M.A.S.K. issue 1
|Publisher||IDW Publishing, Ted Adams|
|First published||November 30, 2016|
|Cover date||November 2016|
|Written by||Brandon Easton|
|Art by||Tony Vargas|
|Colors by||Jordi Escuin|
|Letters by||Gilberto Lazcano|
The masked crusaders must face off against both V.E.N.O.M. and the law as they make their new start.
Matt Trakker, acting commander of Mobile Armored Strike Kommand, reflects on recent events, and in particular his betrayal by Miles Mayhem, the group's founder. With Mayhem's nefarious schemes revealed, the remaining members of M.A.S.K. must now scrape together intel from the villain's abandoned Mask in order to try and stop him.
For the time being, however, they have more immediate concerns: a series of attacks on military installations by advanced vehicles like M.A.S.K.'s has brought the police and federal agents to the doors of the Project Spectrum base. Under heavy fire, Trakker leads Gloria Baker, Brad Turner, and Julio Lopez in abandoning their former base, with Thunderhawk's weaponry blowing open the deactivated hanger doors. With the authorities hot on their heels, the M.A.S.K. team drives into a mine tunnel known as the Dutchman's Doorway, and Brad's "Eclipse" Mask casts a holographic illusion of a cave-in to cover their tracks.
Later, still underground, the team discuss their next moves in the Jackhammer vehicle's miniature HQ. There are concerns that the Ore-13 batteries being used to charge the Masks could lead to unpredictable reactions, whilst Gloria's decryption of Mayhem's Mask cannot continue until they find a stable base. She has, however, uncovered video files labelled "C. Trakker". Unsurprisingly, the footage depicts Matt's father, Cornelius, at work on the early prototypes of the Masks. However, a group of masked soldiers enter and hold Cornelius at gunpoint... with Miles Mayhem at the lead!
Elsewhere, Mayhem is currently plotting his next moves in the plan to capture and reverse-engineer all the Cybertronians on Earth, and profit massively from the results. He dispatches his own team to intercept M.A.S.K., before boarding the Switchblade to head off on business of his own.
Under cover of both darkness and "Eclipse"'s powers, the M.A.S.K. team travel to one of Cornelius Trakker's hidden laboratories, its location in the Everglades decrypted from Mayhem's Mask. Gloria hacks their way inside, and whilst the facility has been long-abandoned, it will serve perfectly as a short-term base for the team. On a computer terminal, Trakker stumbles across his father's journal entry from the day of Matt's tenth birthday, not long before Cornelius's murder. Thinking back, Matt explains to Gloria how he began acting out in the aftermath of his father's death, first being sent to a school for "gifted delinquents" before running away to fight injustice around the world with his gift for engineering. He is interrupted when Julio brings news of a massive Ore-13 energy spike in Barbados...
Despite concerns they are heading into a trap, Brad uses his drug trafficking contacts to arrange transport for the team and their vehicles, and a few days later, they set out to gather intel in Bridgetown. Gloria quickly schmoozes useful information out of a local: Harrison's Cave, a tourist trap cavern, has recently been sealed to all visitors. That evening, M.A.S.K. moves in, and detect huge Ore-13 deposits in the cavern. Before they can investigate further, they come under fire from the Switchblade. Julio is badly wounded, and all four team members pile into the Thunderhawk and retreat underground.
In the caverns, the team finds no Ore-13, and quickly realize that Mayhem has been able to access their Masks and falsify their readings. Before they can go any further, Brad is suddenly hit in the shoulders with a pair of energy spikes, fired from a Mask! Stepping from the shadows, Miles Mayhem unveils to M.A.S.K. his new V.E.N.O.M. team. But this introduction is also to be a goodbye, and all three recruits fire upon M.A.S.K.!
Characters in italic text appear only in flashbacks.
(Numbers indicate order of appearance.)
"Allow me to introduce my squad... V.E.N.O.M., meet M.A.S.K. And farewell!"
- —Miles Mayhem
- Miles Mayhem's nefarious plans were revealed in Revolution. The recovery of his Mask from the battlefield was not something seen in that series – it was last seen on Miles' head as he rammed Baron Karza with the Switchblade.
- Matt's backstory was previously described in his bio in Revolution #3.
- This is the first appearance of Bruno's "Thunderflame" Mask.
- Gloria Baker is originally from Mumbai. This might be a nod to the franchise's previous character of Indian heritage, "Ali Bombay", with Mumbai being the modern name for Bombay.
- The hologram of rocks blocking the tunnel entrance is titled "Roadrunner/Coyote", referencing the Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote from Looney Tunes.
- Julio repeatedly quotes Admiral Ackbar's infamous "It's a trap!" line from Return of the Jedi.
- Whilst he does not actually appear in this issue, Dr. Mindbender's entry in the character list explains what was happening with his name last issue: he was scripted with the erroneous new name "Verstal Bender", which was corrected in editing in the narration, but the reference to "Dr. Bender" in dialogue slipped through. Whether the new name's presence in this issue indicates that they are (inexplicably) forging ahead with the new moniker, or is simply a mistake again, is impossible to know.
- The mask belonging to Mayhem shown to have been found on the battlefield is his classic "Viper" mask—but Mayhem has never been shown to wear this mask, having spent the entirety of Revolution with the same modern mask-design he has on this issue's final page.
- Despite Mayhem claiming that with M.A.S.K. on the run from the law he can focus on his true goal of hunting down Cybertronians, he immediately orders his team to intercept and take out M.A.S.K.
- The M.A.S.K. team does not recognize the Switchblade, despite Mayhem piloting it during Revolution.
- Having been miscolored orange in M.A.S.K.: Revolution, the Shark is now miscolored blue.
- Backmatter for the issue consists of Part 1 of 5 of an interview with M.A.S.K. voice actor Doug Stone, conducted by cover artist Tommy Lee Edwards, and a fan showcase page of art, cosplay, and memorabilia.
- Regular cover: M.A.S.K., by Tommy Lee Edwards.
- Subscription cover A: Matt Trakker and Miles Mayhem, by Joe Suitor.
- Subscription cover B: M.A.S.K., by Andrew Griffith and Jordi Escuin.
- Subscription cover C: Blank cover for sketches.
- Retailer incentive cover A: Graffiti of Matt, Brad, and Vanessa, by Sara Pitre-Durocher.
- Retailer incentive cover B: Matt, Gloria, Miles, and the Thunderhawk in retro package art style, by Sonny Liew.
- Retailer incentive cover C: Brad on the Condor, by Paul Pope and Jordie Bellaire.
- Diamond UK Retailer Summit variant: Line-art for subscription cover B.