Deep within the secret headquarters of a certain toy company, executives eyed the success of Hasbro's relaunched GI JOE toy line with envy. We need our own line of 3.75 inch action figures, they said. Also that Transformers thing is big so we need some kind of transforming action to happen with these toys. And kids love cars, so they need to be cars. Kids love masks, so definitely masks have to be part of this equation. Action figures with masks and transforming cars. Got ya. Also we need a really exciting name that captures all the thrills of masked transforming automobiles. Here's a lot of money, come up with a really exciting name!

And that's what they came up with. M.A.S.K. was indeed a toy line and a cartoon and a licensed comic book from our good pals at DC who handed the job to longtime comic book veterans, all of whom have done more interesting work. On the other hand, everybody got paid for this.

So buckle up for seventy-five cents worth of amazing M.A.S.K. action!

First stop, America's prison-industrial complex where we're about to see the abuses of this corporate-run modern slave system exposed, right? Come on, that's not what kids want to see. This is a comic book based on a toy line and we need to make sure we're focused on what our target audience is interested in.

Nothing grabs that vital 7-10 year old market like three old guys standing around talking about their dentures! These are special high-tech microminaturized power-sourced dentures too!

Christ now I can't think of anything other than Curt Swan taking his plate out and using it for reference. Brush your teeth, kids

Hey, having false teeth isn't all bad, if you're smart enough to install a powerful laser beam in one of the molars! That's DEFINITELY something I want installed in my teeth and pointed at my brain.

These kids today think that THEY were the first generation to obsess over "Lord Of The Rings"? Sorry you punks, nerds twice your age were boring their children with "The Hobbit" before you were even born!

Bad news Matt! Parenting and/or conjugal visitation for tonight is cancelled because Venom's broken out of jail and is heading for the germ warfare research center and for some reason the Army and security personnel have taken the day off so it's up to us to save the day. Be sure to leave lasting scars of abandonment on your child before you head out!

Harry Chapin's bittersweet song "Cat's In The Cradle" softly plays as Single Dad leaves his child in the care of an unfeeling robot. I'll make it up to you son, I promise!

Meanwhile the kid is relieved to have one blessed night away from "The Hobbit"

Children, please sort through your immense collection of M.A.S.K. toys and assemble today's strike team, consisting of Dad's RV, Stephen King's Christine, and the Super Stock edition of Rick Deckard's "Blade Runner" Spin Car, piloted by an expert team of doctors, history teachers, and hardware store managers.

Witness this amazing example of the fantastic action/adventure inherent in M.A.S.K. - two groups of people wearing clunky masks standing around, shooting force beams at each other. Sounds great huh kids? Kids?

PEW PEW PEW. I think the forces of justice are winning. Or maybe the evil team is. I can't tell. Perhaps one side or the other could think about implementing a coherent design element, or an identifying color scheme. Branding, they call it. Sometimes it helps.

Rather than just shoot the enemy with the powerful force beam installed in his mask, or with, you know, a firearm, our evil V.E.N.O.M. mask-man uses his ultra-scientific "mask" to lift a heavy object and attempt to hit his enemy with it. Nothing says advanced scientific weapons system like "emulating what a caveman would do", I always say!

Look if there's anything kids like more than seeing guys in masks standing around staring at each other, I don't want to know what it is!

"Hey, I TRIED to explain that we don't stockpile germ-warfare weapons any more! I SWORE UP AND DOWN ON A STACK OF BIBLES! Why don't you believe me? I'm from the government!"

It's a long way from germ warfare research to zap-beams that create energy duplicates of V.E.N.O.M. operatives, but you know how these government agencies get when there isn't enough oversight.

Hovering over the city like giant evil Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade balloons, the energy duplicates cause minor annoyance to thousands! They must be stopped!

Toy designer: "So get this fellas - it's a car with gull-wing doors, and - HERE'S THE AWESOME PART - it FLIES! What? No, we won't change anything else about the car. It's still a really boring boxy 1980s car. Kids today want their techno fantasy as firmly grounded in reality as possible. At least my kids do."

Unclear as to whether this is a panel of normal sized flying cars attacking Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade balloons, or normal sized people in high-tech masks being attacked by children's toys. Or if it matters, really.

Didn't get your fill of panels of giant energy versions of V.E.N.O.M. floating around in the air? This comic is here to make sure you do. FUN FACT: power outages sometimes make NORAD think a nuclear war is happening. NORAD needs to chill

I question the wisdom of the 'permissive action links' that allow some one-star Air Force screwhead to launch nuclear Armageddon solely on the basis of problems with the telephones. But that's the Cold War for you, I guess.

It's reassuring to know that even at the height of Reagan-era tension with the Russians, we were diplomatic enough to pretend that America's nuclear might wasn't aimed at the Soviet Union but at some completely bogus... I don't even know what a "Contra-World" is. A world of Contras, I guess. I know that video game certainly had its fans!

Hey, history is made as M.A.S.K. and V.E.N.O.M. team up to F.I.G.H.T. the E.N.E.R.G.Y. B.E.I.N.G.S J.E.S.U.S. T.H.I.S. I.S. A.N.N.O.Y.I.N.G.

Luckily all energy beings can be tied up with electrical cable. If they'd done this on page five we could all be back home snug in our beds listening to Dad complain about Tom Bombadil being left out of the movies.

And when you short circuit energy beings they disappear in a big VZZAAKT, and NORAD suddenly realizes they have doomed all humanity because they're kind of stupid.

THE ENTIRE EARTH IS DOOMED! Don't look so surprised General, this is actually all your fault; this is actually what happens when you fire dozens of ICBMs at the USSR or Contra-World or whoever has the ICBMS to shoot back. Maybe trying staying awake during those briefings sometime, huh?

If only an entire flight of nuclear-tipped ballistic missiles could be destroyed by one guy in a semi-truck! Wouldn't that be great, knowing world peace was in the hands of long-haul truck drivers? I know I'd sleep better nights.

And there's a big explosion as enough nuclear warheads to blow the Earth out of its orbit are detonated above the North Pole... but, there's a word balloon with dialogue saying "all danger of nuclear fallout has been eliminated." So everything is just fine! There's no fallout and we aren't starting WWIII because the phones were out and we aren't doing anything with any sort of germ warfare. Not at all. Buy more toys.

Looks like M.A.S.K. and V.E.N.O.M.'s little teamup is going to have serious repercussions for Matt Trakker and his M.A.S.K. team! The Senate will begin a thorough investigation, just as soon as they get done reviewing the testimony of Ed Meese's porn commission report, and after they're finished investigating possible Satanic messages in rock music. Might take a while. Congress was very serious in the 1980s!

So that's M.A.S.K. - as we all know Kenner's toy line faded into memory along with the Cher movie with Eric Stolz and craniodiaphyseal dysplasia, and soon would merely exist as dusty toys lining the antique malls of an uncaring America. Will Hasbro succeed in inserting M.A.S.K. characters into their rebooted GI Joe line? Will V.E.N.O.M. again menace the nation with their high-tech dentures? Only time will tell!