Wednesday, 5 October 2016

M.A.S.K.: Revolution #1 - a M.A.S.K. Comics Review

As I mentioned in my last blog post, I ordered my M.A.S.K.: Revolution Issue #1 from  I ordered 4 copies - one for my son and three variants for myself.

The comics took slightly longer to arrive than the Revolution #1 comic - arriving  on Monday 03/10/2016 - over half a week past the release date.  Two of the comics were in the same protective sleeve and the other two were in another protective sleeve with some cardboard to keep them stiff.

Not quite as good as good a service as the last order I received, but still good.

The covers of the UK Comics were always great so would have high hopes for the new comics.  To be honest, we've already seen the covers - so we already knew what we were getting.

The standard version of the comic has an explosive presence and is an action packed extravaganza.  Matt Trakker appears twice on the cover - both in Thunder Hawk and a head/bust shot.  Brad Turner is astride Condor and we also see Hurricane and a variant of Gator.

On one of the variant covers we have a green wire frame grid - I'm guessing to mirror the first few seconds of the Intro to the M.A.S.K. Cartoon.  The rest of the imagery is also reminiscent of the Cartoon style of character design.  Matt Trakker stands centre front with Thunder Hawk with its Gull Wing Doors open.

Gloria Baker stands beside her Split Seconds Stiletto vehicle, Bruce Sato with Rhino, Brad Turner with Condor and Hondo MacLean with Firecracker.  All with the familiar sight of Boulder Hill in the background.

Ominously overlooking are V.E.N.O.M. agents Floyd Malloy, Sly Rax, Miles Mayhem, Vanessa Warfield and Cliff Dagger.

When I first saw images of this cover online, I wasn't too keen on it.  Looking at it now, it isn't the art itself that I didn't like.  It's the fact that style was different from the rest of imagery seen in relation to the rest of what was coming out with respect of the new comic.

Herein lies my issues - with both of these covers.  The art is fantastic.  They are showing M.A.S.K. and V.E.N.O.M. as we, the M.A.S.K. fans who grew to love M.A.S.K. in the 80's will remember.

However, once inside the comic, we have the new M.A.S.K.....   M.A.S.K. - Mobile Armored Strike Kommand.  I do not get this.  We, yet again, are being sold covers to draw the original fans - then not getting what we paid for on the inside.

On the first cover, we are sold the idea that Hurricane will feature - it does not.  We are sold the idea that we will see all of these vehicles in action - we do not.

The alternative cover I have - the Cartoon variation - sells us even more lies.  There is no Floyd, no Cliff, no Hondo, no Stiletto (vehicle), no Firecracker.

If we are moving in a new direction - away from M.A.S.K. of the 80's toward's Hasbro's/IDW's new vision of M.A.S.K. - why do the covers reflect the M.A.S.K. of the 80's?  Please, give me one or the other - do not make the comic confusing by trying to give me both.

Clearly, it's in IDW's best interests to bring in new readers - the younger generation to this great world of illusion.  If I'm confused by the mixture of one style on the cover and another style on the inside - what must new readers make of this?

The last variant I purchased is a blank page cover.  As this is all new to me, I don't really see the point.  From what I've read, this cover is one that you are meant to take to a convention and get one of the artists to personalise for you.  Perhaps one of the artists could give me a cover that actually represents the comic inside?

There is another variant cover - an "incentive" cover.  I'm guessing and incentive to give IDW more money.

Anyway, we see our characters Masked - again looking like the familiar characters we have grown up with.  It, yet again, is a great looking cover - except there is something wrong with the way Matt has been drawn.  I can't quire describe what I don't like about it - but the rest of the cover is well done.

Once inside the comic, the art is, for the most part, good.  I'm not overly keen on the way that Miles Mayhem is drawn for the most part, but does get slightly better towards the end of the comic.

So, we know that the artwork is good - although disjointed and conflicted.

What of the story and content?  That's a whole other matter and will take a lot longer to discuss.

The story starts, I'm guessing, in the present day, with our M.A.S.K. team getting ready for a mission - then goes back to one year ago.  This is to give us Brandon Easton's new vision for the background of M.A.S.K.

We are introduced to the characters as new recruits - some of the characters, such as Julio Lopez, being introduced a bit earlier than in the original Cartoons, Toys and Comics.  Miles Mayhem, being their tutor - and narrator of the comic.

Due to the small size of the comic - some of the font text is quite small and you have to concentrate to read it.  It also gets a bit...  dull.  I'm looking for an exciting fast paced comic - the more drivel I have to read, the longer it takes to get through it.

Apparently, this is all part of Project "Spectrum".  Here's the first issue...  Spectrum.

Clearly Brandon thinks that by calling it Spectrum, he's being smart by giving a nod to the good old days of M.A.S.K. and Matt Trakker's most famous Mask.  What he's really doing, is confusing the situation.  The recruits are there to become members of M.A.S.K. - so why isn't simply called project M.A.S.K.?

Simple.  Effective.

If there's one thing we know from the 80's, is that one of the V.E.N.O.M. characters has the best sounding names - ever!  Sly Rax.  

Not now.

We have a new world where M.A.S.K. is being mixed with Transfomers, G. I. Joe and the likes.  It's perfectly acceptable for a character to be called Snake Eyes or Storm Shadow or Optimus Prime.

However, seemingly we can't accept Miles Mayhem nor Sly Rax as being valid names without calling them Miles Manheim or Sylvester Rax?

Sylvester?  Are we being serious?  Ok, Sylvester Stallone is called Sly - and I'm assuming that is where this has come from.  But, Sylvester Rax?

He has gone from being the coolest sounding baddie of the 80's to now being less cool than Nash Gorey - how embarrassing.

Let's not try and ruin it anymore Brandon!

The next thing that is confusing for any reader - whether long time M.A.S.K. fan or new - Miles Mayhem's narration introduces a character called Dr Armand Singh - but his speech bubble calls him Dr Bender.

So, what do we call him?  Singh or Bender?  

The Character himself looks like the character of Dr X from Action Man.

Perhaps someone reading this can shed more light as I really don't get this character at all.

Moving forward, we have two disposable characters testing out Masks and vehicles.

The Masks themselves, remind me of toy helmets that my son has - they have a front and back that clip together around the users head.  It's a different take on the original idea and I wouldn't want to be a tight situation and struggling to put it on.  The design of the original Masks is far simpler and easier.

There is then a socket in the drivers seat of the vehicle that links the driver to the vehicle.  I don't get that.  We are in a world of wireless devices and yet we have a socket to plug our Mask into the vehicle?  How old fashioned - must be Apple tech!

Jackhammer looks good but Gator looks - well....  I'm sure exactly what it's meant to be?  I don't even think the artist knew what it was meant to be when it was being drawn.  Doesn't appear to be a hydroplane anymore!

We then move onto "Sly" Rax and Julio Lopez being given their respective Masks - but not quite.  Rax is given Stiletto, as expected, but Lopez's Streamer Mask is now called Gulliver.

Does this mean that we won't see Calhoun Burns if the name of his Mask has been appropriated and used for Julio Lopez? 

There is also the concern that both Masks have the same abilities.  One of the things that made Mask great was the uniqueness of each Mask.  If they are no longer unique, then why make them look different?  Why give them a different name?

Matt's Mask, not given a name but looks like Spectrum, seems to have a Whip like function.

After a scene on a train, that didn't seem to make much sense, we see Mayhem with Brad Turner's Hocus Pocus Mask - now called Eclipse.  An eclipse obscures light - and that is what his Eclipse Mask did when driving Razorback.  How does that name fit in with projecting holograms?

On the last page, we see some horrific visions of the new M.A.S.K. vehicles are Matt Trakker is introduced to Scarlett, from G. I. Joe, as Codename: Spectrum - I guess referring back to the previous mention of Spectrum.

I'm afraid that this comic doesn't impress me.  The story telling is disjointed and lacklustre.  The changes add nothing to M.A.S.K. and in fact do the exact opposite.

When I first found out that Brandon Easton was writing this script, I asked him if he would do an interview for my page. He said that he would, but never got back to me.

Considering how bad this comic is - I would've been embarrassed to have published any of his comments as he doesn't really seem to have any grasp of what M.A.S.K. is or what it stands for.

The preview issue of the UK Comic did a far simpler background story, that far exceeded this nonsense.  Perhaps future issues will get better, but I'm not going to hold my breath!  


  1. From what I've just read, Dr Bender is meant to be Dr Mindbender of Cobra from G. I. Joe.

    Still doesn't make much sense!

  2. Good review!

    It was a tad underwhelming.

    Also, we are living in the era of TPBs. Nothing happens in first issues nowadays. Now, I bought this because I want to support M.A.S.K. but I'm thinking to myself, why not just wait for the TPB? It'll cost me less and I'll have a complete story.

    As someone who enjoyed MASK comics in the 80s, you did get bang for your buck. True, the UK comic had many continuing stories, but each story felt "complete" if that makes sense. And the UK comic, which had several strips, featured complete stories.

    This pretty much felt like a warm-up. What was the cost, something like £3.35? That's a lot to pay for a warm-up.

    1. Hey Stephen,

      Thanks for your comments. The UK M.A.S.K. comic came out when I was 13 and is the only comic that I have every issue. I've managed to get the US version from DC (not as good as the UK version).

      The cartoons were classic as well.

      I didn't get many toys (of the age where older brothers and parents saying I was too old for them). M.A.S.K. is amazing and the original M.A.S.K. is as relevant today as it was in 1985.

      This new take on M.A.S.K. is just not real.

  3. Pretty disappointed in this to be honest. Like you I was very deceived by the cover art. I wanted to see the classic M.A.S.K. characters we know and love. I don't know who half these people even are.

    1. I hear ya. Not sure why if you are redesigning the whole concept would you put the "Real" M.A.S.K. on the cover if not to just pull in the original fans.... Then disappoint them!

      From what I've heard, this is a common occurrence with comics these days to draw people in to buy it.