DC Comics (January, 1986)
“The Domain Of The Dead”
WRITER: Michael Fleisher
PENCILER: Michael Chen
INKER: Joe Del Beato
COLORIST: Shelley Eiber
LETTERER: John Costanza
EDITOR: Andrew Helfer
Matt and Bruce seek a Professor Ginsburg with the hopes of having him translate the hieroglyph left on Scott’s hotel room when he and T-Bob were kidnapped, unaware that this is VENOM’s doing. However, the professor is more interested in his latest discovery, a pyramid that he believes will prove the Egyptian gods were more than mere legend. He might be right, since Anubis and his mummy soldiers kidnap them and then rob a local museum, barely escaping MASK. At least he would be right except that “Anubis” is actually Miles Mayhem and the mummies are some of his VENOM agents. Dwayne Kennedy, Matt’s boss at the PNA, orders Matt to use a new agent, Nash Gorey. As they and the other selected MASK agents arrive at the pyramid they engage VENOM in battle with their vehicles, and then follow them inside with their masks at the ready. After another fight VENOM escapes. Matt is reunited with Scott and T-Bob, but Nash seals them inside the pyramid!
What they got right: Except for one detail this was a good trap idea on Mayhem’s part. And the story does show off all the MASK and VENOM vehicles showing up in the story. (Be sure and bug your parents for the toys, kids.) Without the kidnapping angle, the story stands on its own, but does add to the full arc of this miniseries.
What they got wrong: Mayhem took one big risk, assuming that Matt would go to Professor Ginsburg when he already has experts on his team, two of whom show up in this issue–a history teacher and cryptographer–who might have been able to decipher things, simply because Ginsburg is supposed to be an expert in the legend of Anubis specifically. The annoying thing about this issue though has to be the constant interrupting. It’s like the writer put in more than the letterer could use, so characters are constantly being interrupted by other characters as the story goes on. If the writer had an idea as to what Ginsburg’s actual hypothesis concerning Anubis and the Egyptian gods were we’ll never know it. I bet it has something to do with a card game that summons monsters.
Other notes: As can be told this was my first MASK comic and read quite a bit. I also picked up issue #3, but for the longest time I couldn’t find #s 1 and 4. I did eventually find a four-pack with the entire miniseries, meaning I have an extra copy of the second and third issue. Considering the state of this issue I’m weighing my options. But not with a feather. 🙂
Recommendation: A good stand-alone story that also works with the overall arc of the miniseries surrounding the defense satellites and VENOM trying to shut MASK down. Also, I’m starting to think “Contraworld” is a stand-in for the commies. Worth picking up.