Mean-Team-1In the year 2886, Death-Bowl is the most popular sport in the galaxy – men and machine pitted against each other in a brutal gladiatorial contest! Mean Team is another face-smashing, limb-tearing, gut-busting classic from 2000 AD.



Back in the day, I grew up with 2000 AD, and I certainly enjoyed the gladiatorial type stories: Mean Arena & Inferno to a lesser degree, but definitely a big fan of the Harlem Heroes. So I was quite looking forward to Mean Team, created by AD giants John Wagner & Alan Grant, which I had missed out on the first time ’round.

Mean Team centres on the sport of Death-Bowl, the universe’s most popular sport in 2886, and gladiatorial in the truest sense of the word, and the reigning champions, the eponymously named Mean Time, led by the seemingly indestructible ‘Bad’ Jack Keller. The story starts off conventionally with the team fighting for the championship, their lives and their freedom, and then takes a quantum left turn, placing the team on the run on a now cordoned off planet Earth. Here we find the origins of Jack, as well as a plot by an ultimate evil to take over the galaxy.

Tagged on to the end of this full story is an extra segment, which revolves around Henry Moon, one of the team members, who is in fact the mind of a telepath trapped in the body of a genetically engineered panther.

The first half of the story is pretty formulaic, focussing on the Death-Bowl championship and struggling to come up with anything but a predictable outcome; but the second half, set on this future warped & twisted Earth, is pretty interesting, especially with the addition of a couple of protagonists, including the villainous Bloo-Baloo, a gymnastically conjoined brother & sister team who can also morph into exotic creatures. I can honestly say, I didn’t see the ending coming either – which is always a bonus.

Aside from Jack, Henry Moon is the most interesting character, and it is a fitting reward that the extra bonus story “Survivor” is centred on him alone. The Mean Team aren’t as famous as the Harlem Heroes, but if you are a 2000 AD fan, then this is worth adding to your collection.


GS Rating: 3/5
Reporter: SilverFox

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