IDW Publishing 2016
Written by Brandon Easton
Illustrated by Tony Vargas
Coloured by Jordi Escuin
Lettered by Chris Mowry
The origin of M.A.S.K.! Miles Mayhem's decades long plans are finally coming to fruition, but will the revealed secrets he has hidden from Matt Trakker create a new enemy bent on Mayhem's undoing?
This is perfect for someone like me who never saw the cartoon or even knew it was a Hasbro toy line. So for me coming into this completely blind this introduction into the world of M.A.S.K. is not only strong but is completely well done. The characterisation here by Brandon is exceptional in giving us not only Miles Manheim and his version of being a control freak but by showing us the training that he put the recruits under in order to make them a team.
Introduction issues either come like this from the very beginning or we start in the thick of things and flashbacks are used. Personally I think this was far more effective as a one-shot in bringing us this team, why they were brought together and the fact that their training regime was like something we’d see on Quantico. The fact that Manheim brought in Dr. Mindbender to do the psychological profiling keeps Cobra and the Joe’s in their origin as well firmly tying them into this universe, that’s aside from his desire to create this team to counter the threat of the Cybertronians.
Tony and Jordi do some great work on the interiors here. I love the linework and attention to detail that is brought to the table here. The use of shading and shadows and the colours of the uniforms and cars really do stand out here and keep it close to that cartoon feel. The use of page layouts through angles, perspective and backgrounds to control the flow of the story is greatly done. There’s a great classic comic book style here that’s simply wonderful and reminds you of the classic days of comics.
With strong characterisation, a solid premise, an interesting mix of eclectic characters and strong interior artwork we see the beginning of what could be a very solid new series emerging. With the explanation of why the cars and suits they wear fully on display here, using those traditional eighties cars, it’s easy to see what Brandon is going for. This is a superb blend of what was, what is and what will be. Then of course there’s the intrigue and inter-team dynamics that will undoubtedly become not only a source for great drama but also a catalyst for at least one team member to rise up and become the kind of leader they need.
One-shot tie-in introductions don’t get any better than this. It effectively has brought M.A.S.K. into this universe and made them a viable force as well as sets up a what should be one of IDW’s newest and most exciting new ongoing series (well with this issue being what it was at least that’s what I’m hoping).