By Mike Badilla
Let me start by stating that I'm not old enough to have played with or been a part of the original M.A.S.K. In fact, I may not have ever heard of the original series had it not been for my cousin, 6 or so years older than me, that had all the toys and would let me play with them when we would come to visit. I was instantly hooked on the idea of these different guys and girls getting these cool helmets and driving these cool transforming vehicles.
Here we are in 2016, and we're getting a fresh look at this old IP. We begin our story with the who I assume is the M.A.S.K. Director discussing the young candidates he's just brought into the team for testing, and his views on whether or not they're going to make it. The book then follows these young people being surveyed by the director and put through trials. Some candidates even die during this training, but as young Matt Trakker (the lead) is told by the director: the safety of the world is more important than the lives of two candidates.
The director then leads them into a training environment involving a train and a bunch of hostages, but I won't spoil all that for you. Here's my impression of the book: much darker than expected. As a young boy playing with my cousin's M.A.S.K. toys, I had no idea what the story was. I still don't, but I doubt the story from the early 1980s was this dark. Trainees getting killed? Other trainees being forced into situations where they have to choose their own lives above those of others? These topics seems to be a very bold choice for what I thought was to be a kid friendly and frankly somewhat cheesy trip back to the 80s.
The art was very good and seemed like a good fit for this story. The character designs, the compound they stay in, and even their vehicles are nicely done. The vehicles stayed very true to their original designs from the 80s, which is commented on by one of the recruits. The compound seems very technological, and the art does a great job of reflecting that. Sure there's a wonky eye or mouth here and there, but the art stays pretty true throughout.
The dialogue was fine, nothing unexpected but nothing so dry or uninteresting that would keep anyone from finishing the book. I felt it was all very natural feeling and pulled the story along nicely.
I was very surprised with the overall direction this book has taken. I went into it knowing it was a reboot of an old property and had different expectations, mainly that it would be corny and cheesy and not at all serious, but I was mistaken. This book seems to have a very serious tone, and I'm very interested in what will happen next. Supposedly all these "Revolution" titles (Rom, GI Joe, Transformers and more) will become tied into some event, which could be fun too.
[su_box title="Score: 3/5" style="glass" box_color="#8955ab" radius="6"]
MASK Revolution #1 Writer: Brandon Easton Artist: Tony Vargas Publisher: IDW Publishing