In the 21st century, warfare has become too tough for humans.
War droids such as the A.B.C. Warriors are sent into battle
instead! Sergeant Hammer-Stein is ordered by his human commander
to assemble a crack squad of the most fearsome robots ever
volume collects the earliest of the A.B.C. Warriors
strips, originally printed in 2000
AD progs 119-139, way back in 1979.
bulk of the artwork chores are handled by the prolific Mike
McMahon, although some early work by Kevin (Nemesis)
O'Neill, Brendan (Skin) McCarthy, Brett (Bad Company)
Ewins, Dave (Watchmen) Gibbons and Carlos (Strontium
Dog) Ezquerra can also be seen in this eclectic mixed
bag. McCarthy's art had yet to mature at this stage of his
career, looking rather overcrowded and lacking in depth of
field. The same can be said of the pages drawn by Ewins, whose
style evidently inspired McCarthy. However, McMahon's instalments,
stylised though they are, remain as uncluttered as ever.
writer anthropomorphises his robots, but then he does so to
make a point. As usual, there is a moral aspect to Mills'
script, though it isn't rammed down your throat. The droids
represent the ordinary soldiers who suffer the hardships of
war, including death, while their human superiors represent
the officers who command from a safe distance and reap all
the glory. There are lighter moments of satire, too, as when
General Blackblood quotes from Monty Python's Spanish Inquisition
being a 2000 AD tale, the episodes are packed with
hyperbole and sensationalism. Each time Hammer-Stein wins
over a new member to his squad, there follows a cliffhanger
in which his superior informs him that the next recruit will
be "much more difficult!"
in many of his scripts, Mills cross-refers to the wider mythology
of 2000 AD. The A.B.C. Warriors is itself a
prequel to Ro-Busters, which starred a post-war Hammer-Stein.
This volume features the tyrannosaur Golgotha - the son of
Satanus, who appeared in both Flesh and Judge Dredd.
It also ties in the Volgan war from Invasion, although
this conflict is merely the starting point for this saga...
strips originally took pride of place across the four-colour
centrefold of the comic, so it's a pity that these spreads
have been reproduced in black and white only. Some of the
details from the centre of the double-page spreads have also
unfortunately been lost, because the binding is different
to that of a stapled comic. Apart from these quibbles, however,
the appeal of this graphic novel is as clear as A.B.C.
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