REVIEW: M.A.S.K #1

Following their inclusion in the recent Revolution event covering IDW’s toy line tie-in books, M.A.S.K gets a new run.  This first issue sees the team start out on their own as they seek to get out from under the yoke of Major Mayhem.

The book has a confusing catch up page, which quite frankly put me in a bad mood to start with.  Still, with a little perseverance the story  started to make a little bit of sense.  Now on the run, the team needs to pull together under the command of Matt Trakker in an effort to clear their names and stop whatever other plans that Mayhem has in store for them.

Writer Brandon Easton is no stranger to reboots or redesigns.  His previous work covers Transformers for IDW and work on the short lived Thundercats revival cartoon.  With that in mind, Easton seems the perfect choice for this project as it appears he has a love for all things action figure based.  With such a rich history, I am a little disappointed in how disjointed the script seems to be.  For example, there is an inner monologue about how Trakker’s father was a redundancy freak, only for the same phrase to come out of Trakkers’s mouth a couple of panels later.  I understood the comment the first time.  Then there is ongoing stereotypes that if you live in the UK, you can make different types of tea.  Still, there are some good parts; the comment of Cybertronian weapons is a nice nod to the recent crossover and shows that the toys all live in the same universe.  Plot wise, everything is functionary, moving the characters along with a linear type of logic.

Tony Vargas provides the art, following on from his work on the Revolution book.  This is a good call from IDW as it serves to give the books a consistent look.  I have to say, that I didn’t expect to enjoy the art as much as I did.  The figure work had a strong dynamic feel to it through the action scenes,  the characters stayed recognizable throughout and there was quite a lot of details on the actual stars of the show; the vehicles and masks.  Vargas has had to demonstrate a wealth of different abilities to pencil this book.  With so many cars, bikes etc., it would be easy to lose perspective.  Vargas manage this well throughout.  Colors are provided by Jordi Escuin, who has put together a color scheme that screams cartoon show.

As I am not a fan of the original cartoon show,  I was pleasantly surprised by this book.  True, there is a level of diversification in play, for which there seems no real rhyme or reason.  But as mentioned before, the characters play second fiddle to the vehicles.  It does annoy me that poor English is front and centre (you don’t spell command with a “K”).  Still, all things considered, this book was a mildly diverting read.

Writing – 3  Stars
Art -3.5 Stars
Color -3 Stars

Brandon Easton (w) • Tony Vargas (a) • Tommy Lee Edwards (c)
Publisher: IDW

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