COMIC REVIEW: ABC Warriors: Return to Mars

ABC W Cover

How do you take down your creator?  With serious muscle and a littlehelp from some old friends.

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!

It’s been a long time since I picked up an ABC Warriors comics so I was excited to get this one to review.  To be fair, I’m always excited to read anything from the Godfather of Comics himself, Pat Mills (we’re so not worthy).

The ABC Warriors are just as I remember them: snarky and kickass, as well as grumpy and tough.  I had to go and dig out a few of my old copies of 2000ad just to give myself a reminder, but I fear that I have been out of the ABC Warriors loop for too long.  So, I just took this comic as a stand alone, got stuck in, and it was lovely to be reading something so familiar and loved from my childhood again.




The plot for this one involves our metallic heroes going after their creator, Quartz, after they discover that their ‘father’ is the source of all the corruption and destruction on Mars.  After being left for dead for years, Happy Shrapnel, now known as Tubal Caine, is resurrected and reassembles the rag-tag bunch of ABC Warriors to once again protect the Red Planet.  There is some excellent back story for Happy, which explains what happened to him after H-Day, how he was left as the sole survivor, and what happened to him next to make him so determined not to go back to being a killer.  But how long will that last?

There is an overhanging feeling of sadness to this comic, with Happy retelling his past and us getting to see what appalling things he’s had to go through.  It’s no wonder he’s so grumpy and determined to live a relatively quiet life now.  It’s as violent as ever but there is definitely a morose theme that runs through the entire comic.  This is a particularly dark ABC Warriors story, darker than I remember them being.



Whilst I thoroughly enjoyed this comic, I couldn’t help but feel that it was a little….. disjointed.  Perhaps it’s because my cats woke me up far too early this morning so I was tired, but I had to keep going back a few panels to make sure I was following correctly.  The different colour palettes and simply stunning artwork by Clint Langley did make that easy to do, but the whole story just didn’t flow as well as I’d like, and left me feeling a bit underwhelmed.  And that just made me feel a bit disappointed. I adore the ABC Warriors and have done for the past *cough* years, and although I did really like this comic, I didn’t love it as much as I wanted to.

It’s still a cracking ABC Warriors comic though and I recommend it to any fan of the grumpy ‘Bots.  Just because it left me feeling a bit disappointed, doesn’t mean it’ll do the same for you.

Title:  ABC Warriors: Return to Mars

Creators: Pat Mills & Clint Langley

Publisher: 2000ad

Rating: 3/5


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