I’m surprised I didn’t discuss this when I was reviewing the comics. Both the DC and IDW runs have been reviewed (well, part of the IDW run) as well as the minicomics and I never thought to use this as a My Favorite Intros entry. Well let’s fix that, shall we?
MASK, which stands for Mobile Armored Strike Kommand (because we’re spelling our acronym right even if we have to misspell the words it stands for–all hail the acronym all hail) was a toyline created by Kenner (now owned by Hasbro) about a group of heroes fighting the criminal (or terrorist depending on their mood that day) organization called VENOM (Vicious Evil Network Of Mayhem, because Miles Mayhem knew he was the bad guy) using vehicles that converted to battle modes and masks that granted special weapons. The show, produced by DIC Entertainment, ran for two seasons, after a five-part miniseries. And the intro is one of those big ones for us 80s kids. I see it on so many top 80s intro lists and 80s playlists it must stand out for a reason.
MASK aired for two seasons, the last one being the “racing season”, where for some odd reason MASK and VENOM were competing in demolition derbies, cross-country races…it was so out of place I’m not surprised there wasn’t a third season even though the toys were produced for a few more years. Going from The DaVinci Code meets Ocean’s Eleven to a show about racing teams who hate each other was just weird. And they still used the same intro even though fighting crime only happened on occasion. Also, none of these racing organizers minded that two of their teams had transforming vehicles and live weapons. Weird. The concept was used again for both Vor-Tech and A.T.O.M. (which is also an acronym, for Alpha Teens On Machines). Look them up some time. They don’t hold a candle to the originators. Oddly, Switch Force a line of toy cars with a similar gimmick (no drivers though) never had a cartoon.
But is there more to the intro than nostalgia for the show? I think so. It’s a good intro. It starts off with a beat that, while soft, gets your attention while a fake vector graphic shows off MASK Headquarters. We get a look at the agents as the music and visuals build to the battle between MASK and VENOM (and like them or not, Scott and T-Bob make their appearance in line with the music as well). If I had a complaint it’s that, while the vehicles and T-Bob transforming are prominent we don’t get a preview of the special powers of the masks. They just look like masks the characters wear for some reason, possibly to hide their identity (which at least is partially correct for MASK).
The theme song was written by Shuki Levi, one of the great theme song writers of the time. Not everything he did was perfect (remember Ring Raiders?) but this is one of his better ones. Want to hear the full thing?