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 -
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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