Monday, 31 October 2016

IDW's Revolution #3 - a M.A.S.K. Comics Review

My order for Revolution #3 arrived from and I was immediately left with a bad taste in my mouth.  Two copies with Rom on the cover - this would be good, if I were the slightest bit interested in ROM.

The only things I can tell you about ROM are -
  1. He was a character available as part of Palitoy's Action Man Space Ranger series of toys - so has something in common with one of the other properties.
  2. James Gunn has mentioned him as being part of Marvel's Universe of comics from the 80's and that he want's him in Guardians of the Galaxy.  This would make more sense than him being as part of the M.A.S.K. universe.
Why I was annoyed, is mainly due to the fact this isn't the cover that I'd ordered.  Online, I'm looking at the images and trying to figure out if any have M.A.S.K. characters or vehicles on them and those are the ones that I'm buying.  I clearly remember clicking on the one with Matt Trakker and some other characters in toy packaging.

Going back onto their website and viewing my order, it's showing that I've ordered this hideous ROM cover.

I then had doubts and thought that maybe I'd made a mistake.  That was until I heard Jason Gross from Agents of M.A.S.K. comment that the same had happened to him and since then, others have also reported a similar problem - mainly with online orders.

The problem is then worsened by the fact I can't find any stock of the M.A.S.K. versions.  I was in the Forbidden Planet shop in Glasgow on 23/10 (no relation to the website, where I'd ordered my comics from).  They had loads of issues of number 1 and number 2 in stock - but I struggled to find any issue number 3's.

I asked a member of staff and was advised that there had been a production problem caused by IDW.  A problem, or is it not quite as popular as IDW thought it was going to be?

I'm afraid, if this is true, that IDW aren't showing any respect to their customers nor the Hasbro properties that they have licensed.  They have changed M.A.S.K. beyond recognition, they have made mistakes in relation to characters and now they can't, if this is true, even get the correct comics out!

Very disrespectful.

Either that or they have taken on board my comments that producing covers with no connection or relation to the comic inside are potentially unethical!  I'd be interested to find out if anyone actually has any of the M.A.S.K. covers.  Please let me know the comments or over my M.A.S.K. Comics Facebook Page.

Again, like last week, in the Roll Call we have a picture of Gloria Baker tagged as Vanessa Warfield.

Getting into the comic, there really isn't much to mention in the way of M.A.S.K. in the story as they only feature in a couple of pages - Matt is whinging to Miles about the treatment of Kup and a scene with Sly and Vanessa speaking with Kup.

Wow!  How exciting!

The rest of the story feels disjointed - as if it's just glued together to force a story to interconnect all of the various properties.

I'm not familiar with Micronauts, but there is one question I'd like to ask - they come from a "Microverse" and are known as "Micronauts" but when they come to Earth seem taken aback at how large everything is.

Do they not know the dictionary definition of "Micro"?  If they don't know that they are small or have any reference point to their size, why is the word "Micro" in their name?

Anyway, that's all really irrelevant!  Although I'm not interested in the Micronauts, I think they were actually the highlight of this issue.  The Characters seemed quite good.

At the back of the comic there are some character profiles - a couple are from M.A.S.K.

First up is Miles Mayhem or Miles "Mayhem" Manheim per his "real" name.  According to his bio - he has no known relatives.  So, does this mean that Maximus Mayhem won't be making an appearance?

But then, if he did, he would be called Maximus Manheim and I doubt very much they would both be given the same "code-name" of Mayhem.  Max Mayhem is a FAR better name!

Within this bio, we see that this version of Mayhem is just really a G. I. Joe style character.  Which is a shame.  IDW could've come up with something far more original and inspired.

No disrespect to G.I. Joe, but I'd prefer M.A.S.K. to be completely separate from this universe - but then, I'd prefer all of the properties to be separate from each other as they are great as they are.

It also mentions that he is "Former Leader of M.A.S.K." which doesn't make any sense, as for the moment he IS the leader of M.A.S.K.  I think IDW are a bit premature in this bio and will also ruin the M.A.S.K./V.E.N.O.M. story line surprise for new readers of this comic series before V.E.N.O.M. has even been formed.  

Again, little respect for the property.

Hasbro have already bastardised M.A.S.K. twice - the first time with Vor-Tech.  This isn't something I'm overly familiar with, but on the Wiki Page for Vor-Tech, it states -

"In their battle with the Bio Mechs, VOR-tech agents use special computer systems with VOR-technology that imbue them and their vehicles with special powers."

In Mayhem's Bio, it talks about technopathy that allows the characters to interface with technology.  Sounds like they are incorporating parts of Vor-Tech into M.A.S.K.  Which kind of begs the question, why not just have Vor-Tech as part of this Revolution series instead?  That way, M.A.S.K. could've had it's own independent comic that has no relation to any of the properties.

It also states the this technopathy is restricted to the first mask that the user bonds with.  So does this mean one of two things -
  1. That each character will only ever have one Mask?
  2. That characters CAN have more than one Mask but the technopathy is different allowing for the various features that each individual mask has from the original M.A.S.K.?
If the answer is number 1., that's going to create a very boring premise.  The characters will only ever be seen in one Mask with one set of fatigues and won't allow them to develop further.  That's a shame.

It would mean, however, potential new agents wearing Masks that others may have worn?

The next issue is Switchblade.  It's described as an Apache Style Helicopter.  The original premise of M.A.S.K. is that the vehicles have an alternate mode that allowed them to go undetected - to hide in the civilian world.  An Apache helicopter fitted with weapons isn't exactly NOT going draw any attention to itself?

From what we've learned about the new "younger" M.A.S.K. team, they are like the other bastard child of M.A.S.K. - A.T.O.M. or Action Man  A.T.O.M. in some countries.   A.T.O.M. is an acronym for Alpha Teens On Machines.

It would appear that M.A.S.K. is coming full circle - Vor-Tech and A.T.O.M. are based on M.A.S.K. and now M.A.S.K. is a mixture of all three - with Cybertronian style tech with a leader who has links to G. I. Joe.....  How convoluted!

For the Matt Trakker Bio, we have mention of his Father and Mother.  His father is no longer the Andrew Trakker from the Cartoon series and there is no mention of his Brother - Andy in the preview comics or Joe from the UK Comics.

There is mention of Matt being a genius by the age of 10 and building Robots.  As you will know, there is no Scott Trakker in this series.  So they have melded Scott into a 10 year old Matt.  This is one of these pieces of information that Brandon Easton has put in as he thinks it's a clever nod to the original - #epicfail.

We then have the usual generic backstory for Matt - his father dies, he goes off the rails, blah, blah, blah......  How many times have we heard this story time and again?

Brandon is even afraid to use the term Masks - without calling them helmets first.  If it's called M.A.S.K., then just call it a Mask - simple.  

What do I expect to see in future issues?

From what I've seen so far in the comics and something else I've seen recently, I'm going to predict the following.

In the M.A.S.K.: Revolution #1, artist Tony Vargas took time to draw the original M.A.S.K. vehicles as we remember them.  Then, on the last page, the new vehicles didn't have much detail to them and where difficult to make out.

In the last issue of Revolution, we see these over the top recreations of our beloved M.A.S.K. vehicles that look awful.

So, why did Vargas spend so much time on the original vehicles for a single page?

A Revolution is a full circle, and i think he comic will come full circle and when the split between M.A.S.K. and V.E.N.O.M. occurs, I think Matt and his band of "rebels" will end up stealing the older M.A.S.K. vehicles that Vargas carefully drew in the one shot comic.  This may also explain why the covers are of the original M.A.S.K. vehicles - so as not to confuse us older generation - so we know it's M.A.S.K.!

My second prediction, is that we discover that Matt Trakker may, after all, not be Matt Trakker.  Sounds strange, but here me out on this..

I recently posted this over at my M.A.S.K. Comics Facebook Page  with #SaveMattTrakker

Like many other fans, I'm not keen on the change to Matt Trakker.  Two reasons for this.

  1. We already have a strong African American character in the form of Hondo MacLean.  Why not make the story centre around him if we want a diverse comic?
  2. Matt has gone from being a rich white guy to an African American who gets into trouble at a young age - the usual stereotype and in this climate of #blacklivesmatter, I find it disrespectful.
Anyway, after I made my post, there was a comment made by Tony Vargas - 

"That is definitely Matt Trakker:)"

At first I didn't read too much into his comment.  He may have been a fan of the original M.A.S.K. and just agreeing that this was Matt Trakker - but maybe not the new Matt Trakker. 

That was until I saw a post from Agents of M.A.S.K..

Jason was giving a prelude to the first three issues of M.A.S.K. and the comments on Issue 3 caught my eye and send my head into a spin -

I have speculated in my head that IDW may bring in a story line that Matt Trakker may actually be Hondo.  Perhaps IDW wanted to create a stir in the M.A.S.K. community - negative feedback about the change to Matt's ethnicity has certainly done that.  Gets chatter and discussion going back and forth - generates free advertising.

If "Matt's" parentage is in question, is he really a Trakker?  Or, was a young Hondo adopted by the "Trakker's"?

If this is the case, will he start using the name Hondo?  More importantly, is there another Matt Trakker?  According to Tony Vargas re the image I posted on Facebook - "That is definitely Matt Trakker:)"!

Feel free to discuss and speculate more below in the comments section and over at  M.A.S.K. Comics Facebook Page .  I'd also suggest to you visit Tony Vargas' Facebook Page.

#assembleMASK #MASKComics #MASKcrusade #DIC #Hasbro


  1. Well said, friend.

    This comment in particular: "The rest of the story feels disjointed - as if it's just glued together to force a story to interconnect all of the various properties."

    It does seem like a mishmash, almost like a desire to imitate the interconnected DC and Marvel universes. And some changes seem unnecessary.

    Less is more and ROM, Transformers, G.I. Joe and M.A.S.K. all seem crowded.

    1. Hey Stephen,

      Thank you for your comment. I think what Marvel and DC have on their side is that they are bringing together "individuals" to create a "Team". All of the new properties (except Action Man & ROM) are already in teams.

      Bringing teams in to work with teams you lose much of the individuality of the characters. It doesn't even feel like one continuous story - it's an amalgamation of different segments, loosely tied together.

      Individually, all of these properties work. Together, they lose something. M.A.S.K. has lost more than others as it's nowhere near what it should be like

  2. Interesting theory about Matt. Definitely possible.
    As far as the way IDW had operated in regards to release dates, covers, and those profile errors, I share in your frustration. It appears their distribution team does not spend a terrible amount of time on details.
    I would strongly disagree with your statement about this 2016 version being unrecognizable. They have retained many names for the characters, vehicles, and masks. They have retained the color schemes and most of the vehicle types. I think the creative team has done a great job in giving the longtime fans enough while at the same time giving MASK a new modernized story. I'm very much looking forward to the new series this month, mainly because I'm eager to see more outside the Revolution world. At times the new MASK has felt shoehorned into this event and I'm hopeful the creative team will really spread their wings in the new solo series. My stock in MASK as far as in the Revolution series has dropped since I realized these are not the same artists and writers as MASK Revolution and the new solo series. I'm sure it will be similar but I think Tony's style is more refined and sleek compared to the way the vehicles are depicted in Revolution.
    I'm a firm believer that Brandon and Tony have really done there homework in infusing 1985 MASK details and components into their 2016 version. That bit about Matt creating droids in his bio I thought was a great way to pay tribute to Scott and T-Bob without directly including them. Who knows, maybe he will include a flashback to Matt's childhood.
    Where I think we differ in opinion is that I believe they have a great deal of intension behind these details and are not simply trying to please the classic fans. The changes they have made make sense from a 2016 perspective which again is what they are creating here and not a continuation from the 1985 stories.
    I feel like if they can truly get out from underneath the Revolution umbrella, this new comic series has the potential to be great.

    1. Hey Jason,

      Good to hear from you! I agree that once Revolution is over, things MAY get better. I just want M.A.S.K. - none of this Revolution nonsense.

      I think that Tony is a great artist, and I've not found any issue with his artistic ability. I'm not keen on some of the designs as they look too futuristic, rather than 2016. This influence, of course, owes a lot to Transformers, which we could be doing without as part of M.A.S.K.

      We all have our differences over the reboot and it's good to be able to chat about it and discuss our own points of view.

      I guess only time will tell if M.A.S.K. will be any good or whether it may have been best left in the 80's. But, as a fellow M.A.S.K. script writer, I expect a lot more from M.A.S.K. but I think with Hasbro and IDW being new to the property and the legal issues, this might be the best we're going to get.