Sunday, 23 April 2017

IDW's Revolution #4 & #5 - a M.A.S.K. Comics Review

I've eventually gotten round to reading Revolution #5.  The more observant of you will have realised I've not yet written a review of Revolution #4 - there was very little that I could say about that issue that I've not already said about previous issues, so I thought I'd combine #4 & #5.

Starting off with the covers for #4 - there are 8 in total.  Overkill, yet again.  How much money does IDW want from each of their readers?

Anyway,the regular cover features Jazz, Arcee and Snake Eyes - nothing really special about it.  Subscription Cover A has some dude - even after reading the comic I'm still not sure who he's meant to be - with some teeth round about him - awful; just awful.

Subscription Cover B has various characters from the various properties all walking/running quite merrily to the right - this is a full wraparound cover and I think is meant to join on with the other issues.  It's ok.

Subscription Cover C is red and black with a Micornauts character in silhouette.  Ok, but not relevant to M.A.S.K. so not interested.  Subscription Cover D - another one of the toy figure carded box style with Arcee and Snake Eyes - probably the best cover of the lot.

Retailer Incentive Cover A - has Snake Eyes fighting off Micronauts.  This is very "computerised" in it's design and I'm not overly fond of it.

Retailer Incentive Cover B - another red/black cover with Optimus Prime - on a par with Subscription Cover D.

Retailer Incentive Cover C - what the actual....  designed for 5 year olds....  Awful!

When we get into the comic itself, M.A.S.K. doesn't make much of an appearance in it.  Miles Mayhem is seen to be pivotal to the story line and we, yet again, have Matt Trakker whinging like a 5 year old child as it's becoming apparent that he and Miles Mayhem have different agendas.

As expected, with the Revolution 5 part series is linked to the other Revolution comics there are references all over the place that refer to other comics in the series.

This "suggestive selling" is pretty poor.  If you want to make a 5 part series - make a 5 part series and don't go on off shoots in a poor attempt to sell more of your comics.  Few of us are interested.

Moving onto #5 - the best thing I could say about it is - thank fuck it's finished!

Again, we have another 8 covers.....  This time I bought more of the comics as there was more "M.A.S.K." featured on them.

The Regular Cover features various characters including Matt Trakker and Miles Mayhem wearing Spectrum and Viper respectively.  It's an ok cover, as it's the original versions of the characters and not the new and unimproved versions.

Subscription Cover A has the same dude as on Issue #4.  Don't really get it...

Subscription Cover B is another of the walking to the right wraparound covers - has Matt Trakker and Bruno Sheppard on it.  Again, not a bad cover.

Subscription Cover C has the original Viper Mask floating above a decapitated body.  I'm guessing it's meant to be artistic - just looks terrible.

Subscription Cover D is another of the Toy Box Covers with Miles Mayhem on it along with Baron Karza.  Not as good as some of the other issues covers, but ok.

Retailer Incentive Cover A looks like another computer designed cover - has Viper on the front - again, I'm not a big fan of it.

Retailer Incentive Cover B - from the thumb print image in the inside back cover of the comics I have, I can't actually make out what/who is meant to be on this.

And, finally, we have Retailer Incentive Cover C.  Another one for the 5 year olds.  Has Matt Trakker and Bruce Sato on it.  Which is pointless as Bruce Sato isn't even in the comic.

M.A.S.K. plays more of a role in this issue and it's the first time that all of the properties are in the comics as part of the same action.  Up until now, the first four issues only really cover parts of stories featuring some of the characters from some of the properties.  It was very disjointed as they all seemed to be doing their own thing and had their own story lines.

Issue 5 brought them together - but was still an extremely disjointed story and I was left scratching my head so many times as the story just didn't sit right or make any sense whatsoever.

When the news about the new M.A.S.K. Comic first filtered out - I set an expectation bar of what I wanted to see and what I hoped to see.  As more and more information started filtering through - including the news of throwing all of the properties into the mix and see what happens, the bar of expectation got lower and lower.

Despite my bar of expectation being so low, some how, IDW managed to Limbo right under that bar without event touching it.

As a M.A.S.K. fan, I'm sorry, but this whole Revolution Series was a mistake.  We now have M.A.S.K. vehicles that look nothing like the originals nor modern vehicles - they are simply Cybertronian Clone vehicles.

I have nothing against Transformers, but they are two separate and unique entities and should remain so.  M.A.S.K. was popular because it was believable - we've seen James Bond Movies, it's easy to accept a car that can turn into a submarine or a motor bike that can turn into a chopper.

Mixing M.A.S.K. with aliens and giving them futuristic looking alien tech - that's so far removed from M.A.S.K. that it doesn't work.

I'm afraid that,overall, the Revolution Series didn't do justice to any of the properties and reading it I actually felt embarrassed to call myself a M.A.S.K. fan.  If this is what IDW have done in the Cartoon, I had to see what goddamn monstrosity Paramount are going to make for the big screen.

What are your thoughts?  Please leave a comment below or over and my M.A.S.K. Comics Facebook Page.

#assembleMASK #MASKcomics #DIC
#MASKcrusade

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

100k Page Views - Thank you

I've been looking over my page stats the past few days as I was getting close to a milestone.  Tonight, I've reached a tremendous milestone -


100k Page Views!!

Thank you very much for all of your support over the past few years.



When I first started my blog back in 2012, I didn't think I'd ever reach as many of you.  I've managed to get to know some of you via my M.A.S.K. Comics Facebook Page and it's been great to chat.  Please feel free to contact me via the comments below, over on Facebook or even via e-mail.

I've even gotten to know some of the Voice Actors from the M.A.S.K. Cartoon Series.

I look forward to the next 100k Page Views.

Thank you,

W. Scott Crawford.

#MASKcomics #assembleMASK #DIC
#MASKcrusade

Sunday, 19 February 2017

Another Cover - more mistakes....

A new cover was recently posted over on the M.A.S.K. PNA Facebook Page.  There is no head mast, so I can't say which issue this will feature on - if at all - and can't confirm the artist's name as can't quite make out the signature.

However, Tommy Lee Edwards (TLE) has taken credit for it, so I can assume he drew it.  I'm not going to share it as I have not sought out permission to do so.

We have Vanessa squat down on the roof of what, at first sight, appears to be Manta with Sly Rax, sporting a "Flock of Seagulls-esque" hairstyle, leaning against the door.  There is a shape behind in the familiar colours of Piranha,

The art is great and one of the comments on the page likens it to a scene from Miami Vice.  It's only when you look closer that you start to see the flaws.

Ok, I can let Rax's hair style slide and I can only question why Vanessa is squat down on the roof...

The first mistake I noticed is the decals on the side of the car.  Below is an image of the toy from the 80's - 



If you check the image over at the M.A.S.K. PNA Facebook Page you can compare the difference.  We're used to there being issues with the decals on the vehicles in the past - one of the memorable ones being Outlaw.  In the Cartoon and the DC Comics, Outlaw's decals were simplified.  Understandable for the cartoon with the number of frames that had to be drawn, but just downright lazy in the DC Comic.

Yes, ok, it kept some semblance of consistency having both the same but I would've preferred the comic to have had the Snake Oil Livery of the toy.

Even on the toy box, the art for the Cab of the tanker were wrong - with a small image of the toy beside it showing the correct decal placement.

Getting back to my original point re this new cover, why are the decals wrong and why does it matter?  Manta is a Nissan 300ZX.  The decals on the side of her subtlety read the initials "ZX".  Simple; effective!

On the new comic image, we now have "XZ" written on it.  Not sure why and it doesn't really work.  There could be legal reasons for the change, who knows.  The original box for Manta does have the Trademark "TM" symbol beside the wording "Nissan 300ZX".

The new IDW comics are a confusing mixture of the new M.A.S.K.: Mobile Armored Strike Kommand and the, now, classic M.A.S.K.  Thrown into the mix is something which is neither.

TLE's image of "Manta" is so impressive that it has many M.A.S.K. fans fooled into thinking it's the real deal.

However, TLE has drawn "Manta" as a Datsun 280ZX.  If you are unsure of the difference please see my Blog Post from 25/04/2015.  It's overly confusing to say the least.  We now have new, old and, well, whatever!

Now, I'm not dissing TLE's artwork - I think his cover is amazing - but does it fit with the rest of the comic?  If you were a new reader, unfamiliar with M.A.S.K. would you really know what's going on?  I'm a long term fan, and I can't understand it.

If TLE's vision of Manta was the same one as on the inside of the comic, I'd be cool with that.  His version is better than what I've seen of the new Manta.  Maybe we should start a campaign to have TLE redesign all of the vehicles.

Please share your thoughts below or over at my M.A.S.K. Comics Facebook Page.

Scott.


#assembleMASK #MASKcomics #DIC
#MASKcrusade

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

M.A.S.K. - Buddie Hawks or Buddy Hawkes, who cares?

Early this morning, there was a post on the M.A.S.K. PNA Facebook page.  It showed a concept cover by IDW artist Tommy Lee Edwards - one that won't be published in the comic.

It depicted a picture of Buddie Hawks with his name shown as "Buddy".  I made a comment about said picture concerning the incorrect spelling of his name.  We are becoming accustomed to mistakes in the comic and, even though this image isn't going to grace the cover of any of the comics, I felt it was the right to point out this error.

Another FB user then made a comment that I should check my facts as his name is Buddy.  I suitably replied with images of the boxes of Boulder Hill, the Buddie Hawks figure and the Trademark registration for the correct spelling of the name.

Myself and this other user, got into a "heated" discussion, but have since discussed via Private Message and I believe we have settled our differences.  He has since removed some of his posts - which inadvertently makes me look like a bit of dick and just ranting for no reason at no particular person.

Since then, a few other people, including the artist Tommy Lee Edwards, have made comments on the post.  I encourage everyone to have their own opinion and share it whether in public or private.  As BT used to say "it's good to talk!"

You can discuss in the comments below, over at my M.A.S.K. Comics Facebook Page or even e-mail me if you like.

There is, however, a difference between opinion and fact.  My stating his name is Buddie isn't an opinion, it's a fact.  Yes, people have been getting his name wrong for years and for quite a while I believed his surname was spelt "Hawkes" - mistakes do happen.

One question that was raised by Jason Gross of Agents of M.A.S.K. is, "Who Cares?" 

"Who Cares?"

Wow, now that is a question that needs to be answered.



Back in the day, Kenner cared about their products.  In M.A.S.K. they gave all of us kids some of the greatest toys ever made that spawned a great cartoon series, comics and merchandise.

As fans of the series, don't we care?  Shouldn't we care?  Why have blogs, podcasts, Facebook Pages or even discuss M.A.S.K. if we don't care?

I care!

When I wrote my M.A.S.K. script, I took as much care and detail to attention as I could to ensure the characters were right, that the M.A.S.K.'s had the correct functions, that the story was modern yet in keeping with the M.A.S.K. that we all cared about.

If we don't care, then lets all agree to give up.  Lets not share our stories, our pictures or our memories.  Let's stop buying IDW's Comic and just call it a day.

So, let me ask the question - Buddie Hawks or Buddy Hawkes, who cares?

Sunday, 22 January 2017

IDW's M.A.S.K. Annual - Buyers Beware!!

I've been silent for a while.  I've moved back into the house and been busy with Christmas, New Year, My son's birthday and my birthday,

So, been very busy.

In fact, I've not even read the last issue of Revolutions or any of the new M.A.S.K. Comics - but, rest assured, I'll get round to it sometime and will give you a review.

I had set up a subscription for M.A.S.K.: Mobile Armored Strike Kommand via forbiddenplanet.com but to my work address - unsure of when I'd be back in the house when I set it up.  So, I thought I'd go online during the past week and change my postal address and order the variant covers that are being thrust upon us.

I couldn't find my subscription details, so I had to call their customer services and whilst on the phone I decided to discuss another couple of matters with them.

So, apparently, I had cancelled my subscription just a few minutes after I set it.  Not sure how that would've happened.

After the problems with the issue 3 cover mix-up - The ROM cover being sent out rather than the one I'd ordered - I discussed this with the guy on the phone.  He didn't seem too bothered by the mistake.  His response was that the actual comic is the same - just a different cover so doesn't really matter.

And yet, IDW make these various covers and forbiddenplanet.com sell these issues - but it's ok if someone makes a mistake?  I don't blame forbiddenplanet.com as my understanding is that this was an issue caused by IDW.

Whilst on their site, I'd remembered someone sharing on Facebook that there was going to be a M.A.S.K. Annual out at the beginning of the year, so I had a look for that as well.  And sure enough, and true to form to make more money, there are at least two variant covers.

So, like most M.A.S.K. fans, I'm now forced into buying not one but two copies of this comic - that probably won't be that good anyway.

There are two things that I noticed about the cover on the right.  The first may only be my imagination playing tricks on me, but in that small thumbprint image, doesn't the Mask that the person is wearing look a bit like the side profile of Rhino?

The image above is maybe a little bit clearer.

I'd be interested to see what my readers think?  Please comment below or over at my M.A.S.K. Comics Facebook Page.

The second thing that caught my eye, is the information to the left of the masthead....



This is being advertised as the "M.A.S.K. Mobile Armored Strike Kommand: Annual #1 (Subscription Variant)".  However, clearly states on the image that this is "Issue 4".

So what is going on?

I asked the guy at forbiddenplanet.com about it.  He wasn't really bothered.  It's just the image that he claims that IDW send them to advertise the comics.  The image may or may not be the cover of the comic that you are actually buying with your hard earned cash.

I used the EAN number provided on their page and found another online retailer using the exact same cover for their advert -


So, I do believe that this might be the case.  If it is, why are IDW sending out misleading information and why aren't these sites confirming these details before uploading them onto their sites?

It's not as if it's hard to see it quite clearly states Issue 4 on it.

I seriously don't know how problems like this keep happening!  It's an absolute disgrace and for people like me who have to rely on online shopping as I live in a rural area I have to trust that the information I'm being provided with is correct.

So, Caveat emptor people, Caveat emptor - you may not be buying what you think you are buying.

#MASKComics #AssembleMask #MASKCrusade #DIC #IDWgetitfuckingright
#IDW


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!