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File:Masklogo.jpg

M.A.S.K. was an animated television series directed by three Japanese studios - KKC and D Asia, Studio World, and Ashi Production; with Korean studio Hanho Heung Up[1] and produced by the French-American DiC Entertainment (Jean Chalopin & Andy Heyward) and also the toyline of the same name sold by Kenner.

A total of 75 episodes were broadcast from between 1985 and 1986 in syndication. One of many cartoons produced during the 1980s as a vehicle for toy merchandising, M.A.S.K. (which is an acronym for the Mobile Armored Strike Kommand), was a hybrid of popular era cartoons G.I. Joe and The Transformers. It featured a special task force featuring an array of characters, led by Matt Trakker, with transforming vehicles engaged in an ongoing battle against the criminal organization V.E.N.O.M. (an acronym for the Vicious Evil Network of Mayhem), with an emphasis on super-powered helmets called masks worn by the characters on the show.

The original series focused mainly on the vehicles and characters from the original 1985 toy line. More characters were introduced as the line expanded with a second wave in 1986. The format for the last season of the show featured a racing theme to correspond with the theme of the third wave M.A.S.K. toys. A major difference from the first season is by the second, V.E.N.O.M. agents knew the personal identities of the M.A.S.K. team, whereas V.E.N.O.M. did not know their identities during the first season. The second season lasted for only ten episodes. There is a storyline difference in the mini comic books which came with each toy. In the comics, Miles Mayhem knew the identity of Matt Trakker and had originally helped start the M.A.S.K. team but betrayed him later by killing Matt's younger brother Andy. This was very similar to the second series of the cartoon.

Due to the short-lived nature and new format of the racing series, many characters from the first season were given reduced roles to establish the new cast members and their vehicles, or to reintroduce older characters with new masks and vehicles. Buddy Hawks began using the name "Clutch" and gained a more prominent role with a double-act partnership with agent Boris "The Tzar" Bushkin. Matt Trakker and Miles Mayhem's rivalry remained strong, but the two usually only appeared in their own focus episodes. Other V.E.N.O.M. operations against M.A.S.K. agents were now exclusively handled by Vanessa Warfield.

The toyline's fourth and final wave went to one other variation, "Split Seconds", in which the vehicles sold under the line would split from one whole into two different vehicles for a M.A.S.K. pilot and his/her "clone" holographic partner (a transparent version of the same figure carried with the vehicle), but the cartoon was not renewed for the fourth wave. Besides the cartoon and toys, there were also various merchandising products like sticker books and comics to capitalize on the success of the show.

In the D.C. Comics series, the M.A.S.K. team is sponsored by an organization called the Peaceful Nations Alliance (PNA). Their exact relationship is never explained. The liaison between the P.N.A. and M.A.S.K. is Duane Kennedy. Duane and the P.N.A. did appear in the cartoon, although in a much more limited role in such episodes as "The Roteks" and "Assault On Liberty".

It is never made clear what sort of criminal organization V.E.N.O.M. is, exactly. They were not the typical world-conquering villains and their schemes mostly revolve around profiting from illegal activities and doing mercenary services. The comics tried to give them a more believable background. They appear to be the foot soldiers of an even higher evil organization called Contraworld. Like M.A.S.K. and P.N.A., their relationship is not explained, nor are Contraworld's larger goals.

M.A.S.K. Agents:

  • Matt "Hunter" Trakker - The Leader of M.A.S.K. as well as a multi-millionaire philanthropist.
  • Scott Trakker - The adopted son of Matt Trakker. His father raised him alone. He has great mechanical skills and is always upgrading his robot sidekick T-Bob with some new function.
  • T-Bob - The cowardly robot sidekick of Scott Trakker and can convert into a scooter. He was built by Scott. He likes making bad jokes and is easily frightened.
  • Bruce "Magic" Sato - Mechanical engineer and design specialist, and Matt Trakker's de facto second-in-command. Is of Japanese origin. Occupation: toy designer. He often talks in Confucian riddles that only Matt Trakker seems to understand.
  • Alex "Megabyte" Sector - Computer and communications expert and Zoology specialist. Hails from Britain. Occupation: veterinarian and exotic pet shop owner. As an action figure, Sector originally came with the Boulder Hill playset.
  • Dusty "Powderkeg" Hayes - Auto and marine stunt driver, all-terrain specialist and tracking and demolition expert. Occupation: pizza cook.
  • Gloria Baker - A champion race car driver and black-belt in kung fu. Occupation: racer/sensei.
  • Brad "Chopper" Turner - Expert hill climber, rock musician, motorcycle and helicopter pilot.
  • Hondo "Striker" MacLean - Weapons specialist and tactical strategist. Occupation: history teacher.
  • Buddie "Clutch" Hawks - A master of disguise and intelligence expert. Occupation: mechanic.
  • Calhoun "Stonewall" Burns -A construction and demolition specialist. He works as an architect and enjoys raising horses.
  • Jacques "Trailblazer" LeFleur -A natural disaster specialist and martial arts master. Occupation: lumberjack. Hometown: Québec, Canada.
  • Julio "Doc" Lopez - Expert in languages and cryptography. He is of Latino descent. Occupation: doctor.
  • Ace "Falcon" Riker - Former NASA test pilot. Works at a hardware store.
  • Boris "The Czar" Bushkin -A big, burly, bald, bearded Russian who was a former VENOM agent who defected to MASK.
  • "Chief" Nevada Rushmore - An American Indian and Matt Trakker's childhood friend.
  • Ali "Lightning" Bombay - An immigrant from Kandukar, India.

V.E.N.O.M Agents:

  • Miles "Wolf" Mayhem - The Big Bad. The leader of V.E.N.O.M. In the comics, he betrayed the original M.A.S.K. team by killing Andy Trakker, and stealing half of the masks for evil purposes. In the cartoon, the origin of V.E.N.O.M. is a lot less clear, though Mayhem's connections to M.A.S.K. remain the same as the comics, and that he co-created the organisation. Mayhem's catchphrase is "I oughta buy you a new face".
  • Sly "Wrecker" Rax - A con artist. In the comics, he has ambitions of replacing Miles as V.E.N.O.M. leader.
  • Cliff "Blaster" Dagger - Demolitions expert and strongman.
  • Vanessa Warfield - V.E.N.O.M.'s espionage and intelligence agent. Becomes the unofficial leader of the team by the beginning of the second season, and is one of few agents besides Mayhem to pilot Switchblade regularly when he is incapable of doing so as well as occasionally riding shotgun with Dagger in Jackhammer. Falls for Brad Turner in series finale "Cliff Hanger". Came THIS close to stealing a space shuttle in "The Everglades Oddity".
  • Bruno "Mad Dog" Sheppard - A kidnapping specialist and another strongman.
  • Nash "Goon" Gorey - Overeager and boot-licking henchman. In the comics, Gorey was initially a new recruit for M.A.S.K., but was revealed to be a mole working for V.E.N.O.M.
  • Lester "The Lizard" Sludge - A smarmy henchman with an annoying signature laugh. Almost succeeds in murdering Matt Trakker in "When Eagles Dare".
  • Floyd "Birdman" Malloy - Biker gangman and expert forger.
  • Maximus Mayhem - Weak-Willed twin brother of Miles Mayhem.

Twenty-five years after MASK left the airwaves, the line was "adopted" by G.I. Joe when a new Matt Trakker action figure was released as part of the Joe figure line under the name "Specialist Trakker", with a character bio explaining MASK and VENOM as special ops units of Joe and Cobra.

In 2011, Hasbro announced a re-imagining of the series, under the "UNIT: E" umbrella, which is supposed to be a shared universe containing Hasbro's more famous lines such as G.I. Joe, the Transformers, Jem, and others into one shared universe.

Not to be confused with The Mask, or the docudrama Mask starring Cher (it doesn't help that the latter film came out the same year).


M.A.S.K. contains the following tropes:

Notes

  1. and Japanese photography firm Trans Arts
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