10.26.2016

Prelude To 'M.A.S.K.': A Deeper Look At The Origin And Plot Details Of The New IDW Comic Book Series

We are officially less than one month away from the launch of the new IDW M.A.S.K. comic book series! In a post to the AOM Facebook page yesterday, writer Brandon Easton confirmed that Wednesday Nov 23 will be the release date for issue #1. The book will be IDW's "Gem of the Month" and feature three subscription variant covers to go with the main cover by Tommy Lee Edwards.

If you've read or listened to our reviews on this site and MASKast, you know that I've been very pleased with what we've seen in Revolution and M.A.S.K. Revolution #1 overall. My only real complaint (if you want to even call it that) was that I want more details! I understand how difficult it must be to cram an origin story into 20+ pages as well as maintain involvement in a huge crossover event at the same time. But despite that, Easton along with artist Tony Vargas have really peaked my interest in this new standalone series.

Thanks to previews and a recent bio blast in Revolution #3, several details have already been revealed about the origin and plots for the upcoming comic series. After reading the material, I thought I'd formulate somewhat of a prelude by examining the recent information on a deeper level. Details about Matt Trakker's background before M.A.S.K., his parents, and abilities are all included in the bio blast. Plots for the first 3 issues of M.A.S.K. have also been released which describe the path both factions will take. I'm hoping it will give me (and you) a chance to somewhat "hit the ground running" when M.A.S.K. #1 is finally on shelves.

If you haven't read Revolution or the M.A.S.K. one-shot, I'd recommend doing that first before diving in below. Some of this information may contain mild spoilers, but I won't be going too deep inside the books already released. This prelude is more of a projection of what we have to look forward to next month and beyond. Let's first take a look at Matt and Mayhem's bios:

(Click to enlarge)
         
This is great information leading into the new series. We know Matt is a NY native who's father Cornelius worked for the government, developing cybernetic technology (communication and automatic control systems between man and machine) in the Cybertronian War. This is the precursor for M.A.S.K.'s vehicles and mask technology. To me, this make so much sense in a modern age and for a property with elements of G.I. Joe and Transformers. M.A.S.K. didn't stem from an ancient crystal or some kind of magic, just good old fashion human ingenuity and invention.

It's also revealed that when Matt was a boy, he constructed "droids" to assist his mom at home while his dad was away. That's a total homage to Scott Trakker and T-Bob from the classic TV series. With that as Matt's background it make sense that he is into gadgets and later, modifying cars for street racing. We've known Matt's father was mysteriously murdered for quite awhile now (even before M.A.S.K. Revolution #1 was published thanks to interviews with Easton) and turning from family and structure also seems logical for a young adult coping with a parent's death.

Matt's "Robin Hood twist" for using his engineering skills to help international communities might be my least favorite part of his background. I immediately likened this to Bruce Wayne in Batman Begins, running from his parents death and not wanting to assume his responsibilities back home. The role of a vigilante sounds much more heroic though than fixing a city's infrastructure. That would also make Mayhem the Ra's al Ghul figure from Batman Begins who initially befriends and helps Bruce but then ultimately turns on him in the end. But whether this is a similar take or not, wouldn't the tragic death of a parent be enough to value human life? Why take it a step beyond protecting people to trying to fix their lives? Maybe that's another part of Matt's psyche that's yet to be revealed.

Mayhem is as ruthless as ever and I highly suspect, he is responsible for Cornelius Trakker's death and perhaps stealing his breakthrough technology. Being classified as a "brutal dictator" and having "disregard for human suffering" which V.E.N.O.M. agents even recognize really characterizes a true villain. His new background as a member of the Adventure Team gives him the experience and "know how" to really develop the vehicles.

As far as the new M.A.S.K. technology, I really loved the thought of how the masks and vehicles can work together as a super weapon. In the classic TV series, powers were separate but now Matt can redirect Spectrum's energy to fire from Thunder Hawk's headlights? Awesome! I'm really hoping that unique capability is carried over to every agent and vehicle in the new series.

Now lets take a look what we can pull out from the plots for the first 3 issues:

  • Issue #1: Launching from the events of REVOLUTION! The M.A.S.K. team streaks into a dangerous, unstable landscape of dark wars, high intrigue and non-stop action where they'll encounter the nearly unstoppable threat of Miles Mayhem and his black ops squadron known as V.E.N.O.M. How will an untested Matt Trakker lead M.A.S.K. through a complex new world order where nothing is what it seems? Join writer Brandon Easton (Marvel's Agent Carter), artist Tony Vargas (Rot and Ruin) and cover artist Tommy Lee Edwards for an exciting 21st century spin on the classic series where "illusion is the ultimate weapon!"

  • Issue #2: M.A.S.K. vs. V.E.N.O.M. for the very first time! After being lured into a trap, Matt Trakker and the M.A.S.K. team must survive in order to stop Miles Mayhem from leaking their secret technology to terrorist cells around the world. Matt and Gloria Baker go undercover to infiltrate a black market weapons ring but what they discover will change Matt's life forever!

  • Issue #3: As Matt Trakker struggles with the devastating bombshell about his true parentage, Miles Mayhem tightens his grip on the M.A.S.K. team, revealing he's slowly poisoned their bloodstream with Ore-13 radiation! With Trakker's team either captured or injured, is it too late for M.A.S.K. to stop V.E.N.O.M.'s nefarious operation?

The summary for issue #1 is really a synopsis for the entire series. I like the highly dramatic edge that's described and even though it doesn't really give away anything that inside issue #1, I can see classic fans and new fans being drawn in.

Issue #2 is where we'll see the first M.A.S.K. vs V.E.N.O.M. battle. I'm hoping it will take place near the end of issue #2 and allow for more origin story. I'm also curious to see if M.A.S.K. will retain Boulder Hill (or at the least the headquarters shown in the one-shot book.) The big question is why would Mayhem sell the tech that he himself worked to develop? Maybe I'm over-analyzing but hoping for real motivation behind that first time Mayhem tries to destroy the M.A.S.K. team.

In Issue #3 we already see that Matt's new bio is even incomplete with a reveal about his heritage. I'm going to speculate on that line about Matt's mother reaching out to "family friend" Mayhem. Could it be Matt is adopted and Mayhem hand-picked him from a war zone to be raised in the Trakker family? Does Matt truly have some international genes?

I also like that Mayhem seems to already have a backup plan (Ore-13 radiation) in case M.A.S.K. wins that initial battle. The hint that some of the M.A.S.K. team is injured could be a carry over from that epic first clash. Interesting that Mayhem would capture M.A.S.K. agents. Wouldn't the new Mayhem just kill them or is it a ploy to draw Matt out?


I hope this little prelude has helped to peak your interest in the M.A.S.K. comic series. Leave a comment with your thoughts or any unique details that I might have missed. Also tell me your thoughts of the new M.A.S.K. team and integration with Revolution so far.

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