Monday, 31 October 2016

IDW's Revolution #3 - a M.A.S.K. Comics Review

My order for Revolution #3 arrived from forbiddenplanet.com and I was immediately left with a bad taste in my mouth.  Two copies with Rom on the cover - this would be good, if I were the slightest bit interested in ROM.



The only things I can tell you about ROM are -
  1. He was a character available as part of Palitoy's Action Man Space Ranger series of toys - so has something in common with one of the other properties.
  2. James Gunn has mentioned him as being part of Marvel's Universe of comics from the 80's and that he want's him in Guardians of the Galaxy.  This would make more sense than him being as part of the M.A.S.K. universe.
Why I was annoyed, is mainly due to the fact this isn't the cover that I'd ordered.  Online, I'm looking at the images and trying to figure out if any have M.A.S.K. characters or vehicles on them and those are the ones that I'm buying.  I clearly remember clicking on the one with Matt Trakker and some other characters in toy packaging.

Going back onto their website and viewing my order, it's showing that I've ordered this hideous ROM cover.

I then had doubts and thought that maybe I'd made a mistake.  That was until I heard Jason Gross from Agents of M.A.S.K. comment that the same had happened to him and since then, others have also reported a similar problem - mainly with online orders.

The problem is then worsened by the fact I can't find any stock of the M.A.S.K. versions.  I was in the Forbidden Planet shop in Glasgow on 23/10 (no relation to the website, forbiddenplanet.com where I'd ordered my comics from).  They had loads of issues of number 1 and number 2 in stock - but I struggled to find any issue number 3's.

I asked a member of staff and was advised that there had been a production problem caused by IDW.  A problem, or is it not quite as popular as IDW thought it was going to be?

I'm afraid, if this is true, that IDW aren't showing any respect to their customers nor the Hasbro properties that they have licensed.  They have changed M.A.S.K. beyond recognition, they have made mistakes in relation to characters and now they can't, if this is true, even get the correct comics out!

Very disrespectful.

Either that or they have taken on board my comments that producing covers with no connection or relation to the comic inside are potentially unethical!  I'd be interested to find out if anyone actually has any of the M.A.S.K. covers.  Please let me know the comments or over my M.A.S.K. Comics Facebook Page.

Again, like last week, in the Roll Call we have a picture of Gloria Baker tagged as Vanessa Warfield.

Getting into the comic, there really isn't much to mention in the way of M.A.S.K. in the story as they only feature in a couple of pages - Matt is whinging to Miles about the treatment of Kup and a scene with Sly and Vanessa speaking with Kup.

Wow!  How exciting!

The rest of the story feels disjointed - as if it's just glued together to force a story to interconnect all of the various properties.

I'm not familiar with Micronauts, but there is one question I'd like to ask - they come from a "Microverse" and are known as "Micronauts" but when they come to Earth seem taken aback at how large everything is.

Do they not know the dictionary definition of "Micro"?  If they don't know that they are small or have any reference point to their size, why is the word "Micro" in their name?

Anyway, that's all really irrelevant!  Although I'm not interested in the Micronauts, I think they were actually the highlight of this issue.  The Characters seemed quite good.

At the back of the comic there are some character profiles - a couple are from M.A.S.K.

First up is Miles Mayhem or Miles "Mayhem" Manheim per his "real" name.  According to his bio - he has no known relatives.  So, does this mean that Maximus Mayhem won't be making an appearance?

But then, if he did, he would be called Maximus Manheim and I doubt very much they would both be given the same "code-name" of Mayhem.  Max Mayhem is a FAR better name!

Within this bio, we see that this version of Mayhem is just really a G. I. Joe style character.  Which is a shame.  IDW could've come up with something far more original and inspired.

No disrespect to G.I. Joe, but I'd prefer M.A.S.K. to be completely separate from this universe - but then, I'd prefer all of the properties to be separate from each other as they are great as they are.

It also mentions that he is "Former Leader of M.A.S.K." which doesn't make any sense, as for the moment he IS the leader of M.A.S.K.  I think IDW are a bit premature in this bio and will also ruin the M.A.S.K./V.E.N.O.M. story line surprise for new readers of this comic series before V.E.N.O.M. has even been formed.  

Again, little respect for the property.

Hasbro have already bastardised M.A.S.K. twice - the first time with Vor-Tech.  This isn't something I'm overly familiar with, but on the Wiki Page for Vor-Tech, it states -

"In their battle with the Bio Mechs, VOR-tech agents use special computer systems with VOR-technology that imbue them and their vehicles with special powers."

In Mayhem's Bio, it talks about technopathy that allows the characters to interface with technology.  Sounds like they are incorporating parts of Vor-Tech into M.A.S.K.  Which kind of begs the question, why not just have Vor-Tech as part of this Revolution series instead?  That way, M.A.S.K. could've had it's own independent comic that has no relation to any of the properties.

It also states the this technopathy is restricted to the first mask that the user bonds with.  So does this mean one of two things -
  1. That each character will only ever have one Mask?
  2. That characters CAN have more than one Mask but the technopathy is different allowing for the various features that each individual mask has from the original M.A.S.K.?
If the answer is number 1., that's going to create a very boring premise.  The characters will only ever be seen in one Mask with one set of fatigues and won't allow them to develop further.  That's a shame.

It would mean, however, potential new agents wearing Masks that others may have worn?

The next issue is Switchblade.  It's described as an Apache Style Helicopter.  The original premise of M.A.S.K. is that the vehicles have an alternate mode that allowed them to go undetected - to hide in the civilian world.  An Apache helicopter fitted with weapons isn't exactly NOT going draw any attention to itself?

From what we've learned about the new "younger" M.A.S.K. team, they are like the other bastard child of M.A.S.K. - A.T.O.M. or Action Man  A.T.O.M. in some countries.   A.T.O.M. is an acronym for Alpha Teens On Machines.

It would appear that M.A.S.K. is coming full circle - Vor-Tech and A.T.O.M. are based on M.A.S.K. and now M.A.S.K. is a mixture of all three - with Cybertronian style tech with a leader who has links to G. I. Joe.....  How convoluted!

For the Matt Trakker Bio, we have mention of his Father and Mother.  His father is no longer the Andrew Trakker from the Cartoon series and there is no mention of his Brother - Andy in the preview comics or Joe from the UK Comics.

There is mention of Matt being a genius by the age of 10 and building Robots.  As you will know, there is no Scott Trakker in this series.  So they have melded Scott into a 10 year old Matt.  This is one of these pieces of information that Brandon Easton has put in as he thinks it's a clever nod to the original - #epicfail.

We then have the usual generic backstory for Matt - his father dies, he goes off the rails, blah, blah, blah......  How many times have we heard this story time and again?

Brandon is even afraid to use the term Masks - without calling them helmets first.  If it's called M.A.S.K., then just call it a Mask - simple.  

What do I expect to see in future issues?

From what I've seen so far in the comics and something else I've seen recently, I'm going to predict the following.

In the M.A.S.K.: Revolution #1, artist Tony Vargas took time to draw the original M.A.S.K. vehicles as we remember them.  Then, on the last page, the new vehicles didn't have much detail to them and where difficult to make out.

In the last issue of Revolution, we see these over the top recreations of our beloved M.A.S.K. vehicles that look awful.

So, why did Vargas spend so much time on the original vehicles for a single page?

A Revolution is a full circle, and i think he comic will come full circle and when the split between M.A.S.K. and V.E.N.O.M. occurs, I think Matt and his band of "rebels" will end up stealing the older M.A.S.K. vehicles that Vargas carefully drew in the one shot comic.  This may also explain why the covers are of the original M.A.S.K. vehicles - so as not to confuse us older generation - so we know it's M.A.S.K.!

My second prediction, is that we discover that Matt Trakker may, after all, not be Matt Trakker.  Sounds strange, but here me out on this..

I recently posted this over at my M.A.S.K. Comics Facebook Page  with #SaveMattTrakker


Like many other fans, I'm not keen on the change to Matt Trakker.  Two reasons for this.

  1. We already have a strong African American character in the form of Hondo MacLean.  Why not make the story centre around him if we want a diverse comic?
  2. Matt has gone from being a rich white guy to an African American who gets into trouble at a young age - the usual stereotype and in this climate of #blacklivesmatter, I find it disrespectful.
Anyway, after I made my post, there was a comment made by Tony Vargas - 


"That is definitely Matt Trakker:)"

At first I didn't read too much into his comment.  He may have been a fan of the original M.A.S.K. and just agreeing that this was Matt Trakker - but maybe not the new Matt Trakker. 

That was until I saw a post from Agents of M.A.S.K..

Jason was giving a prelude to the first three issues of M.A.S.K. and the comments on Issue 3 caught my eye and send my head into a spin -

I have speculated in my head that IDW may bring in a story line that Matt Trakker may actually be Hondo.  Perhaps IDW wanted to create a stir in the M.A.S.K. community - negative feedback about the change to Matt's ethnicity has certainly done that.  Gets chatter and discussion going back and forth - generates free advertising.

If "Matt's" parentage is in question, is he really a Trakker?  Or, was a young Hondo adopted by the "Trakker's"?

If this is the case, will he start using the name Hondo?  More importantly, is there another Matt Trakker?  According to Tony Vargas re the image I posted on Facebook - "That is definitely Matt Trakker:)"!

Feel free to discuss and speculate more below in the comments section and over at  M.A.S.K. Comics Facebook Page .  I'd also suggest to you visit Tony Vargas' Facebook Page.

#assembleMASK #MASKComics #MASKcrusade #DIC #Hasbro


Monday, 17 October 2016

IDW's Revolution #2 - a M.A.S.K. Comics Review

After an initial good service in regards to my purchase of the IDW comics - there now seems to be a delay in the comics arriving.  I have eventually received Issue #2 of IDW's Revolution comic at the tail end of last week - issue 3 arrived today.

I'm not going to read issue 3 until I've done this review as I don't want it to influence my thoughts.

I also have some personal challenges in the way of my reviews at the present time.  We are refurbishing our home and have had to move out for approx 4-5 weeks, we are already one week into the upheaval with the work starting on our house today.  This is presenting some time restrictions with access to my laptop to review the comics - so I may be a bit behind everyone else.

What this does do, however, is allow me to consider and digest the comic and give a more balanced opinion.  Had I been in a position to have written a review straight away, I feel it would've been more of a knee-jerk reaction and I may have come across as being a bit of dick in relation to my comments.

Again, I have ordered some of the various covers to include the M.A.S.K. characters as that's really all I'm interested in.  The covers that I purchased, are their normal fantastic standard.

The Regular Issue cover has three transformers - Soundwave, Optimus Prime and Kup, standing behind our M.A.S.K. team.

Buddie Hawks wearing Penetrator, Gloria Baker with Aura, Brad Turner with Hocus Pocus, Bruce Sato with Lifter and Matt Trakker with his Spectrum Mask and Flight Suit.  Vehicles - we have Condor, Gator, Thunder Hawk, Rhino and Hurricane.

This is an awesome cover and truly captures the characters and vehicles very well.

I also have Subscription Variant B.  This has all manor of mix of characters on a wraparound cover - I'm not even going to guess as to who they all are as I don't have a clue, nor do I really care.  All I'm interested in is Julio Lopez on the back cover.

This cover fits in with a similar cover from issue one with all the characters cheerily running or flying from left to right.  Again, this is drawn very well and looks great.

As with my previous posts on these IDW comics, there is always a problem with them.  The first problem being that these are the 80's versions of the characters - the real versions of the characters.  To lure you into buying this comic - then once inside you have to suffer the modern versions of these characters.

The second issue is that some of these characters and vehicles don't even appear in this comic.

The company I work for prides itself on it's founding values - including "honesty and integrity" - Business Ethics are at the core of those values.  The question I'd like to ask my readers and IDW is - 

Is it dishonest and unethical to continually sell comics where the covers aren't representative of the comic inside?

I'd like to hear your own views and opinions below in the comments section and over at my M.A.S.K. Comics Facebook Page.

Once inside the comic, we have a roll call of some of the characters who are going to appear in this comic, I skip past all of the G.I Joe, Transformers and Rom characters - as I'm not really interested.

Then I get to M.A.S.K. and that's when it starts to fall to pieces.  Their are 5 characters shown - Miles Mayhem (thought his name was now Miles Manheim?), Matt Trakker, Vanessa Warfield, Bruno Sheppard and Brad Turner.

Except, two of the characters are wrong.  The postage size pictures are taken from the comic itself and the image of Vanessa is actually Gloria Baker and the image of Bruno is actually Sly Rax.

Seriously?  We're going to take a great product, bastardize it and now can't even get it right?  Come on IDW, what kind of amateurs are you?

I'm thinking that you need an expert to read your comics before you print them to fix your mistakes for you.  Please feel free to e-mail over your comic in advance to w_scott_crawford@hotmail.com and I'll review each copy for you so you don't make even more mistakes.

Getting into the comic proper - it is well drawn and coloured - and I wouldn't take anything away from the comic in that respect. There is an issue with the designs - but I'll come to that later on.

The comic itself is very modular -

  • G. I. Joe versus Transformers
  • Transformers versus ROM
  • G. I. Joe & M.A.S.K.
  • M.A.S.K. versus Transformers
  • Some robot looking guy - haven't got a clue who he is
And this highlights the issues of having this mixed universe.  There are far too many characters in each property to fit in a comic of their own, let alone mixing them up with other properties.

We only see a maximum of two properties at a time in this issue - last issue, ROM made a brief appearance in the midst of a G. I. Joe versus Transformers battle.  Is there actually enough room in such a small comic for all of these properties to fit?  I think not.

For the M.A.S.K. section of the comic - which is what I'm interested in - we have Miles Mayhem introducing Scarlett from G.I. Joe to the team.  The revolution comics are all meant to piece together in one seamless universe.  However, at the end of the M.A.S.K. Revolution comic, Scarlett had already been introduced to the team, and this just confuses the comics as the introductions are different.

We are told by Miles that the M.A.S.K. vehicles emulate Cybertronian Strategies - ruining M.A.S.K. ethos yet again by diluting it into the Transformers universe.

The next issue we have is over code/mask names.  In the M.A.S.K. Revolution comic, we had the term Project Spectrum and at the end of the comic, Matt was introduced as code name Spectrum.

In this Comic, Matt addresses the team by the code name Spectrum but later Mayhem tells him to use Spectrum (Mask).  So, it would appear that the code name of the character is the Mask name and vice versa?

How confusing!  How sad!

At least the ability of Spectrum fits in with the original toy - so they managed to get one thing right!

There were many concerns over the re-imagining of M.A.S.K.  Many people wanted the original 80's M.A.S.K.  Others wanted a modern 2016 M.A.S.K.  Instead, what we have is a futuristic 2085 vision of M.A.S.K. vehicles based on Transformers?!?  Awful.

The vehicles are vile, grotesque, and just guns & wings.  Manta, as an example, has wings everywhere - just overkill.

Shark has guns on top of guns.  If you are a redneck, Donald Trump supporter you will love this new M.A.S.K.  If you are an intelligent person, you will loathe it.

Then we come to Vanessa's Mask/Code Name - "Ice Queen".  Wow!  Who the hell came up with that?

Ice Queen?  Instead of going back to 1985, we've gone all the way back to the 70's and given Vanessa a Porn Name.

I criticised the last issue of Revolution for not having any M.A.S.K. in it - and unfortunately, in this issue it's ruined because of M.A.S.K. - Mobile Armored Strike Kommand.

For that, I'd like to apologise to fans of Transformers, G. I. Joe and ROM who purchased this comic. However, this isn't the real M.A.S.K.  This is just a poor bastardised version of what M.A.S.K. used to be.

I'm afraid that neither Hasbro nor IDW have the history of M.A.S.K. nor the rights to make it as it once was - so they have chosen to ruin it.

Sad, very sad.

#assembleMASK #MASKComics #Hasbro
#MASKcrusade #DIC


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 forbiddenplanet.com.  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!  

Monday, 3 October 2016

IDW's Revolution #1 - a M.A.S.K. Comics Review

The 1st installment of IDW's much talked about Revolution Comic is now available to buy.  There has been a long "Road to Revolution" and it's finally here.

It has been a long time since I collected comics - a few decades have passed since M.A.S.K. and the handful of of Eagle and M.A.S.K. Comics.  As this new comic is a US publication and not British, I knew it would be a challenge to even buy.  I couldn't simply walk into any newsagent and pick it up off the shelf.

Therein lies, one of my challenges.  I reached out to my friend Mark Hall from M.A.S.K. Eire to seek his professional advice.  He gave me some contacts in the local area - when you live in a small village, local area covers a bit of a distance.

There is a comic store in Falkirk that he suggested - so I gave them a call.  A good price, but would mean a 50 mile round trip for each issue (plus parking charges).  A closer store is located in Stirling - a few miles from where I work.  A bit dearer and would still incur parking charges to purchase.

In the end, I decided to go with forbiddenplanet.com - even with postage costs, it was just slightly dearer than the other options, but without the hassle!

My next issue was working through all of the various cover variations.  I'm only interested in M.A.S.K.  Yes, I love the Transformers and G. I.Joe Movies and had Action Man toys when I was kid - but, I'm not interested in collecting their comics.

So, I had to filter out covers that feature M.A.S.K. related characters/vehicles/Masks/etc.  Quite a challenge as many of the cover art I couldn't find.  So I ordered a couple of variants - plus a spare copy for my son to have a collection of his own.

As I'd ordered online, there was a bit of a delay in receiving the comics, which arrived on 24/09/2016.  I waited until my son was going to bed and chose to wait until then to open up the package.

I was quite impressed -  forbiddenplanet.com had used strong packaging that kept the comics in pristine condition.  Each comic was in it's own clear sleeve with a piece of cardboard.  I'm not sure if this is how the comic comes from IDW, or this is just the care and attention that forbiddenplanet.com provide their customers - either way, I liked it.

Normally in my reviews, I'd talk about the cover first - but I think I'll leave that to last this time.

The artwork in the comic is great.  I like the black pages instead of the white pages that I grew up with as a child.  Makes the comic feel more expensive giving it a very good quality which I have to admire.

Much of the story line is set in an outside environment and it's raining.  The way that the artist has captured the characters in the rain is very atmospheric and is one of the best things about the artwork.

Unfortunately, the actual story line let the comic down.  It's very much a story of The Transformers versus G. I. Joe with a small cameo from Action Man and Rom.

Anyone who knows me, will know that I have my reservations about the mixed Multiverse route that Hasbro and IDW are imposing on us.  Following on the footsteps of Marvel's success with the Avengers and standalone movies.

When it comes to Marvel's Avengers, they are an ensemble of some of the greatest superheroes in the comic universe and now in the Movie universe.  Bringing them together as a team.

However, in The Transformers, we already have a team of Autobots versus Decepticons.  We already have the teams of G.I. Joe Versus Cobra.  And, best of all, we already have M.A.S.K. versus V.E.N.O.M.

By bringing all of these things together is just a jumble of teams that could easily trip over each other.  I mean, how are humans going to stand up to Transformers or Rom?

Hasbro/IDW should've kept them all separate entities or created two universes - one for the Aliens (Transformers, Rom, Micronauts) and one for the Humans (M.A.S.K., G. I. Joe, Action Man).  The Human elements are believable.  Their vehicles are believable.  Their equipment is believable.

From a storytelling point of view, some of the issues that I foresaw with Revolution have come true.  The main issue being - no M.A.S.K.

There are too many elements that not every character or vehicle, etc. could be in the same story line.  Trying to shoehorn all the various Franchise's into a 5 part comic, was always going to be a challenge.

In reality, Action Man only has a small cameo in the first few pages.  This role could easily have been filled by one of the many G. I. Joe characters and their would've been no need for him to be there.

The G. I. Joe team jump to a ridiculous unfounded conclusion that The Transformers are up to no good and attack them as they are carrying out humanitarian aid.

If I were a G. I. fan - I'd be annoyed that my favourite characters are being portrayed as dicks.

If I were a Transformers Fan - I'd be annoyed that my favourite characters are being portrayed as the criminals of the story line.

However, as much as I like Transformers and G. I. Joe, I'm only interested in the movies now - their comics, toys, etc. do nothing for me.

What I am; is a M.A.S.K. fan through and through.  I'm annoyed that they do not feature in this comic.  However, I wasn't surprised by that revelation.  As I said above, there are too many characters trying to be crammed into this 5 part comic - and that was/is going to be one of the biggest issues.

So why the covers?

As I mentioned, I researched hard to find out which issues I needed to buy for the M.A.S.K. characters.  I bought one that has Brad Turner on it and another with Matt Trakker.  Yet, these characters do not appear in this comic.

But it isn't just that.  On one of the covers, we have the original Optimus Prime.  The one from my childhood.  The real Optimus Prime.  This isn't the Optimus Prime that we see inside the comic.  The same for the other characters on this cover.

I mentioned in my last blog post that I was going to have similar gripes with my reviews of these comics.  The gripe that I'm referring to - is the covers.

The cover art itself is great - on both versions of the comic that I purchased.  However, it doesn't fit the with the art nor the story inside.

To me, this is wrong.  As I said, I'm buying these comics online - I don't have the luxury of flicking through the comic before I purchase.  I'm buying these comics because they have images of M.A.S.K. Characters on them.  I'm buying these comics because the cover is, falsely, advertising that these characters are in the comic.

If I bought any other item and the box/cover showed something different from what was contained within, wouldn't I have the right to take legal action?

I see these covers as being dishonest and not representative of the comic within.

On top of that, on the inside back cover there is a list of all the variable covers.  Whilst doing my research before I ordered, I only came across about 5 variations.  However, the total number of cover options far exceeded that.

Nineteen!  Yes, Nineteen; 19; XIX.  It doesn't matter which way your write the number, that is a ridiculous number of covers - for just one, not very good, comic.

So, if you are a collector, and many of you are, you will most likely want all 19 variations.  19 issues times $3.99 for each issue is a whopping $75.81!  That's not including the Postage and Packing and any other costs you are going to incur in order to source all of these covers.

In my day, we had one great cover that reflected a brilliant comic within.  Perhaps IDW should've paid more attention to getting the comic right instead of bombarding us with covers that have no relation to the rest of the comic.  

In conclusion - the art was good, but the story was disjointed and not very good with covers not representative of the comic within.

If I were giving this a mark based on being a comic fan - I'd be stretched to give it a 3 out of 5 - most of this is for the artwork.  As a M.A.S.K. fan, I would give it a 0 out of 5 and I'd be tempted to send it back and ask for a full refund.

Awful.  Absolutely, awful.

#assembleMASK #MASKComics #DIC
#MASKcrusade

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Revolution Prelude - a M.A.S.K. Comics Review

The Revolution Prelude comic has been made available on the internet for free from IDW - a nice little to touch to help promote the release of the 5 part Revolution series.  I did read it online and didn't think that I would ever have a copy of the comic in my hands.

Luckily, Jose over at the M.A.S.K.- Peaceful Nations Alliance Facebook Page managed to get his hands on 10 copies of the comic.  He's been running competitions with M.A.S.K. related questions.

Prior to each competition, he posted information about the time and date the competition would start - along with the competition rules.  I sat with his Facebook page open constantly refreshing with F5 to make sure I caught one of his competitions.  The particular competition that night was a blacked out image of a character from the world of M.A.S.K.

It was part guess and part luck.  I could vaguely make out glasses and a moustache - didn't seem to fit with any of the M.A.S.K. or V.E.N.O.M. agents.  Then it struck me - Duane Kennedy - leader of the P.N.A. - seemed fitting for the page!

I think I had my answer in within a minute of Jose posing the question.  I don't think he expected anyone to answer quite that quickly!

Anyway, the comic arrived today.  I know that it's been available online for a while, and I could've reviewed it well before now, but seems more fitting to review now that have a tangible, paper, traditional comic in my hands.

So, I read it to my 6 year old son as part of his Bedtime Story Routine tonight.  Although I'm only on the prelude issue, I think, going from what I've already seen of future comics, that part of my reviews for all the issues may have similar gripes.



Before I do any further, I'm going to be as honest as I can be.  I will have some positives and negatives.  I'm not going to apologise for my frank opinion - and it is just that; an opinion!

First things first, I have mentioned before in previous posts about the size difference between UK and US Comics.  In America, everything seems like they have to be large - cars, food portions, houses, egos, etc.  

However, American Comics are small.  Very Small.  Fit in a ladies handbag kind of small.  Kid size small.  Put it down for two minutes and you can't find it again small.

Ok, I think I've made my point, your comics are small.  However, there is no scrimping on action.  The Artwork in this comic is amazing!  It's vibrant, colourful, explosive and truly draws you in.

Like the UK Comics from the 80's, we have a fantastic wraparound cover and every inch delivers.  Now, imagine if this comic was the size of a UK Comic - how much more impactful the cover would be?

The black banner along the top of the page, with the now familiar Revolution text is crisp, clean, modern and well....  Just looks amazing.

But, we do have a couple of problems.  Although Switchblade on the back cover (not pictured above) resembles every inch the iconic vehicle from the 80's, Thunder Hawk and Rhino on the front cover are somewhat different.

They are more rounded... and more like Caricatures of the originals.  The ramp and missile within Rhino are also opening up from the wrong side - based on the toy of the 80's.

But that isn't the biggest issue with the cover.

In my opinion, the cover of a comic or magazine should have some relevance to the comic within.  Let's say you were buying a TV - if, on the box, it showed a picture of a 55", 4k, 3D, top of the range Smart TV - that is what you would expect to find when you open the box.  If you opened the box and found an outdated, 32" standard definition TV - you would feel completely short changed.

So, why shouldn't a comic cover be any different?  If I have a comic that is tempting me in with images of Switchblade, Rhino and Thunder Hawk, I would be expecting them to be on the inside of the comic as part of the story or at least a vehicle profile - like the old UK Comics.

Instead, the only link to M.A.S.K. within the story, is the character Miles Manheim - known as Miles Mayhem.  With the variation covers I've seem so far for some of the comics - see my Blogpost on the Issue 1 covers as an example - there seem to be some discrepancies in styles of Masks, vehicles, outfits, etc.  I think that we are going to be sold comics with great looking covers that bare no resemblance or connection with the stories within.  That would be a shame.

It would also be a false way of selling comics if that is also the case.

The actual story itself is very basic.  It centres mainly on G.I. Joe characters talking about the history of The Transformers and their impact on Earth - with a little of input from Miles Mayhem.

It is a prelude comic, I understand that.  It has to set things up.  If I were to compare it to the Preview issue of the UK M.A.S.K. Comics, I would say the positive is the great full colour art.  However, lacks in size and story.  But mainly, it lacks M.A.S.K.

I've order the first few issues of Revolution and I believe that the first issue should be with me soon so I'm hoping to review that for you as soon as I can.

Feel free to pop over to my M.A.S.K. Comics Facebook Page, like and share and leave your comments below.


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Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Transformers Trailcutter Versus M.A.S.K.'s Jackhammer

I was doing a search on Google the other day there when I came across this Picture...


It kind of took me by surprise!  At first glance, in small preview, I thought it was some kind of Jackhammer toy that may have been part of some giveaway back in the day.  When I clicked on the picture to enlarge, the Autobot symbol became more noticeable.

I clicked onto the page featuring this image and came across a great blog - Transfromers4Collection and in particular a page all about the Autobot, Trailcutter.  You should pop over for a look - there are great reviews on M.A.S.K. toys and others as well!

In this partially transformed state, there is no denying there is a resemblance to our beloved Jackhammer.


And judging by the fact the picture came up whilst doing a search for M.A.S.K., in particular Outlaw, the search engine Google must also agree with me how much it resembles Jackhammer.

What do you think?  Is this part of Hasbro's great plan to bring M.A.S.K. and Transfromers toys closer together?

Perhaps we'll never know.

Share your comments below or over at the M.A.S.K. Comics Facebook Page.

Thank you,

Scott.

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#MASKcrusade #DIC #Transformers


Monday, 12 September 2016

Sly Rax and Vanessa Warfield on the cover of Action Man?

The boys over at Agents of M.A.S.K. have posted about the new cover of Action Man.  It would appear to depict Sly Rax and Vanessa Warfield.

It is a great image and shows our two V.E.N.O.M. agents fighting alongside Action man and a Transformer.  I'm not even going to guess at which Transformer, my knowledge in that field is lacking these days.

It's well drawn and certainly draws you in.

Despite being a fantastic image, there are two issues that I have with this picture.

The first being that this hints to M.A.S.K. related characters being in this Action Man Comic.  This is where having a share universe gets messy.  We don't even have Revolutions or our standalone M.A.S.K. Comic yet and already we're being drawn in to buy other IDW Comics.

I'm sure that Action Man will be a great comic, but I'm not interested in buying it.  I want M.A.S.K. - plain and simple.

The next issue that I have with this cover is guns.

IDW are missing the point of why M.A.S.K. is called what it is.  Vanessa and Rax (if that definitely is who we're looking at) are wearing their Whip and Stiletto masks.  So, why do they need guns?

Surely, if we are bringing all of these teams together - Transformers, M.A.S.K., G.I. Joe, Action Man, etc. - shouldn't we at least see their unique differences?  Isn't the point that M.A.S.K. have different weapons to G.I. Joe to Transformers to Action Man?

If you are just going to give them guns - just call them Joes.

It may seem like I'm being harsh - but IDW really need to step up their game and bring people what they want - and that is M.A.S.K.

I was in a comic store recently to find out about ordering the new comics.  Not a single comic on the shelves was IDW.  The store owner told me that people aren't as interested in IDW titles as they are Marvel or DC Comics.  In fact, the regulars who order IDW's Transformers comics may not last once the Revolution begins.

IDW - setting M.A.S.K. up to fail before it's started.

M.A.S.K. Comics Facebook Page.

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Saturday, 3 September 2016

IDW M.A.S.K. Issue 1 Covers

Over the past few weeks, we've seen more images of the covers of both Revolutions and M.A.S.K. - Mobile Armored Strike Kommand.  So far, I've seen two M.A.S.K. Issue 1 Covers, whether more have still to be released, I'm not sure, but given the number of Revolution Variations I've seen - it's more than likely.

The first of these covers show our M.A.S.K. team racing into action.


As a 1st issue cover, this is awesome.  Vibrant and Colourful. Great Detail.  Plenty of Motion and Action on the front cover and I would hope that this continues on the inside of the comic.  If you are an original M.A.S.K. fan, like myself, this image, although not 100% Classic M.A.S.K., is easily recognisable as being M.A.S.K. and takes me straight back to my childhood.

As ever with my blog, I'd like to dissect this image further and discuss the individual components - starting with the Masthead.

Clearly, Comics, Magazines and Newspapers have to be easily Identifiable in the newspaper stands or comic book shelves.  The Standard M.A.S.K. Logo creates an issue for publications.

Why?

As M.A.S.K. is now dead, I'll use the one of the new M.A.S.K. - Mobile Armored Strike Kommand Logo's to help explain.



For all intents and purposes, the logo is a square.  It may not look like a square with the sweeping arc around Rhino, the M.A.S.K. text and the now famous mystery Mask not seen anywhere other than in the logo (maybe IDW will write a story where this is the original Mask.....  Just saying!)!  But, it takes up the space of a square.

Back in the day of TV's having an aspect ratio of 4:3 - this had a dramatic impact during the opening titles of the cartoon as everyone remembers the M.A.S.K. logo coming right at you from your screen!

The Challenge with this shape, is that it would either take up half of the cover of a comic or would be that small it wouldn't be seen on the shelves in amongst the other IDW, DC, Marvel, Dark Horse, Archie, Etc. etc. comics available.

Back in the 80's, DC Comics take on the M.A.S.K. logo was to reduce the size of Rhino and the MASK.

By doing so, it made it easier to fit on the cover of the comic.


It was easy to see the title name of the comic and the text remained in the same recognisable Font but the overall, in my opinion, isn't that great.

Yes, you have all of the elements of the original logo - but being out of proportion, ruins the overall effect and brand image of the product.

Over here in the UK, IPC/Fleetway's take on the cover was completely different.


By removing Rhino from the Logo allowed them to keep the proportions the same on the rest of the logo.  In doing so, not only does the Text stand out from the crowd, we can also recognise the Mask picture as well.

One of the advantages of M.A.S.K. is it's short title name - meaning that, even in the crowds of other comics, it's easy to spot those four letters.

I'm glad, therefore, that IDW have made the correct choice and followed in the footsteps of the UK Comic and using a similar style logo.

Working down from the logo, we then have Matt Trakker wearing his infamous Spectrum Mask in Thunder Hawk.  What can we say except classic M.A.S.K.

To the right of Thunder Hawk's steering wheel, we have Julio Lopez in Firefly.  Again, this is an iconic shot of Firefly - viewing it from above so we can easily recognise it.  One little niggle, though, and that is that the front wings aren't deployed.  Has firefly changed since the good old days, or is this an oversight on the part of the artist?

Rhino....  In action mode.  What more would we expect from the cover of the comic?  Looking at the front of the rig, it looks like the squareish front of the 80's Big Rig has made way for a more modern and rounded Big Rig.  If we have an updated Rhino, might this partly explain why we don't have our original Logo featuring a more classic design?

Hurricane.  The colours and design are classic Hurricane straight from the original.  When you look at most of the vehicles in the M.A.S.K. Series, they are based on vehicles of the time - mid 80's design.  With Hurricane being from the 50's, I guess it was easier to keep the design in the mix and not change the style of the car mode and it still fits in.

However, there are some guns that appear to be coming out of the front wings.  Does this mean that the alternate, battle/defense mode of Hurricane may be different from the original design?  I guess we'll need to wait and see.

Gator has been updated somewhat - looking more like a speedboat than a hydroplane.  I'm looking forward to seeing it in action.

Finally, Condor.  We have the original green colour and what appears to be its patented Anti-matter gun coming from the light unit at the front.  The artist has put plenty of detail into this vehicle to the point we can make out the chain links.

There is a question/niggle that I have with this image of Condor.  With all of the original vehicle designs, they were done in a way that our imaginations made the vehicles plausible in real life.  Rhino, as an example, if you had the time and money wouldn't actually be that difficult to build and make work.  Could Piranha's sidecar turn into a submarine - with today's technology, I believe so, yes.

However, this design for Condor only seems to have one set of rotor blades.  In the original version, the rear wheel raised up and away from the rider, creating the tail rotor.  This new design doesn't seem to do this.  So, although looking awesome, I can't get round the fact that I don't think this design would fly.  I know that may not make sense to a lot of people when we have a Camaro that turns into a plane or a Nissan ZX that turns into a plane - but these toys/vehicles were designed in such away that your imagination gave you a sense that they could fly.

This design doesn't.

Overall, a great cover.

The second variation release so far is a more simple affair.


Matt Trakker standing back to back with Miles Mayhem.  A more poignant image - perhaps depicting the inevitable turning their backs on each other and going their separate ways?

Yes, Matt has changed a lot, most notably his race, but I like the detail in his flight suit.  What I don't like is his Mask.  And this is where IDW are complicating matters for fans - there may be a simple answer once the comic comes out.  But, why is Matt's Spectrum Mask in this image completely different from the other cover?

This is a variation cover of the same comic - does that mean that somewhere in the plot line Spectrum changes?

Miles looks ok but his new Viper Mask is awful.  Other cover images from Revolutions show Viper being more like the original.

It's almost as if these Masks are designed based on faces of Transformer Robots.  Just doesn't work for me.

Anyway, got a couple of months to wait on the actual realise of the new comic before we'll get some questions answered.  In the meantime, head over to my M.A.S.K. Comics Facebook Page and Like, Comment and Share. 

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