Comic Review: M.A.S.K.: Mobile Armored Strike Kommand, Vol. 2: Rise of V.E.N.O.M.

Published: December 13th, 2017
Written by: Brandon M. Easton, David A. Rodriguez
Art by: Andrew Griffith, Drew Moss, Juan Samu
Based on: M.A.S.K. by Kenner Products

IDW Publishing, 162 Pages

Review:

I really wanted this comic to be good, as I was a huge fan of the toyline when I was a young boy in the ’80s.

There are a few reasons as to why this just doesn’t cut the mustard but the biggest is that it doesn’t know what the hell it needs to be. This is the second and final volume in IDW’s run on the M.A.S.K. property but it sacrifices the property itself by wedging in G.I. Joe and Transformers characters, essentially being a crossover with those other Hasbro franchises.

And when it isn’t focused on other franchises, it just keeps giving us origin stories and nothing with any real meat to it. There is nothing here to make me care about M.A.S.K. on its own.

I feel as if IDW didn’t have any faith in M.A.S.K. and tried to draw more attention to it by throwing these characters into a G.I. Joe and Transformers story. It reminds me of when Marvel would have a new or struggling comic book in the ’90s so they had to throw Spider-Man in it and on the cover in an effort to generate more sales. It isn’t a tactic that worked a quarter of a century ago and it doesn’t work now.

The writing is a mess, the story is all over the place and then the art isn’t very good either. There just isn’t much here worth giving a crap about.

M.A.S.K. vs. G.I. Joe vs. Transformers story could be great but M.A.S.K. needs to swim on its own first.

Rating: 4.75/10
Pairs well with: other M.A.S.K. comics, as well as comics for other Hasbro properties like G.I. Joe and Transformers.

Comic Review: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Issue #8 – Team Up with Cerebus

Published: July, 1986
Written by: Kevin Eastman, Peter Laird, Dave Sim
Art by: Kevin Eastman, Peter Laird, Dave Sim, Gerhard, Michael Dooney, Steve Lavigne

Mirage Studios, 45 Pages

Review:

Fans of Dave Sim’s long running Cerebus comic series, as well as the original run on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, should probably be really happy with the end result of this crossover.

I believe that this was the first crossover for either intellectual property and even though it took place in a single issue, as opposed to some mega event like nowadays, it hit all the right chords and worked really well, as two very different worlds collided and fit snugly and organically in the same shared space for 45 pages.

I think that this story benefited from coming out at the time when both creative teams were at their creative peak. Granted, Cerebus evolved and changed a lot but this was more tied to his earlier stuff, where he was simply an anthropomorphic aardvark that existed in a sword and sorcery world of parody. Pairing him up with a foursome of anthropomorphic turtles made for a natural fit, even if one character was like Conan the Barbarian and the other four were ninjas. Regardless, they’re all still badass warriors that come together to help a damsel in over her head.

Out of all the TMNT crossovers that I have read over the years, this one is probably my favorite. It’s also a solid one for Cerebus but I need to revisit his crossover with Spawn to see which of these I prefer more.

The coolest thing about this story is that we get to see the merging of Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird’s art style with that of Dave Sim and Gerhard. It all meshes really nicely and it looks and feels natural. I especially loved the different styles of lettering sharing the same panels.

For real comic book collectors that have an affinity for either of these franchises, this is definitely something you should have in your comic book library. Plus, it’s aged rather well and is still a very worthwhile read.

Rating: 8.25/10
Pairs well with: old school black and white Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Dave Sim’s Cerebus and other Turtles and Cerebus crossovers.

Comic Review: Injustice vs. Masters of the Universe

Published: July 18th, 2018 – January 2nd, 2019
Written by: Tim Seeley
Art by: Freddie E. Williams II, Jeremy Colwell
Based on: Masters of the Universe by Mattel, Injustice by NetherRealm Studios

DC Comics, 153 Pages

Review:

I haven’t played the Injustice video games or read the comic books. I get the gist of it though, so being a long-time fan of Masters of the Universe, I thought that the idea of seeing He-Man and his world mix it up with the DC Comics universe was a cool idea.

However, I did have to go into this with some skepticism, as most comic book crossovers of unrelated intellectual properties usually don’t leave us with great results.

This one was pretty good though. I can’t say that it was completely compelling but the story did a good job of wedging in a lot of characters while managing multiple plot threads. This had many layers to it and all of them kept me engaged.

I think the thing that I liked most about this was the art. It just felt perfect for a Masters of the Universe story, as it reminded me of the art of the old comics they used to package with the toys. It just drummed up nostalgia on a pretty high level and it was very effective.

This lasted for six issues but I feel like it could have been better if it was a bit longer. While it works well in the space it was given, I felt like some confrontations were rushed through and some of the action suffered a bit. There were just some cool ideas here that could have been explored just a little bit more than they were but I don’t want to spoil the story details for those who want to read this.

Overall, this was pretty damn good. Tim Seeley told a fun story within two very different worlds that I love and the art was perfect for what this project was trying to convey.

Rating: 7.75/10
Pairs well with: other Masters of the Universe crossovers and the Injustice comics, as well as regular Justice League stories.

Comic Review: M.A.S.K.: Mobile Armored Strike Kommand, Vol. 1: Mobilize

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

Review:

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. JoeTransformersROMMicronauts 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.

Rating: 5.75/10
Pairs well with: other M.A.S.K. comics, as well as comics for other Hasbro properties like G.I. Joe and Transformers.

Comic Review: Mars Attacks the Real Ghostbusters

Published: January 16, 2013
Written by: Erik Burnham
Art by: Ray Dillon, Jose Holder
Based on: Mars Attacks! by Topps, Ghostbusters by Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis

IDW Publishing, 24 Pages

Review:

This was too short. It would have been much better had it, at the very least, been stretched out to the size of an annual or a double issue. 24 pages just wasn’t enough space to let this breathe.

Still, it was a hell of a fun read and imaginative.

This ties the Mars Attacks aliens with the famous Orson Welles War of the Worlds broadcast. Those aliens crash and die. Years later, the Ghostbusters are called in because the Martians are back. But they’re not just back, they’re Martian ghosts! Seriously, how cool is that?

Anyway, this is also The Real Ghostbusters, which are based on the original Ghostbusters film but went on to have their own rich and exciting mythos, sort of evolving into their own separate thing. I loved The Real Ghostbusters when I was a kid and this just reminded me of how strong that love was. Frankly, this made me want to go back and revisit the cartoon.

Not a lot happens here though and that goes back to my comment about this being too short. Aliens crash, fast-forward several decades, the Ghostbusters arrive to fight ghost aliens, ghost aliens try to escape, their ship explodes, Venkman wants to get paid.

This was an amusing peek into both franchises in comic book form but man, it just made me want more.

Maybe I’ll pick up some of IDW’s The Real Ghostbusters comics. I already have some other Mars Attacks books I can read through.

Rating: 7.25/10
Pairs well with: Other IDW collections for Ghostbusters, The Real Ghostbusters and Mars Attacks!

Comic Review: Star Trek/Planet of the Apes: The Primate Directive

Published: September 9th, 2015
Written by: David Tipton, Scott Tipton
Art by: Rachael Stott
Based on: Planet of the Apes by Pierre Boulle, Star Trek by Gene Roddenberry

IDW Publishing, BOOM! Studios, 133 Pages

Review:

I read this right after coming off of the crossover between Planet of the Apes and Green Lantern. While I did enjoy this, I didn’t have the same level of fun and excitement that I felt while reading the other tale.

Still, this pits two of my favorite franchises against one another and seeing Charlton Heston duke it out on the Enterprise with James T. Kirk is just absolutely f’n badass no matter what their reasoning.

I guess my biggest problem with this was how talkie it was. I get that it is a crossover with Star Trek of the ’60s and it wanted to emulate the spirit of that show but what works for one medium doesn’t always work for another. This should have been more action heavy and when comparing it to the Planet of the Apes and Green Lantern crossover, the action was minimal.

Still, this was a well crafted story, the plot made sense, even if most of these crossovers have the same sort of premise, which involves a portal being open for nefarious means to see two universes collide.

The story also features classic Klingons, which I liked but they didn’t even feel necessary to the story other being used for the setup and to have a reason for a starship battle at the end. I think it would’ve been more interesting to see Kirk and crew marooned on the ape planet, having to fight in a more primitive way like Charlton Heston did in the original film.

If you like both franchises though, this is a decent read.

Rating: 7/10
Pairs well with: Other similar crossovers: Planet of the Apes/Green LanternPlanet of the Apes/Kong, as well as Star Trek/Green Lantern I and II.

Comic Review: Danger Girl/G.I. Joe

Published: March 6th, 2013
Written by: Andy Hartnell
Art by: J. Scott Campbell, John Royle
Based on: G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero by Hasbro, Danger Girl by J. Scott Campbell, Andy Hartnel

IDW Publishing, 120 Pages

Review:

If you have been following this site for awhile, it’s no secret that I’m a big G.I. Joe fan. However, I’ve never read a Danger Girl comic, even though I’ve liked J. Scott Campbell’s work for awhile and the series does look interesting and something that would be my cup of tea. So I figured that my introduction to the series could come through this crossover.

Anyway, being introduced to Danger Girl has made me want to delve deeper and read some of the original comics that came out in the late ’90s.

This crossover was entertaining and most importantly, a lot of fun.

I liked that this found a way to wedge a lot of great G.I. Joe stuff into a five issue comic book arc while leaving enough room for the Danger Girl characters to be featured as well.

You had most of the core old school G.I. Joe characters in this, as well as just about every officer from Cobra minus Scrap Iron. On the Cobra side you got Cobra Commander, Destro, the Baroness, Major Bludd, Zartan, Zarana, Firefly and Storm Shadow: basically, all the officers or key members from the first season of the cartoon – plus Zarana, who came in at the second season.

I haven’t read any Danger Girl, so I can’t say whether or not this crossover does that universe justice but it handled the G.I. Joe stuff really well.

Overall, a good, fun and quick read with a lot of action and characters you love.

Rating: 7.25/10
Pairs well with: Earlier IDW G.I. Joe stuff and Danger Girl.