strip but you can't really make out who says what - so is Scott Trakker really as intelligent as made out on the back cover?

Their attempt to flee is blocked by iron bars sliding down at all the exists preventing escape!  Luckily, "Old Tom" a stage hand manages to lead our team to safety and they are soon reunited with their vehicles and Masks across the road at the Mammoth Film Studios.

As our team engage the enemy, they have to contend will all manner of film sets in their way that leads to our team out of their vehicles with Sly Rax having the upper hand and pinning them down.  Help comes in the unlikely form of Scott riding T-Bob who manage to take out Rax and he and the rest of the V.E.N.O.M. team turn tail and run!

After last weeks disappointment at there being no vehicle centre page, this weeks continues along that line.  We have Matt Trakker in his Spectrum Fatigues with two inserts - one of his face and another in his Ultraflash Fatigues attacking Switchblade!

The River Thames Flood Barrier is under threat in Part 4 of "Maelstrom Mayhem"!  Brad Turner on Condor and Matt Trakker in Thunderhawk are on the scene to aid in a rescue mission.

A tidal wave hits the barrier and throws two of its workers up in the air and are caught on the bonnet of Thunderhawk.

The torrential weather dissipates as Miles Mayhem makes a radio broadcast again threatening that he will cause more havoc unless he is made King and Prime Minister of Great Britain!

In the previous issue, Matt Trakker was confident that Sir Joshua Snyde had something to hide about a weapon that could create this weather that Miles Mayhem is able to control.  They obtain plans to Snydes house and he and Bruce Sato infiltrate it and obtain the information they need from Snydes computer.

Unfortunately, a trap door opens and they fall into sealed room used to experiment extreme weather conditions.  They are left freezing - will they survive?

This issues sees the conclusion of the M.A.S.K. "Collect-a-word" competition!

Each issue, a word has been printed in the comic (two words in issue 1) and this issue we are given the details on who to enter the competition and details of the prizes.

You have to make a sentence that relates to M.A.S.K. using the words printed which are -

1. Triumph
2. Will
3. Illusion
4. Over
5. The
6. Allow
8. Is
9. Weapon
11. Which
12. Ultimate
13. To
14. Finally

Post your answers in the Comments Field below or on my Facebook Page!  By putting in a competition like this that spans 14 issues of the comic, the publishers were attempting to build a loyal fan base.  I was already hooked and didn't need such persuasion to continue buying this great comic!

The main prize states "2 complete sets of the toys, as shown in the photograph".  This is a bit of a disappointment after last weeks issue where we find out there are more toys available and the toys featured are only the series one toys but the series two and racing series were already available in some stores by now.

We then have a T-Bob Special MASKart page - that features various pics of our beloved rotund robot including a pic from a Stuart Crews of Clackmannan that isn't too far away from where I live!

"T-Bob Rolls In!" and takes over this issues letters page as his domination of this issue continues!

Miles Mayhem manages a direct hit on Thunderhawk from his Switchblade fighter causing her front drivers side wheel to be blasted off as we conclude "UFO over Africa"!  Like one of our other stories this issue, Sly Rax has the upper hand and has Dusty Hayes and Hondo MacLean in his sights!  Until, that is, a rogue wheel from Thunderhawk crashes down on top of him - a lucky escape for our duo!
As the team regroup, the cavalry of Julio Lopez in Firefly and Ace Riker in Slingshot arrive.

As various skirmishes ensue, Dagger losses the Diamonds and ends up on top of Mount Kilimanjaro!

We end off this issue with a half page advert for a M.A.S.K. holiday special that is out on the 2nd of May and T-Bob telling us of a free gift in the next issue of M.A.S.K.

As I said previously, this wasn't one of my favourite issues of M.A.S.K. and didn't leave me inspired.  Although, knowing there was a Holiday Special and free gift to come I at least had something to look forward two over the coming weeks.

Feel free to leave your comments below - +1 on Google, share on Facebook and Twitter, etc., etc.

Remember this more chat and information over on my Facebook Page - see you there!

Thank you!

Lego M.A.S.K. Cartoon!

The Lego Star Wars game for the Playstation and Nintendo Wii are games I've always liked - they put a nice spin on the Star Wars Franchise yet bringing some fun into it also.

About this time last year, I bought my son the DVD of Lego Star Wars - The Padawan Menace!  Ok, I'm not sure that I really bought it for him or if I bought it for me, but this cartoon has the same humour brought over from the game, a fantastic script and the most amazing CGI Graphics.

My son watched it on a regular basis and there are that many jokes, that every time I watched it I caught another one!

I'm sure that many of you will know about Orion Pax's Lego M.A.S.K. creations - if you are not, please check out their page as there are some great pieces of work - not just M.A.S.K. but many other famous franchises also.

From the images above of their Gator done in Lego...

To the assembled cast above, Orion Pax has taken great care in the detail of recreating the iconic M.A.S.K. vehicles, HQ and characters.

So, what if someone decided to make a Lego M.A.S.K. Cartoon in a similar way as the aforementioned Lego Star Wars?

Would it work?  I think it would,especially if they managed to capture the humour that Lego has now become famed for in all of their computer games and cartoons.

What are your thoughts?  Comments below and and my Facebook Page please!

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

M.A.S.K. Comic UK Issue 13

M.A.S.K. Issue 13 dated 17th-24th April 1987.  Another issue, another V.E.N.O.M. takeover.  From their attempted takeover of issue 9's cover, every issue since has been a V.E.N.O.M. lockout.

Miles Mayhem uses the full might of Switchblade to take over the cover and asks if "anyone want to argue?"  With a line up of Viper, Stiletto, Torch and Buckshot Masks on the bottom of the cover to back him up.

On the back page of the comic, Miles Mayhem is showing off a statue of himself to his minions Floyd Malloy, Sly Rax and Cliff Dagger.  Dagger is asking the readers "What are you lot looking at?"

Another fantastic cover, even if it doesn't feature our M.A.S.K. team.

Table of Contents -

  • Front and Back Wraparound Cover
  • Five Pages - "Maelstrom Mayhem" Part 3 (B&W with Pink Tint First Page)
  • Four Pages - "Danger in the Outback!" Part 1 (Colour)
  • Five Pages - "Battle in the Arctic" Conclusion (B&W)
  • Centre Page Spread - Miles Mayhem and Viper
  • Five Pages - "Project Dinosaur" Part 6 (B&W with Blue Tint First Cell)
  • Single Page - Competition
  • Single Page - Advertisement
  • Single Page - Letters Page
  • Single Page - Hocus Pocus Mask Cut Out
  • Four Pages - "UFO Over Africa" Part 4 (B&W)
  • Single Page - MASK Art
A steamboat is in trouble on Lake Windermere in the Lake District, England, and our M.A.S.K. are racing to their rescue as we kick off part 3 of "Maelstrom Mayhem".  Dusty Hayes and Hondo MacLean are dispatched in Gator to rescue the passengers on the steamboat.  

The duo use Gator's Water Cannon to Freeze the lake, as it does so, the Steamboat is stuck fast in the ice and allows the crew and passengers to climb off of the boat and walk back to safety.

Matt Trakker and Bruce in Thunderhawk and Julio Lopez in Firefly make a flypast over a nearby Lakeside Village which has been devastated by weather that V.E.N.O.M. are creating from a safe distance away.

As an electric pylon crashes down on a Petrol Station and flames start to engulf it, Julio Lopez lands Firefly and uses his Streamer Mask to fire Sand over the flames to put them out - noting to himself that it's lucky he remembered not to use water on an Electrical Fire.

Although I like the idea of Streamer being able to fire out sand, water, oil, tar, etc. according to the toy box, Streamer fires Glue; end of story.  It was always a bit annoying when Mask's were given more functions than they were supposed to have.

A full scale rescue plan is put into place to evacuate all of residents of the Lakeside Village to higher ground as Mayhem turns up the heat by blowing gale force winds that cause Lake Windermere to burst it banks.  Buddie Hawks uses a combination of Rhino and his Penetrator Mask to drive through destroyed buildings to rescue trapped residents.

With the workhorse of Rhino ferrying residents up the hill from the village, Condor and Firefly are used to carry more residents until the village is empty.  On the hillside, Matt contemplates that someone in London must know of the weapon that Mayhem is using to cause all of this damage.

He meets up with Sir Joshua Snyde in Whitehall and as he advises Matt that he knows of nothing that could cause this, Spectrum detects that he his lying!  (now Spectrum has a built in Lie Detector, really?)  Next issues target?  London.

Miles Mayhem in Switchblade fires some shots over the nose of a small Executive Jet in "Danger over the Outback" as he gives it some new co-ordinates and lets them know that they will all die if they don't do as ordered.

Mayhem forces them to land at a disused Airfield and lands in front of the plane as Sly Rax and Cliff Dagger park up in Piranha and several V.E.N.O.M. soldiers surround the plane.  One of the passengers is P.N.A. (Peaceful Nations Alliance) Leading Scientist Jerry Carter.

Carter is giving a three hour deadline to give Mayhem the details for the New Laser he has developed.  Unknown to V.E.N.O.M. a M.A.S.K. tracking device has activated on plane and within a couple of hours, several agents have been flown to Australia to search for the missing plane and it's crew and passenger.  (surely if the plane has a tracking device they would know exactly where the plane is?)

Julio Lopez in Firefly is the firs on the scene.  

Despite being advised over his comms by Matt not to engage the enemy, Julio swoops down and engages the enemy forces.  Suddenly, one of the buildings starts to shake and falls outwards to reveal Cliff Dagger in Jackhammer.

Lopez, taken by surprise, tries to escape; too late as Jackhammer zeros in on Firefly and shoots her down.

Matt Trakker is coming under fire in the fake Iceberg as we kick off the conclusion of "Battle in the Arctic!" He jumps off of a platform, using Spectrum's Freefall (ahem?) ability to land on the seized Patrol Vessel "Alexander Scott".  Using Spectrum's Noise mode he incapacitates most of the V.E.N.O.M. minions and then lands on top of some others.

As he gets to his feet, there is one more minion on the deck so he finds another use for Spectrum - as he headbutts the minion.  Just as he thinks he's safe, a V.E.N.O.M. agent on a platform above the bridge throws a grenade at him.

Matt manages to kick the grenade back at the agent, knocking him on the head and then it lands beside some oil drums blowing them up!

Brad Turner on Condor and Bruce Sato in Thunderhawk are circling the fake iceberg unaware of their leaders predicament inside.  Bruce fires and remotely detonates a magnetic bomb and as the smoke clears a pair of doors open up.

Matt flees the iceberg on the "Alexander Scott", however, she is on fire from the earlier blast.  Bruce uses Lifter to pick up tons of seawater and drops it on the ship putting out the fire.  However, the celebrations are short lived as Miles Mayhem in Switchblade and Floyd Malloy on Vampire blow the "Alexander Scott" to Smithereens.  Fearing the worst, our M.A.S.K. team are glad to see their leader on a second boat with the rescued crew from the "Alexander Scott" along with salvaged equipment.

Usually the highlight of the comic, this issue's centrespread was a disappointment.  Instead of the usual Vehicle Profile, we have a Bio-feature on Miles Mayhem.  Standing in all of his glory wearing his Viper mask we see an action shot inlay of him firing at Matt Trakker and missing hitting a tree instead.  We also have another inset picture of his face and signature.

I'm not saying that having a profile page on the characters is a bad thing, is just, in my opinion, it's not as exciting as the vehicles.  That's the way the comics will be for the next few issues.

Miles Mayhem in Switchblade has Julio Lopez in Firefly well and truly in his sights as we kick off Part Six of "Project Dinosaur".  Matt fires at Switchblade - too far away to get a clean shot but it's blasts are close enough that Mayhem misses his intended target.

Mayhem in Switchblade and Malloy in Vampire both flee into their base via the hidden entrance under the sand.  Matt lands to check on Julio who had lost control of Firefly after his near death experience from Switchblade.

The V.E.N.O.M. team are well hidden from M.A.S.K. in their vast underground complex and use a train to move them and their equipment away from the danger or M.A.S.K. above ground.  Once at their laboratory, Mayhem uses a "Metabolism Accelerator" to hatch a Triceratops!

After my disappointed at no Vehicle Centre Page Spread, I was then faced a competition page in associated with Zodiac Toys and my disappointment disappeared!

Was I going to enter the competition?  No, there was no way I was going to cut 1/3 of a page out of my favourite comic!

So, why then did this competition excite me?

It wasn't the competition itself (although I would've loved the prize haul that was on order) it was more the content on the page.

Although M.A.S.K. had been big in the U.S. it took a while for all of the toys to filter through to the U.K.

The comic reflected this by introducing new vehicles and characters in batches like a drip-feed.

The top third of the page is an image of various toys that I'd never seen before and they certainly hadn't managed to make their way into the comic.  I'd later find out that these vehicles are Outlaw, Firecracker, Volcano and Raven.  After a few times of looking at this page, I also found Hurricane hiding behind the word "WIN".

This was a great insight for me that there were a whole batch of new vehicles still to come and they looked great.  I couldn't wait until they made their way onto the pages of my M.A.S.K. Comic.

Then I read the description of the prize - a complete set of toys that included "27" vehicles!  27!  Yes, 27!

Ok, so lets figure this out, we are currently on issue 13 - with no Vehicle centre page spread.  Issue 8 had the wrap-a-round cover so that means we only have 11 vehicles in our ensemble so far!  There are another 5 previewed on this page so that leaves another 11 I've yet to see.

Working it out now, the 27 vehicles would be all of the series 1 & 2 toys as well as the Racing Series - Goliath is classed as one vehicle as comes in one box but The Collector, Billboard Blast and Pitstop Catapult will be classed as vehicles even though their normal modes aren't actually vehicles.

It was this sort of thing that made me look forward to the next issues coming up - but I'd be disappointed for a number of weeks whilst we only have character profiles in the centre pages and not Vehicle profiles.

We then have the standard Toy Ad that features Rhino and Switchblade - a staple for almost all the issues (if not all), our letters page and then a Cut Out Hocus Pocus Mask!  If you are reading this and you cut out this Mask or the Competition Form - shame on you!  How could you waste such a great magazine?

Part four of "UFO Over Africa" kicks off with Brad Turner still in the hands of V.E.N.O.M. - but a plan has already been devised to rescue him.  Bruce Sato is driving Rhino's ATV with Buddie Hawks clinging onto the back of it using his Penetrator Mask to pass through various obstacles such as trees and rampant Elephants.

Once they come across the V.E.N.O.M. convoy, Bruce uses his Lifter Mask to pick Brad straight out of Piranha's Sidecar!  Once the M.A.S.K. team are back together, they attack V.E.N.O.M. and the foot of Mount Kilimanjaro.

Our cliffhanger this issues sees Gator being struck and flipping it's passengers out as it lands on its side.  Whilst Hondo and Dusty try to gather themselves, Sly Rax is about to fire upon them from Piranha....

Our final page is unusually the MASKart page.

Another great issue with a few disappointments but we get to see a precursor of new vehicles to be introduced.

Perhaps next issues cover won't be another V.E.N.O.M. takeover?

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Monday, 15 July 2013

Random Post

So, I'm on a week's holiday at the caravan - not at our usual site.  The in-laws have gotten the caravaning bug so we have joined up with them on their holiday and in August will have a week at the site we normally go to.

Anyway, as you will know by now my local Newsagent had a box for us and I had my M.A.S.K. comic on order.  During the holidays, I was always scared that the newsagent would forget to keep aside my copy of M.A.S.K. so I would buy one when I was up at the caravan.

Of course, the newsagent did always keep my copy, so I'd then end up with two copies of that issue - wish I'd got a few copies or EACH issue, but never mind!

I had hoped that I could do my reviews in line with the publishing date of each issue, but I'm a little bit behind just now so will need to catch up as I still have the Holiday Special to get through as well.

Anyway, I checked my blog earlier today and I've now surpassed the 10,000 page view mark.  So, I'd like to take this opportunity to thank you all for taking the time to view my blog.

It's hard to believe that I've been been on the go for less than a year and I'm at this milestone already.  I know that other M.A.S.K. fan sites have been on the go for quite a while and the them 10k views may not seem that many - but to me it's a great achievement.

As well has giving you a breakdown of each and every issue of M.A.S.K. UK and, at some point, the US version as well, I'm trying to give you an insight in my point of view of the complete world of M.A.S.K.

Being on holiday, I'm reminded of my youth - reading and rereading my M.A.S.K. comics and the excitement of seeing M.A.S.K. toys and Merchandise in the shops.  It's a shame there hasn't been a resurgence of M.A.S.K. yet as I'm sure that it's about time and Hasbro are missing out by not having brought it out yet.

Hopefully, they will soon take an interest in my script and my ideas on how they can regain their lost Trademarks for this glorious "world of illusion"!

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

M.A.S.K. Comics on Ebay!

I have been asked a number of times by various people "how much are M.A.S.K. comics worth?"

That is a very tricky question for me to answer.  I bought the comics new so for me the Preview Issue was free and for most of the run cost 35p - so that would be my diplomatic answer.

The truth is, there are many out there who will be buying and selling comics all the time as a commodity and won't really appreciate them for their Artwork or the stories - and to me that is a shame.  M.A.S.K. is the comic that I collected from the bright beginnings of the preview issue through to the very bitter end.

M.A.S.K. has a very special place in my heart and in that respect I would never contemplate selling my collection and could therefore never put a price on them.

I have, from time to time, bought some extra copies of the comics for a number of reasons.  The first was to use the second copy as a reference tool (should I have needed it) to write my script. The second is to use them for my blog.  Lastly, to read them to/with my little boy once he is old enough to appreciate them.

As I'm a buyer, not a seller, it would be in my interest to tell you that M.A.S.K. comics aren't worth very much - that way I can buy more copies from you cheaply!  That would be unfair.  There are some facts I could tell - such as the last time I bought a set of comics I paid about £20ish pounds for them - but I know that in some cases they will sell for more or less than that.  

Guess it's just your luck when you buy/sell them as to how many others are looking to buy/sell at the same time.

Not so long ago, someone was trying to sell one issue for £75 + extra for postage and packaging - whilst and identical item had a starting bit of 99p and never sold.  There are a number of very greedy Ebayers out there who will try to fleece as much money from you as they can - especially by asking for over the top buy it now prices and extortionate P&P.

Many Ebayers will give very limited information about the comics and only when you ask them a question about them do you find that they have taken the centre page posters out and ruined the comics.

One of the things that really annoys me is the overuse of the word "Rare" to describe every item - especially when describing the Preview issue and numbers 1, 2 & 3.  The question you have to ask yourself is "are these comics rare"?  The Preview issue was given away free with every comic made by the same stable, so surely there are more issues of this comic than any other?  The sheer number of issues that are for sale regularly on Ebay would suggest this also.

There are also many issues of 1, 2 & 3 up for auction - but consider this; how many issue 57's or 61's for example or issues 78, 79 & 80 do you see for sale?  Perhaps the longer the run, the fewer sales of comics there were.  Remember, M.A.S.K. and The Eagle joined forces - was this due to dwindling sales of M.A.S.K. and therefore the rarest issues may be the later issues?

I'm not going to sit here and preach to you and tell you how much you should buy or sell M.A.S.K. comics for - all I'll say is buy them to enjoy them.  Don't buy them to then try and rip of genuine collectors.