DC Comics (December, 1985)
“When Opportunity Knox!”
WRITER: Michael Fleisher
PENCILER: Michael Chen
INKER: Joe Del Beato
COLORIST: Shelley Eiber
LETTERER: Tim Harkins
EDITOR: Andrew Helfer
MASK, the Mobile Armored Strike Kommand (less poor literacy and more “I’m making this acronym work dang it!”) has created a set of satellites that would protect the free world from missile attacks by Contraworld, a major terror group who uses VENOM (Vicious Evil Network Of Mayhem) and their leader Miles Mayhem to cause panic throughout the world. Both MASK and VENOM use transforming vehicles and special “superpower” masks to do battle. VENOM’s attempt to steal a downed satellite from MASK headquarters meets with failure, so Miles hatches another scheme. While his team steals gold from Fort Knox a balloon is sent to Duane Kennedy, head of the Peaceful Nations Alliance, and another is given to Matt’s son, Scott Tracker. As MASK recovers the gold Scott’s balloon sends out knockout gas and Miles kidnaps the boy and his robot T-Bob. Matt returns to an empty hotel room with an Egyptian god drawn on the wall like the ancient Egyptians art style.
What they got right: This is how the miniseries will work; a one-issue adventure with a cliffhanger that will lead into the next issue, and as a fan of serials I rather like that idea. You get a good introduction to both MASK and VENOM as a concept, setting up the rest of the miniseries and the forthcoming ongoing.
What they got wrong: This occurs throughout the series, but T-Bob’s eyes (Scott and T-Bob were created for the cartoon based on the toyline, not getting their own toys until the end of the toyline) are drawn with this goofy cartoony look rather than how they’re drawn in the show. And they will never fix this. I guess they’re trying to make them more expressive but it just looks silly and the cartoon never had any problem with it. And why does the PEACEFUL Nations Alliance have a warship?
Other Notes: There are differences between the DC comic and the DIC cartoon. For example, VENOM knows who MASK is and where the MASK HQ is, like in the minicomics we’ve looked at in the past for Free Comic Inside. There’s also the addition of the terror group Contraworld as Mayhem’s boss, rather than Mayhem simply being a thief with lofty goals and big plans with VENOM as his gang. And the Peaceful Nations Alliance as the group employing MASK wouldn’t get that name, if memory serves, until after this comic came out, possibly during the “racing season” where VENOM tried to use cross-country races to smuggle things or just cheat really bad. It’s not a good season.
Recommendation: A good start but only if you plan to look further into the series. On its own it’s decent but it’s setup for the next three issues. I recommend giving it a look on that basis because I remember liking the miniseries.