Published: August 23rd, 2017
Written by: Brandon M. Easton
Art by: Juan Samu, Tony Vargas
Based on: M.A.S.K. by Kenner Products
IDW Publishing, 146 Pages
Man, I really wanted this to be good.
I was a big fan of M.A.S.K. when I was a kid in the ’80s. I used to watch the cartoon daily and I owned a lot of the toys, including the massive Boulder Hill headquarters playset.
IDW Publishing had also done a really good job with other Hasbro properties, specifically G.I. Joe and Transformers for several years before this came out.
The problem was that M.A.S.K. got its comic adaptation too late, as it started off as part of the Revolution crossover that saw the world of M.A.S.K. meld together with G.I. Joe, Transformers, ROM, Micronauts and Action Man. That crossover really muddled things up for me and it’s where IDW’s great G.I. Joe run ended.
I don’t blame IDW for the crossover, as it was something that Hasbro wanted as an experiment to see how their multiple toy brands could co-exist in a shared universe because shared universes are hot right now and Hasbro wants to attempt this on a larger stage: motion pictures.
While this takes place mostly after the crossover, the worlds of G.I. Joe and Transformers are still referenced here and it doesn’t allow M.A.S.K. to establish its own unique mythos and story. The tech used in this is descended from Cybertronian tech, which sort of cheapens the rich property that M.A.S.K. once was.
I’m not trying to be overly negative but I think that M.A.S.K. can and should stand on its own, at least this early into its comic book run.
The tone of the writing also didn’t mesh well with the art style. The covers were great but the interior art was a bit too kiddish for the seriousness of the story. I felt like something along the lines of Robert Atkins’ art style during his G.I. Joe run would have been more appropriate.
I did mostly like the story and how things were set up between the M.A.S.K. team and the villainous V.E.N.O.M. I liked that Miles Mayhem trained the heroes but was now their primary enemy.
But sadly, I thought that this was too light on the vehicle action. It seemed like the masks and their powers were used more frequently than the cool, transforming vehicles. The vehicles are why every kid liked M.A.S.K. in the first place. They need to be front and center in every issue and utilized in the story. In fact, I forgot that the masks actually did anything other than making a cool fashion statement.
I have the second volume and I plan to read it and review it as well. Hopefully, it finds its groove and builds off of this mostly mediocre start.
Pairs well with: other M.A.S.K. comics, as well as comics for other Hasbro properties like G.I. Joe and Transformers.