One of the most violent and funny comics is “The Mask.” While not being a huge success despite spawning a movie, it does have its fans. It has also spawned some crossovers, especially with the team from DC comics. Not three of those stories are available in “Dark Horse Comics/DC Comics: The Mask” which sounds amazing, but despite one story, it’s underwhelming.
The first story is the four issue “Joker/Mask” by Henry Gilroy and Ronnie Del Carmen and artists Ramon F. Bachs, Howard M. Shum, Steve Dutro and Dave McCaig where The Joker steals The Mask in a museum and puts it on. This causes him to, basically, become invincible and The Joker thinks the best way to use his new powers is to take over a TV station and run his own shows. The idea of The Joker having the power of The Mask is scary and this story does sort of show what he can do with it, but not quite. While he does cause a lot of destruction, there is a whole lot of stuff that The Joker could have done with that power and he doesn’t. Not to mention how he gets The Mask off is a little cheap. The art may look too cartoony for some, but since this is “The Mask” it’s par for the course. This is the best of the three.
Next is “Grifter and the Mask” by Steven T. Seagle with art by Luciano Lima, Joe Pimentel, Cary Porter and Clem Robins (two issues.) This is about anti-gun activist Paul Newman (not the actor) who goes to Las Vegas to ruin a gun expo. Grifter is also there and when Newman finds and puts on The Mask all hell breaks loose. This one is pretty mediocre with the issue being the better written of the two issues. The second issue is one big fight that seemed like it should have ended with Grifter dying by how many explosions there are. The art is just the generic 90s DC artwork that doesn’t stand out at all. Also, this is the second time they do a lumberjack joke, but the one in “Joker/Mask” was a lot better since it was The Joker singing “The Lumberjack Song” from “Monty Python.”
Now for the weakest entry, “Lobo and the Mask” by John Arcudi and Alan Grant with artists Doug Mahnke, Keith Williams, Francesco Ponzi, Shok Studios and Ken Lopez. A small-time thief finds The Mask puts it on after being attacked by aliens. Meanwhile, Lobo is hired to kill The Mask and manages to find the thief and starts a fight. That’s pretty much what happens throughout both issues: Lobo and the Thief fighting. Editor Dan Raspler even makes a joke in one panel saying that Acudi and Grant didn’t come up with enough story and there’ll be nothing but violence. It goes on way too long with the reader losing interest by the end of the first issue. While the jokes in this are the best, they also lose steam quickly. While the art is better than the previous story, it’s still nothing above OK.
“Dark Horse Comics/DC Comics: The Mask” has one great story and two mediocre ones. This is really worth getting only for the first one and the other two are there purely if you’re curious to see long, drawn out fight scenes with little plot.