6 months ago, IDW made the announcement that M.A.S.K. was returning in comic book form. We hit the MASKast airwaves to chat about the possibilities and this exciting step forward to resurrect our beloved '80s franchise from the depths of obscurity. About 3 months ago, we were surprised with the announcement that M.A.S.K. would also join the new Revolution series. This was also great news for M.A.S.K. fans.
Soon after, we learned that writer Brandon Easton and artists Tony Vargas and Tommy Lee Edwards would first bring M.A.S.K. back in a one-shot origin story comic for Revolution. That story was finally revealed this week with M.A.S.K. Revolution #1 and now sets up M.A.S.K.'s involvement in the Revolution story and its own separate series beginning this November.
Wyatt and Jason both visited local comic shops on Wednesday to snag physical copies of the new book. (Our pal Erik from Boulder-Hill.Net even got to meet Brandon Easton and get his books autographed!) While we hope to have an extended discussion in the near future on MASKast with some of our fellow superfans, we both wanted to give you our personal reviews and thoughts of the new book.
(WARNING: There will be a few SPOILERS so we recommend you come back after you've picked up your own copy.)
When the news broke about M.A.S.K. Revolution #1, I was ecstatic and, as many of our MASKast listeners can attest, I am not the avid comic book collector. Nonetheless, being that M.A.S.K. has been a very dormant product line, I was very excited to make my way to the comic store to pick up at least six copies...at least that was my goal. As you can see in the photo above, I bought the shop out of their three remaining copies.
Upon the close of another busy day with my family and errands, I am finally able to discuss my impressions of this comic. The flashback illustrating how the team is constructed is very intense as we learn that Miles' thoughts are that people are expendable. Matt's grateful yet insecure character threw me off at first as we all are aware, the Matt Trakker we know is the fearless leader. Another interesting part of the comic are the stat cards which seem more like a "call-up", yet they fill the reader in with the exact information we need to know about their names and specialties.
Progressing through, the testing of the vehicles seemed short to me. This may be due to a maximum page count or to quickly move the story along, yet I was honestly taken aback with how Gator's transformation was more of a funny car rather than the overpowered bass boat we've grown accustomed to.
The connection of the masks to their wearer is very well thought out. Instead of being built specialized, they form a unique power based off of their owner...although, like Jason, I was a bit stunned that they changed the Hocus Pocus mask's name. Perhaps this was due to making it more adult oriented.
Finally, the intensity of this storyline is incredible. Throughout the few pages, I am quite intrigued and like Jason states below...I want more M.A.S.K.! The artwork is fantastic and the respectful salute to a few select M.A.S.K. vehicles was a welcomed and grateful reward. Much like my good friend, I do see a nod to the Transformers as Miles mentions that their new threats are Cybertronian. If you remember the original Transformers The Movie, Rodimus Prime's speech states "...let this be the end of the Cybertronian Wars." It begs the question, is Miles warring with the Autobots, Decepticons, both, or is this the actual universe that is being constructed behind closed doors. November cannot get here quick enough.
I had preordered the book and 2 variant covers online a couple weeks ago, but when I learned they wouldn't be showing up on Wednesday, I couldn't keep away from my local comic shops. The first shop had two copies on the shelf (regular cover and one variant cover) and I bought them both. I snapped a picture with my phone (headline image) and I'm sure I got some strange looks from the other customers. No matter, I checked out and went literally across the street to see if a second shop had the book. They had about a half dozen copies on the shelf, all of the regular cover, and I decided to buy another along with several bargain bin books.
After the kids went to bed, I read it through quickly and then went back to several pages to explore. Overall, I was really impressed with the story and never once thought the essence of the original concept of M.A.S.K. was broken. The artistry was very vibrant and the familiar characters mainly retained their personalities. There were even a few elements that reminded me of the screenplay Wyatt and I wrote almost 6 years ago now.
This is a new modernized story so I will admit that it's very strange seeing Miles Mayhem inside the Boulder Hill bunker. The other major change from the original show is seeing Matt Trakker as a vulnerable, second-guessing kid rather than the leader that everyone depended on. But it's also not difficult to see the purpose behind the change. Mayhem is a master manipulator in both this book and the Revolution: Prelude issue, scheming years in advance of these events. Aligning himself with the most ruthless and confident allies and taking advantage of vulnerable characters like the new Matt Trakker could potentially make for a war on a much greater scale than depicted in the classic animated series.
Bringing M.A.S.K. into the modern world also means grating that surface level of cheese that casual fans just wouldn't understand if left from the classic series. That means lifelong M.A.S.K. fans will probably wrinkle their nose at renaming Brad Turner's mask from "Hocus Pocus" to "Eclipse", having Jackhammer without Cliff Dagger, and seeing Gator convert in a different method. But these changes were just nitpicks to me (or "ticks" as we say during episode reviews on MASKast) and although noticeable to hardcore fans, are understandable for this new modern version.
I ended the book wanting more...more M.A.S.K. story rather than what will happen next within the Revolution story. I want to know more about Matt and Mayhem's history. I want to know the background of all the agents. I'm sure we will get that in November which isn't far away, but I still can't wait! I'm still curious about M.A.S.K. involvement in Revolution but I feel this one-shot comic accomplished what I had hoped it would...get me invested in the new M.A.S.K. world.
Tell us your take! Do you like the new version of the team? Leave a comment below with your thoughts on M.A.S.K. Revolution #1 and we'll read them back in our upcoming MASKast review...
M.A.S.K. Revolution #1 Reviews Reviewed by Jason Gross on 11:55:00 AM Rating: