Review - M.A.S.K. Revolution #1 (@IDWPublishing)

"Assembling a black-ops team is a delicate affair."

M.A.S.K. is an unsung hero of the cartoons of the eighties. The concept blended together parts of Transformers and G.I. Joe and the end result were motorcycles that turned into helicopters. It was a fantastic mix of ideas that led to some great creativity on the playground. That creativity shouldn't be left to the cartoon though as IDW is bringing the universe into their fold in M.A.S.K. Revolution #1. The issue is written by Brandon Easton, illustrated by Tony Vargas, colored by Jordi Escuin and lettered by Chris Mowry.

The origin of M.A.S.K.! Miles Mayhem's decades long plans are finally coming to fruition, but will the revealed secrets he has hidden from Matt Trakker create a new enemy bent on Mayhem's undoing? A special story tying directly into Revolution!

For most of M.A.S.K. Revolution #1, Easton doesn't really offer much in the way of tying things into the broader Revolution storyline. There are mentions of the "Cybertronian threat," but other than that the issue really plays out more like an introduction to the M.A.S.K. outfit and what makes them tick. What's a little disappointing though is that Easton's approach doesn't really give the characters much time to play with the toys that makes M.A.S.K. so fun. Still, Easton does manage to pack a lot into the issue, effectively showcasing a lot of characters and giving each of them very distinct--albeit stereotypical--personalities. The issue's pacing also picks up towards the end as Easton gets the characters in place to play a bigger part of the upcoming battle against the Transformers.

Vargas' artistic approach in M.A.S.K. Revolution #1 is very tight and refined. Each of the characters have very distinct features to them that make them stand out from one another and Vargas offers them in a dossier format that fits with the context of the issue. The panel layouts are also pretty inventive throughout as well, in that Vargas relies on some very interesting shapes for some of the pages that keep up with the action in an interesting way. The artwork is given a science-fiction feel that's befitting of a property that boasts vehicles changing to different vehicles and Vargas ensures the style will fit well within the universe. Escuin's colors are very rich and very much cartoon-flavored further giving the book a sense of fast-paced fun.

Revolution is the next big thing for IDW Publishing and bringing M.A.S.K. into the fold is an awesome idea. The characters are up against a very strong opponent in the Transformers, but the team of M.A.S.K. is definitely up to the challenge. Easton's characters are all capable combatants willing to risk their lives for the upcoming fight. Vargas' illustrations are clean and action-packed. M.A.S.K. Revolution #1 is a great way to catch up with the team from the eighties that too many people have probably forgotten.

M.A.S.K. Revolution #1 is in stores now.