Written by Pat Mills
Art by Clint Langley
Lettering by Annie Parkhouse
Format: Hardcover – 96 pages – Colour and Black and White interiors
Published by Rebellion for 2000AD
The Story: Mars, the far future. Tasked with increasing the peace on the war-ravaged Red Planet, the A.B.C. Warriors are reunited with one of their oldest number – the mechanic known as Tubal Caine AKA Happy Shrapnel. As Happy explains how he died and was subsequently resurrected by Medusa (the planetary consciousness). Happy’s story exposes the identity of the villain responsible for most of the trouble on Mars – ‘the father of all A.B.C. Warriors’ needs to be executed, and the Warriors are going to need the help of another old ally to carry out the mission…
The Review: Return To Mars is a story told in flashback sequences that ran through progs in the weekly version of 2000AD in 2014, bringing the story of these warrior robots up to date and leading into a tale that will tie in more heavily with the up coming Ro-Busters adventure.
Pat Mills, Clint Langley and company once more create a world that is both horribly barbaric and reflective of real world wars. Life is cheap and the field of war is explored in brutal heavy metal sci-fi combat. As with much of this saga, every page is beautifully rendered in frighteningly sharp-edged detail.
At once mainstream and underground, it wrenches emotion from the reader. Every turn on the page reveals visceral linework, dialogue and über violence and counterpoints this with a deep vein of sadness.
In his prologue Pat Mills speaks to the exploration of the history of these characters. The ABC Warriors are old friends: we have followed their lives for year after year. It is this rich history that is one of the aspects that allow us to feel for these characters and the sadness and remorseless ferociousness of the wars they are fighting. The realities of a far-flung space war are thrown back into our faces in the comparisons that can be made to modern warfare, in Syria for example, and beyond.
“We’re here to increase the peace.”
A book like this is no light reading experience. It challenges you like a mixing up of a mystical Siefried Sassoon and a savage Philip K. Dick. The combination of Mills and Langley is a wonderfully grotesque shot of lysergic acid straight into your eyeball. At moments dreamlike and mist shrouded it soon runs full tilt at thrash metal whirling predatory conflict. It has an epic reach that is echoing throughout the Millsverse area of 2000AD mythos. I look forward to the story expansions of these combat robots that are happening currently in Savage and soon in Ro-Busters.
• ABC Warriors: Return to Mars is due out on the 8th of May 2015 and I urge you to grab a copy. You can buy a copy from all good comic and book stores and through the 2000AD website www.2000ADonline.com or follow them on Facebook and Twitter @2000AD
• You can find Clint Langley picking the oil from his teeth or over at his website www.clintlangley.com
Here are some preview pages and many thanks for reading.