DC Comics (July, 1987)
WRITER: Michael Fleisher
ARTISTS: Curt Swan & Kurt Schaffenberger
COLORIST: Bob LeRose
LETTERER: John Costanza
EDITORS; Mike Gold & Robert Greenberger
VENOM may all be locked up, but MASK isn’t out of trouble just yet. I don’t mean Miles planning a jailbreak, although he is. Jacana Harimatsu, the daughter of a roboticist Matt arrested for using his robots to go on a crime spree, has come seeking revenge, even warning Contra-World not to interfere in her revenge. Taking on the identity of Jasmine Osawa, Jacana gets a job as Dwayne’s assistant, getting her a tour of Boulder Hill. With that information she tries to lead MASK, and especially Matt, into a trap. However, her fainting spell during the visit was due to the X-Ray security scan, and “daddy’s” files prove she’s a robot programmed for revenge. Finding it impossible to believe after an initial attraction to Matt, it takes losing an arm to prove it and she appears to fall off a cliff. But could she have survived?
What they got right: I’ll be bringing up a lot of complaints, but understand that I did like this story. I like when the hero has to deal with a villain not part of their toyline, allowing the writer to expand the villain roster and get to do something different. Jacasta makes for a good villain with her armored fighting suit and knowledge of robotics. I wouldn’t have minded seeing her as a recurring threat had the series gone on longer.
What they got wrong: MASK uses VENOM gear at a charity show? Can you do that? And apparently Dwayne’s people didn’t vet Jasmine very well if Jocasta could get a tour of MASK headquarters so soon, unless she really worked her way up. (I think the artists drew “Jasmine” a bit too much like Diana Prince, Wonder Woman’s former secret identity.) But the big problem is Mr. Harimatsu’s plan. Okay, he built a robot and had her seek revenge (although I don’t know how Matt found that in files from before Harimatsu’s arrest, but whatever), but I have to ask why he bothered with an android girl, and then gave her a life story of being his natural daughter and mom dying in childbirth. It would have been better if Harimatsu had built a robo-daughter because he wanted a daughter, making her so human-like that he lied about why he was arrested, and Jacana sought revenge on her own for what she thought was a frame job on her dad, which was just really his excuse to her as to why they lived in seclusion. And did Jacana really need to be attracted to Matt, since the only reason it was there was to make the unhinted at twist (do x-rays really affect robots like that?) a bigger surprise? Respect, maybe, but she only knew him for a few hours, when he caught her after she “fainted”. It’s comes off as another example of Fleisher making Matt Trakker that awesome, intentional or not.
Recommendation: Like I said, I did actually like the issue even if it could have been a little better just by altering Janaca’s titular revenge from her decision rather than part of her programming. I still recommend reading it though.
These 1987 MASK issues sound like they’re worth picking up. So far, the stories you have reviewed definitely intrigue me and peak my curiosity.