Kevin O’Neill, Mick McMahon, Brendan McCarthy, Dave Gibbons, Carlos Ezquerra, Simon Bisley, Brett Ewins, SMS
Peter Knight, John Aldrich, Tom Knight, Dave Gibbons, Steve Potter, Jack Potter, Steve Parkhouse
Release date: May 8
ABC Warriors created by Pat Mills, Kevin O’Neill, Mick McMahon and Brendan McCarthy
It was 1979 when ABC Warriors started and re-reading this it brings conflicting recollections. This isn’t the first re-read, I’ve re-read the Progs that these stories were originally printed in several times. This is the first time I’ve read these stories this century though.
So conflicted recollections? 1979 was during my childhood but I recollect these stories from my teens as well.
I’m reviewing this from a PDF so I can’t comment directly on what the pages look like. However what i can tell you is that this isn’t resized or recoloured. It is presented in the original size. Unedited, so the original titles are there, the ‘next prog’ boxes are there. So also no lettering appears to have been moved, no touch ups.
Frankly on-screen it looks great so it is down to the paper stock. I think this’ll look great.
There are a few spoilers below but they are fairly mild.
The story starts with Hammerstein in the ‘present’ with his Ro-Busters head. He’s escorting some old Meks to the site of the last battle of the Volgan War. He slips in to reminiscing about his last mission at the end of the war. We meet Happy Shrapnel and Joe Pineapples.
They are recruited by a mysterious officer for a secret mission. One by one they collect other robots for their mission. Mongrol, who fights for the dead girl who rebuilt him and died for him. Deadlock, the Grand Wizard of the Knights Martial. General Blackblood, a Volgan robot that was rumoured to drink the oil of the robots he killed. Steelhorn, the indestructible robot.
Their mysterious officer is revealed to be Colonel Lash and their mission is to go to the colony on Mars and bring some order. Which given that Deadlock worships Khaos that’s a tad ironical.
The obvious comparison might be Seven Samurai or the US adaptation Magnificent Seven. After all the term Meknificent Seven has certainly been used.
The character designs of the ABC Warriors are brilliant. I met them, as I said in the introduction, in 1979; I was eleven, almost twelve. Mongrol’s doomed love story and the evil Blackblood were my favourites at the time. Not to say I didn’t like the others but those two opposites struck a chord. Both their visual designs and their motivations fired my imagination.
These stories are about robots but they explore what it is to be human.
I find it hard to consider whether these stories are dated. That’s partly as I re-read them at different ages perhaps. My gut instinct is that the only dated part is that they are aimed at children when 2000AD is now aimed more at an adult audience.
Most of the art is really excellent. I can imagine that some won’t like the switching from colour to black and white but certainly for those that are reliving the stories. Those of us reliving these stories most likely appreciate it, though again I can’t be sure as I’d prefer to see stories as originally published even if I hadn’t previously read them.
Much of the art is really good. I love Dave Gibbons work and many people don’t remember that he used to letter his art himself – though it got a big mention in my Interview With Jim Campbell. Dave Gibbons has inspired many an Artist and Letterer.
This is a very nice collection and I really enjoyed re-reading these classics.