I suppose since Mainframe didn’t include any weapons, one could assume he might be a pacifist along the lines of Lifeline. However, he breaks the stereotype for what you’d consider a computer specialist. He’s former Airborne and reinlisted as a Marine, and as the file card states, “He’s got brains–but he’s hard.”
Though the technology that he carries seems quaint and out of date today, in 1986 this was high tech stuff. There were no laptops, smartphones or handheld GPS back then. I can remember a “portable” computer that my father brought home from work back then. It was similar in size to Mainframe’s, had a monochrome monitor built into one end, and probably weighed forty pounds. Now imagine hefting that around the battlefield. Yikes.
Mainframe had a line in Arise Serpentor Arise that struck me. While he and Dial-Tone were being berated by Beachhead for playing a video game while on guard duty, he mentioned learning in Vietnam to avoid the “thousand yard stare” by diverting one’s attention. The reference to a historical war (excuse me, conflict) took me by surprise. While the GI Joe comic of the 80’s recalled Vietnam often, I can’t recall other instances than this one in the Sunbow cartoon. Just a neat little aside, and a nod to his file card background as well.
I remember at the time this figure looked so different from anything in previous years, a common feeling I had about the ’86 figures in general. Mainframe certainly had a lot of “stuff” attached to his uniform. However, it’s not pointless sculpted bits, but rather parts that he could need for field repairs of computer equipment. That’s no surprise, considering that a computer specialist could need quick access to components. After all, you can’t just run to the Trucial Abysmia Radio Shack while on a mission. But again, don’t let appearances deceive, as his Marine Corps background is on display on both his helmet and belt buckle.