MASK (1985) Explored – Beyond Awesome Underrated Cartoon About Special Force With Enhanced Vehicles

    In the 80s, cartoon shows based on shape-shifting vehicles and crime-fighting superheroes were becoming significantly popular. That is when we got this creative and incredible show known as MASK. With every episode, it takes its viewers through an unforgettable journey of extraordinary battles and fight sequences between the good guys and the bad guys. In fact, to provide special assistance, these superheroes also have their own specialized vehicles with code names that help them defeat their enemies.

    These heavily armored vehicles transform into even greater weapons during a fight and add a charm of their own to the series. MASK is an 80s classic cartoon series that gained such an immense fan base that it led to the creation of comics as well as three video games. In this video, we will be taking a closer look at everything that happens in this series. So, without further delay, let us dive right into the video and explore the fantastic world that MASK created.

    What was the show all about?

    What was the show all about

    MASK is a French and American animated tv series that was released in 1985 and ran for two seasons that contained a total of 75 episodes. The production companies that brought this thrilling series to life are DIC and ICC tv productions. It is based on a line of action figure vehicles that contain hidden weapons, which were produced by Cincinnati’s Kenner Products. The first season had 65 episodes, and it was directed by the French cartoonist Bruno Bianchi and Bernard Deyries and developed by the American television screenwriter Terrence McDonnell and Gary Warne. The second season took on a quite different theme and lasted only ten episodes.

    It was directed by Michael Maliani and developed by Jack Olesker. The series concluded towards the end of 1986. Despite having such a short run, when MASK initially aired, it was the first closed-captioned show that was released in the first run of syndication. MASK stands as an acronym for Mobile Armored Strike Kommand.

    The leader of this special task force is Matt Trakker. What is special about these guys is that they use their transforming armored vehicles and super-powered helmets known as masks to fight the criminal organization known as VENOM, which is an acronym for Vicious Evil Network of Mayhem. They attempt all kinds of crimes, from robbery to kidnapping, and MASK constantly engages in battles with them. The series quickly gained a fan base after its inception and became one of the most popular cartoons of the 1980s.

    Exploring the initial episodes and the overall story arc

    Exploring the initial episodes and the overall story arc

    The very first episode of the series starts with an incredible outer space look. It is titled “The Deathstone” and we see a meteor crashing on Earth in a barren area. When the meteor makes contact with the infertile land, it glows, and then suddenly plants start growing around the area. After a while, the military personnel and scientists arrive to assess the situation and discover that the meteor is extremely radioactive.

    It looks like this meteor possesses life-giving radioactive energy that can be used to cure the lives of millions of people faster than ever before. The scientist who is documenting the entire situation is suddenly taken aback when a yellow light glows out of nowhere. A strange UFO appears and takes away the meteor. Just then, a bulky-looking man in a radioactive suit tries to attack the scientist who has been recording everything. Her camera now contains proof regarding the UFO, and the man tries to destroy it, but she successfully escapes with the camera in her jeep.

    He alerts his companion, who is waiting in his vehicle at the top of a hill. He shoots lasers from his car at the scientist, and her jeep loses a tire. She ends up falling off the cliff into a river with her jeep and is assumed to be dead by the enemies. However, we soon see her waking up inside a mansion and she is introduced as Professor Stevens. As it turns out, she is at Matt Trakker’s house, and his reputation clearly precedes him since Professor Stevens is aware that he is the only one who can help her.

    The professor shows Matt Trakker the videotape, and he uses his specialized computer system to analyze it. The computer responds to Trakker and tells him that the UFO is fake and the ones responsible for stealing the meteor are VENOM. Matt then tells the computer to select the best agents for this mission. In an instant, the members of MASK start receiving the mask signal through their watches.

    Brad Turner, a motorcycle and helicopter pilot, steps off the stage in the middle of a performance. Bruce Sato, a mechanical engineer, and mechanical specialist leaves his office when he sees the watch alert. Alex Sector, a computer and communications expert, leaves his customer alone with his snake. Hondo McLean, a weapon specialist, and tactical strategist walks out in the middle of taking a class full of students. Dusty Hayes, an auto and marine stunt driver, drops his pizza dough on the ground and runs. Buddy Hawks, a master of disguise and an intelligence expert, stops pumping gas and immediately runs out of the gas station.

    They all head toward the mask headquarters and so does Trakker. At the same time, Trakker’s young son Scott Trakker, and his robot, T-Bob, also decide to help MASK with their mission and follow Trakker to the headquarters without his permission. On the other hand, at the headquarters of VENOM, Miles Mayhem, its founder and leader, is testing the meteor’s power on a few plants. When they successfully grow, he cuts the meteor into three pieces, and it results in the release of destructive radiation, which destroys all the plants.

    Miles now decides to use the three pieces for his benefit and names them the Deathsones. He orders the VENOM members, Cliff Dagger and Sly Rax, to notify interested countries that the bidding for this lethal weapon begins at 50 million dollars. Now, at Boulder Hill, the headquarters of MASK, they use the radiation tracking satellite to discover the location of the meteor. Then, Matt clicks a button and immediately the ceiling opens up to produce super-powered masks for the entire MASK team.

    They head out in their respective vehicles in pursuit of the meteor. Soon Matt realizes that the radiation signature appears to be moving in three different directions. This is because Miles has put the meteor pieces in three separate trucks. MASK splits up, and Miles, in his vehicle named Switchblade, attacks Brad’s vehicle called Condor and Hondo’s vehicle called the Firecracker. The Condor then turns from a car into a helicopter, and Brad uses a hologram projection to confuse Miles’s missile into targeting back to Switchblade, but Miles is able to dodge it.

    Now, Scott and T-Bob are hiding in the trunk of Firecracker when Cliff Dagger attacks Hondo in his vehicle called Jackhammer. At the same time, Hondo is also about to crash into Bruce’s vehicle called the Rhino. He saves himself but Scott ends up getting thrown off the Firecracker and is now exposed in front of the enemy. Cliff heads toward Scott and Dusty saves him with the help of his vehicle called the Gator which releases a beam called Electric Ouch and puts Cliff to sleep.

    However, their troubles are still not over because Miles shoots another missile. Brad destroys it using Condor’s anti-matter beam, but the remains of the missile end up injuring Hondo when he jumps on top of Scott to save his life. Scott feels bad about this and asks T-Bob to transform into a motorscooter to go after VENOM. They follow Miles and a few VENOM members to a dock where Miles is about to sell one piece of the Deathstone. So, Scott decides to jump into the Switchblade to contact his father.

    He accidentally ends up turning it on, but he does not know how to fly that thing. Miles and the others are shocked, and in order to save themselves, the VENOM members end up in the water. Just then, Scott jumps out of the Switchblade and lets it crash. T-Bob then drives VENOM’s truck and heads home along with Scott. Now, Dagger is meeting another Deathstone buyer at the airport, and Brad switches Condor from conventional mode to Laser-Guided Jet Mode to pursue him. He heads out at Mach 1 speed and successfully secures the meteor piece.

    Sly Rax in his vehicle called the Piranha heads towards the ocean for the trading of the last piece of the meteor. Dusty arrives and converts Gator into a hydroplane and goes after Rax. He then uses Gator’s Freeze Gun and freezes both Rax and the buyer in mid-trade. Then, Dusty very casually takes the meteor piece from then and heads back to the MASK headquarters. Now, Matt is still under the impression that Miles was able to sell the first piece of the meteor. So, he goes after them in his vehicle called the Thunderhawk when he is attacked by Miles.

    In order to defend himself, Matt launches a missile that ends up disrupting the control of Miles’s plane. He returns to the headquarters empty-handed and disappointed that he could not retrieve one piece of the meteor. But soon, Scott arrives with that missing piece. As it turns out, the truck he and T-Bob stole from the VENOM still had the meteor inside. Professor Stevens then reassembles the meteor into one. She uses it on Hondo and he immediately wakes up with his health restored to its perfect shape.

    However, after its use on Hondo, the meteor appears to have lost its power and has now become a regular stone. The episode comes to an end with Miles Mayhem giving the assurance that next time, he will be victorious. So, let us see what he now tries with his evil VENOM organization in the second episode that is titled “The Star Chariot.”

    The story begins with an introduction to a tribe chief known as John Slow Eagle. He is attacked by Miles Mayhem and other VENOM members. Apparently, the VENOM team is after an object known as the emerald arrowhead. It belongs to an ancient tribe and is passed down from one chief to the next. But the tribe has long since disappeared and John Slow Eagle is probably the last chief, so VENOM assumes that he must be in possession of the emerald arrowhead.

    However, after scanning him with his mask, he realizes that Eagle is currently not carrying it. They torture him with their weapons and get him to reveal that he gave that emerald arrowhead to his grandson, Daniel. Eagle then goes to Matt Trakker for help and informs him of the situation. Apparently, Daniel and his mother are with Matt’s son Scott at the moment, fishing at Canyon Creek, Arizona. Realizing the urgency of the new mission, Matt immediately asks his computer to select the MASK agents best suited for this mission.

    This time, the mask signal calls Bruce Sato, Alex Sector, Dusty Hayes, and for the first time Gloria Baker, who is the only female agent of MASK. She is a champion race driver and a black belt in kung fu. Now, at the creek, Scott, Daniel, and T-Bob are fishing together. It looks like Scott is the only one who has managed to catch a fish. Daniel comes from a long line of Indian Chiefs but fails to catch any, so to cheer him up, Scott gives his fish to Daniel. Now, as a show of friendship based on the tradition in his tribe, Daniel gave Scott his emerald arrowhead to wear until the setting sun.

    The kids are unaware that VENOM has arrived to steal that very emerald away from them. Apparently, Miles believes that the emerald arrowhead will lead him to the star chariot. They attack Scott since he is the one wearing it. Soon after, MASK arrives and engages in a battle with the criminals. A new VENOM member, Vanessa Warfield, attacks Gloria from the sky in her vehicle called the Manta. But Gloria uses her super-powered mask and sends Manta spinning away.

    On the other hand, the two kids, Scott and Daniel, are still being chased by some other VENOM members, and they decide to split up. Cliff Dagger comes to cause trouble once again as he abducts Scott. When Matt tries to chase after them, he is interrupted by Miles and his Switchblade. At the same time, Daniel goes to the lake to inform her mom about Scott, and VENOM attacks them by entrapping them in a massive circle of fire. So, Dusty uses Gator and Matt uses his super-powered mask called Spectrum to get the mother and son to safety.

    Now, at the VENOM headquarters, they have tied Scott’s hands, and Miles Mayhem has finally acquired the other half of the emerald arrowhead that he has been looking for, for the past ten years. That sure is a lot of dedication. He has an ancient Indian tapestry whose symbols indicate that the emerald arrowhead will point the way to the star chariot. It is an alien spacecraft that got buried beneath the desert a thousand years ago. Despite having many advanced vehicles of his own, Miles wants to tap into the incredible propulsion system of that alien technology to produce a new generation of venom vehicles.

    The VENOM team heads toward Mesa Verde National Park, where MASK agents are already waiting for them. After arriving, they spot the star chariot and MASK follows them. Both teams realize that the way to the star chariot is full of booby traps. Gloria uses her mask to save the MASK agents from giant rolling cylindrical blocks, but she is unable to save Scott and T-Bob. They ended up getting crushed by it, so the MASK agents think. VENOM then reaches inside the star chariot before MASK. So, Bruce uses Rhino’s powers to blind the enemy with huge rays of light.

    When VENOM tries to escape, Matt uses Spectrum to trap them inside. However, Miles Mayhem brings his Switchblade and manages to escape out of the tunnel with the other VENOM members. Just then, Scott and T-Bob appear in front of the star chariot and tell the team that they were somehow taken to an alien planet. It looks like the star chariot holds secrets that even the crime-fighting heroes are unaware of. The star chariot automatically vanishes in thin air in the next second as if it never existed. The episode comes to an end as the MASK agents safely secure the two pieces of the emerald arrowhead.

    All about V.E.N.O.M – the ruthless Criminal organization

    All about V.E.N.O.M - the ruthless Criminal organization

    VENOM is the main antagonist in the series and the name stands for Vicious Evil Network of Mayhem. They are known for committing countless major crimes and are always causing trouble in the city with their evil plans. Now let us take a look at some of the members of this criminal organization.

    Miles Mayhem

    Miles Mayhem

    The character of Miles Mayhem is voiced by Brendan McKane. As we know, he is the leader and founder of VENOM. Surprisingly, both the heroes and the criminals have a lot of things in common, such as the fact that they both use high-tech advanced vehicles as well as super-powered masks. This is because long ago, Miles used to work with Matt Trakker and his brother Andy Trakker.

    Together they developed MASK’s technology. But soon, Miles murdered Andy and took half of the technology to establish his own criminal organization. Ever since then, he has been on a constant quest to gain more power and rise above the MASK agents. His code name is Wolf, and he is mostly seen using the mask known as Viper.

    In the first season, he uses the vehicle Switchblade which is primarily a blue assault helicopter but also transforms into a stealth blue jet fighter. For weapons, Switchblade contains lasers and torpedo bomb launchers. In the second season, he uses a different vehicle that is called the Buzzard. It is a formula one race car that can be split into three parts. The sides transform into vehicles, whereas the center becomes a jet piloted by a throne. And for weapons, it has meltor cannons and hang gliders.

    Cliff Dagger

    Cliff Dagger

    Cliff is the VENOM member who can be considered the dumbest on the team. Miles hardly ever trusts him, but what Cliff lacks in wits, he makes up for with his strong muscular body. His character is voiced by Mark Halloran. He always wears an eye patch and his code name is Blaster since he is quite good at smashing and destroying things. He uses the mask known as the Torch and it allows him to shoot large amounts of fire. His vehicle Jackhammer is a Ford Bronco 4×4 that can transform into a mobile assault unit equipped with a machine gun turret and dual front machine guns.

    Sly Rax

    Sly Rax

    Mark Halloran also provides the voice for the character of Sly Rax. His code name is Wrecker, and ironically, he is the team member who tends to slake off on his job. He is also pretty stubborn because he wants things to go his way and throws hands when they do not.

    He often works alongside Cliff on the missions but considers himself to be superior to him. He uses the mask known as Stiletto whose powers are quite unique. It transforms the dust in the air into sharp carbon darts and allows Sly to shoot them at high speed. It will also enable Sly to breathe underwater for short periods of time. His vehicle Piranha is a motorcycle with a sidecar. Although it might appear to be simple, the sidecar can actually transform into a detachable submarine. It is equipped with water cannons and hidden ground torpedoes.

    Vanessa Warfield

    Vanessa Warfield

    Vanessa is the only female member of VENOM. She is the most ruthless fighter and has never shown mercy to an enemy. Her dedication is reflected in her arrogant personality and fighting certainly gives her a lot of pleasure. Her relationship with other team members is not that great and she often teases Sly with the rudest comments. When it comes to competition, she never backs down.

    Vanessa’s code name is Ice Queen and her character is voiced by Sharon Noble. She uses the mask known as the Whip and it creates an energy whip through which she can harm her enemies without even physically touching them. Her vehicle, Manta is primarily a lavender Nissan 300Z sports car that can quickly transform into a stealth jet fighter. It is equipped with trident missiles, grill cannons, laser blasters, and magazine guns. It indeed is a very well-put-together vehicle.

    Matt Trakker – the man who stood up against evil

    Matt Trakker - the man who stood up against evil

    The character of Matt Trakker is voiced by Doug Stone, who also gave voices to some of the main MASK agents like Bruce Sato, Hondo McLean, and Dusty Hayes, among others. As we know, Matt is the leader and founder of Mobile Armored Strike Kommand. After Miles Mayhem stole half of the MASK’s technology, Matt decided to honor the memories and work of his brother Andy by creating MASK, a team of specialized agents.

    He is always seen as the primary source of information regarding the misdoings of VENOM. As a philanthropist, he makes use of all of his powers and wealth in order to protect his city. Through the use of his high-tech computer, he sends signals to other MASK agents via their watches and assembles his team every time a new mission appears. As their leader, he makes sure to create a risk-free game plan but also respects the inputs and individual thoughts of his fellow team members.

    One could say he is possibly the most caring leader as he chooses to keep the risky tasks for himself in order to protect his team from danger. In the first episode, when Hondo was injured, Matt seemed to have taken it personally as he failed to save him. However, he is also a person who does not ignore his immediate responsibilities and always remains true to his team by being honest no matter what.

    Apart from his superhero responsibilities, he is also a loving and caring father to Scott Trakker and makes sure to give him time as well. Matt’s code name is Hunter, and it fits him perfectly since he constantly hunts down VENOM and puts an end to their evil plans. He primarily uses the mask known as Spectrum. It allows Matt to create as well as control light while also giving him control over other sources of energy. In the second episode, this feature of the mask allowed him to freely fly in the air when he rescued Daniel and his mother.

    In the first season, he uses the vehicle Thunderhawk, which is a red Chevrolet Camaro sports car in its conventional mode. Its doors can open upwards, making it look like an airplane gull wing to transform into a jet fighter plane. It is equipped with lasers and missile launchers, and also has an auto pilot mode. In the second season, Matt uses a vehicle known as Goliath 1. In its conventional mode, Goliath 1 is a formula race car that can transform into a jet fighter. It allows Matt to use blaster guns and slicker missiles.

    Marvelous Verdict – why was the show so special?

    Marvelous Verdict - why was the show so special

    At a time when the show was being produced, the audience already had the toy version of it. It can only be a child’s dream come true to actually get to watch their favorite toys in action on their screens. The show takes its fair share of inspiration from Transformers and G.I. Joe, but at the same time, stays true to its own storyline of crime-fighting agents against a crime-loving organization.

    The world of MASK takes its audience through everything from high-class adventure and fighting sequences to in-depth characterizations of superheroes as well as enemies. What is even more special about the show is that each episode ends with a safety tip from the heroes for the kids watching it at home. It gives the series a realistic touch. For example, at the end of the first episode, Matt, Scott, and T-Bob warn their audience to always look both ways before crossing a street.

    Even though it lasted only for two seasons, MASK certainly fulfilled its task of creating a show that never disappointed its viewers. In fact, since 2016, there have also been rumors suggesting that a feature film of MASK could be developed. So, it looks like we will just have to wait to find out if it is going to be true or not.

    Well, guys, that is all for today; we hope you enjoyed watching this video as much as we enjoyed making it for you. Have a fantastic day ahead!

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