M.A.S.K. (Mobile Armored Strike Kommand) was an animated television series directed by several uncredited Japanese studios, KK C&D Asia, Studio Juno, Studio World, Ashi Production (now called Production Reed), and produced by the French-American DIC Enterprises, Inc (Jean Chalopin & Andy Heyward) and also the toyline of the same name sold by Kenner.
A total of 75 syndicated episodes of M.A.S.K. were broadcast from 1985 to 1986. One of many cartoons produced during the 1980s as a vehicle for toy merchandising, M.A.S.K. (which is an acronym for the M obile A rmored S trike K ommand), 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 V icious E vil N etwork o f M ayhem), 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. 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.
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