01/05/2010. Contributed by Eamonn Murphy
pub: 2000AD/Rebellion. 96 page hardback graphic novel. Price: £13.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-906735-23-4).
check out websites: www.2000adonline.com and www.rebellion.co.uk
Mars in the future and Volkhan is imprisoned in Broadband Asylum. He was chief robot of the Volgan Republic but is now 'a shadow of his former self'. Elsewhere on the red planet are some ABC Warriors who fought on opposite sides in the Volgan War but are now united on a mission to rescue Zippo, a special forces robot many of them met in the past.
Volume One featured three warriors reminiscing about the Volgan War, which took place on Earth around 2080, between America and the Volgan Republic. The war was fought by both humans and an assortment of mechanical warriors who are sentient and intelligent. They know the truth. Says one, reminiscing, 'We're not going to make the Volgan Republic safe for democracy' I told my boys. 'We are here for one reason alone. Oil. But we're still going to fight because that's how we're programmed.'
Blackblood, a very naughty robot on the Volgan side, remembers Vladivostok 2081 when he slaughtered American Hammersteins and captured one Colonel Leyton. Reading the Colonel's diary, he found a mention of the general public. Blackblood misunderstands and becomes obsessed with finding General Public, especially when he is mentioned later by two Volgan engineers who are deliberately sabotaging the robots they build. This crappy 'joke' does not greatly detract from the rest of the story.
Next, Deadlock remembers. He was leader of the Knights Martial who operated from a satellite called the Watchtower, beaming pictures of Volgan troop movements to the allies. Part of their remit is to try war criminals and mete out punishment. As robots are forbidden by international law to reproduce, Volkhan commits a criminal act when he makes a 'son'. Deadlock is sent to sort things out and he too encounters the mysterious Zippo.
The story by Pat Mills is pretty good. The art is absolutely mind-boggling. Every panel is a glorious detailed full colour painting of exquisite beauty. Jack Kirby used to turn out three pages a day. Clint Langley must do a panel a week and frankly I don't see how so much work for a weekly comic can be economically viable. If '2000AD' paid him what he's worth they would go broke. The book costs £13.99, so the art works out at about 18p a page. It's worth it even if there was nothing to read. (Sorry Pat.)
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