IDW Publishing 2017
Written by David A. Rodriguez
Illustrated by Andrew Griffith
Coloured by John-Paul Bove
Lettered by Gilberto Lazcano
I welcome back the days of the Giant Sized Annuals that told a complete story that wasn’t tied into the main series. Also welcome to the giant sized price but that’s today’s market. So what I think this story does incredibly well is continue to solidify this new merged universe. That the Mask team needs to team up with G.I. Joe to recover pieces of a Cybertronian who crash lands on Earth before Manheim and his Venom team can retrieve them well that’s what it’s all about. It makes each franchise essential to the ongoing stories even if they aren’t front and center moving forward.
David does a nice job in bringing Mask and the Joe’s together on this one. It’s a natural working arrangement and one that both teams will benefit from. I also like the fact that we see how Cybertronian technology is as important to the Mask team (and Venom) since it does make up a large part of why their cars fly and suits work. The technicalities of that are still unknown but that’s a good thing we need some sort of mystery about how Manheim got it all working. Plus it gives us future arcs that keep cementing their interaction with other franchises.
I like the character development and characterisation that we get here. Not just for the Mask members but of the Joe’s as well and then there’s the fact that working together brings out aspects that are surprising and get reactions like, “Don’t look at me, I studied at Northwestern not the Enterprise” which are perfectly placed, timed and are as descriptive as it is funny.
The interior artwork here is really nice. I like the way page layouts are utilised with their angles, perspective and use of backgrounds. The characters have that animation/classic comics blended feel so it’s perfectly suited to show off both the attention to detail in the work as well as that cartoon feel. Also a huge shoutout to John-Paul with his work on the colours because yeah they are well done indeed and when you light sources, shadows or technology focused on it’s there!
While I never did watch the cartoon which is surprising since I was a teenager in high school, though I was working so… anyway. I will say this I like what we’re getting here and that I’m coming into this blind as I am it’s great to see how much care and attention this has been given to make it as new reader friendly as it’s become. I don’t feel like i’ve missed anything so far and everything is easy to follow. The creative team does an excellent job in bringing this to life for us, making it that extra large sized story to attract new readers and keep establishing their place in this Hasbro Universe.