ABC Warriors


The stars of a long running 2000 AD comic strip written by Pat Mills, The ABC Warriors were a team of seven robots that had fought in the Volgan War (which also appeared in Invasion, featuring Bill Savage and Ro-Busters, featuring Hammerstein and Ro-Jaws) and been brought together to tame Mars, which had become a futuristic wild west. In further adventures set much later in time, the warriors teamed up with Nemesis the Warlock to prevent a destabilised Black Hole bypass at the Earth's core destroying the world.

The 'ABC' part of their name stands for Atomic, Biological, Chemical, forms of warfare deadly to humans which they were designed to withstand.

Some of the most famous artists working in British comics have illustrated The ABC Warriors, including Kevin O'Neill, Mike McMahon, Brett Ewins, Brendan McCarthy, Carlos Ezquerra, Dave Gibbons, Simon Bisley, Kevin Walker and Henry Flint, among others.



The members of the Warriors have changed over the years. Here are the most long-serving members:

Hammerstein has been the leader of the Warriors for most of the comic's run, although after the death of Terri (at the end of 'Black Hole') he surrendered the position to Deadlock for a number of stories. The first war robot built with a conscience (allowing him the ability to distinguish between combatants and civilians), he was recruited to lead the ABC Warriors during the Volgan Wars by the mysterious Colonel Lash. Humanoid in form, his right 'hand' is actually the combat hammer that gives him his name.

Deadlock was a member of the Knights Martial, a group of extremely powerful robots with psychic/magical abilities created to try (and execute) war criminals during the Volgan War. Deadlock is a follower of the Khaos religion, and as such is often at odds with the order and duty-fixated Hammerstein, which in the story 'Black Hole' ultimately led him to betray and attempt to kill Hammerstein. Deadlock's powers allow him to astrally project and reform his body if it is damaged or destroyed, and he holds the Ace of Swords, a weapon that allows him to drain the souls of the living to use as psychic 'nourishment'.

Joe Pineapples is the closest thing Hammerstein has to a friend, being his longest-serving comrade. Joe was built as an assassin, a former member of the elite X-Terminators before he was busted from the unit for an incident involving an officer's wife. As a sniper Joe is without equal - he prides himself on never having missed a target, even if the target is on a planet's surface while he is in a spacecraft orbiting above it. Joe has rebuilt himself many times to give himself new looks over the years, but one thing that has been consistent is his narcissism - the one thing he truly loves in the universe is himself! While he outwardly maintains an image of extreme cool behind his mirrored sunglasses, he has a secret - he is a transvestite.

Blackblood is a former Volgan war robot forcibly recruited (after surgery to burn out the most evil parts of his programming) into the Warriors. A master tactician and interrogator, his skills also extend to treachery and betrayal, two things at which he is highly adept. He dislikes Hammerstein intensely, but this is nothing compared to his hatred of Joe Pineapples - the robot responsible for his capture. During 'Black Hole' he lost a leg in combat, replacing it with a pneumatic road drill that acted as a peg-leg. This turned out to have so much potential for causing harm to others that he kept it even when the opportunity to replace it with a real leg arose.

Mongrol was originally a member of a crack robo-commando unit parachuted into Volgan territory and critically damaged. He was rescued by a young woman, Lara, who rebuilt him as best she could with other robot parts but was then tortured to death by Volgans. Mongrol's rage at her death activated his Frankenstien body but also drove him into a berzerker mission to avenge her by killing Volgans, and anyone else he perceived as a threat. He was recruited (by being beaten in one-on-one combat) by Hammerstein. Although his body is bristling with concealed guns, he prefers to use his giant hands (or "power paws") to kill enemies, while bellowing his catchphrase: "Mongrol smush!" After his original body was destroyed in 'Return To Mars', his brain was transferred into a replacement with an unexpected side-effect - it restored his intelligence.

Steelhorn/The Mess was the elite droid who ended the Volgan War by killing the Volgan Marshall. Steelhorn was built from indestructable alloys and after the war survived destruction in a furnace. Now known as 'The Mess' he survives in a liquid state but is driven by a desire to seek revenge on the human officers who destroyed him. Hammerstein manages to recruit him to the 'ABC Warriors' by appealing to dignity as a soldier.

Mek-Quake is a sadistic former demolition droid, originally housed in the body of a killdozer but later switching between this and a vaguely humanoid body stolen from a defeated opponent, until the killdozer body was blown up in 'The Clone Cowboys'. What he lacks in intelligence (which is a lot) he makes up for in cruelty and destructive force, though he's also something of a coward, preferring softer targets that he can inflict more pain upon while chanting his catchphrase: "Big jobs!" In his early stories he openly hated Hammerstein (as a result of their time in Ro-Busters), but later this hatred was toned down to a general dislike of everything and everybody except videos of chainsaw torture.

Other members over the years have included Ro-Jaws (Hammerstein's original partner in Ro-Busters, the series that preceded The ABC Warriors), Nemesis the Warlock, Morrigun, Mad Ronn, Hitaki, Happy Shrapnel and Terri, the only human member of the Warriors. Of these, only Ro-Jaws and Steelhorn are still functional.


The ABC Warriors first appeared in Prog 119 of 2000 AD in 1979, and the series is still running, intermittently, to this day.

The Volgan War

The ABC Warriors (story untitled, 1 episode, art by Kevin O'Neill)

Introduces Joe Pineapples and Happy Shrapnel. The Warriors are sent by a human officer (safely miles behind the lines, and observing the battlefield via telepresence) to attack a Volgan position. The battle is won, but at a huge cost of robot lives. Hammerstein, furious at the pointless waste, secretly sabotages the 'pain barrier' of a dying robot, which causes the officer to feel the robot's 'death', the shock killing him. Although Hammerstein thinks he's got away with this, his actions have been noted by the mysterious Colonel Lash.

Retreat From Volgow (1 episode, Brendan McCarthy)

The Volgans send a unit of war robots to attack the Warriors - a unit so brutal they were deactivated by their own side for fear of the damage they could cause. Led by 'Old Horney', the first Volgan war robot and their counterpart to Hammerstein, they attack just as Lash withdraws the tanks supporting the ABC Warriors in order to test them in a one-sided battle. Outnumbered, the Warriors nevertheless defeat their attackers, Hammerstein himself killing Old Horney even with one arm removed for repairs. Lash then reveals part of his mission: he wants Hammerstein and his unit to recruit a number of other robots for a classified mission, beginning with the fearsome Mongrol.

Recruiting the Warriors

Mongrol (2 episodes, Mike McMahon)

Hammerstein, Joe and Happy track the renegade robot Mongrol to a weapons dump, which he has been raiding in order to kit himself out with extra guns. After Mongrol defeats the military police trying to bring him in, Hammerstein realises the only thing Mongrol respects is strength - he has to defeat him in combat. This proves easier said than done, but when Volgan forces attack, Mongrol's thirst for revenge against those who killed Lara, his creator, overpowers his urge to fight Hammerstein. The two join forces to defeat the attackers, then, when Hammerstein saves Mongrol from almost certain destruction, the simple-minded behemoth pledges to follow his new master.

The Order Of The Knights Martial (2 episodes, Kevin O'Neill and Brett Ewins)

Hammerstein's next recruit is Deadlock - but the Watchtower, the space station from which the sinister Knights Martial observe the war, is shot out of orbit and crash-lands in the battlezone. The Knights defend themselves from the Volgan forces as the Warriors provide backup, defeating their foe. Deadlock reveals that he knows why Hammerstein has come - he has forseen it in his Tarot cards. If Hammerstein can defeat him in combat, he will join him - but if he fails, Deadlock will claim his life! The Knights secretly sabotage the other Warriors, but Mongrol is able to resist. Deadlock uses his psychic powers and black magic to trick Hammerstein in their duel, almost destroying him, but the Warrior is able to turn the tables on the overconfident Deadlock at the last moment, his comrades showing up just in time to enforce the result. Defeated, Deadlock reluctantly agrees to join the ABC Warriors.

The Bougainville Massacre (2 episodes, Mike McMahon)

The Warriors travel to the remote island of Bougainville to locate and capture ruthless Volgan war robot General Blackblood, but instead find that the island has been devastated and its human inhabitants murdered by Blackblood and his jungle robots, the Straw Dogs. The Warriors take on the Straw Dogs, crippling their leader's war machine before he can escape. However, Blackblood has taken a child hostage, forcing Joe Pineapples to take the most difficult shot of his career to date: he has to hit Blackblood's 'heart' precisely while not harming the boy. Joe is successful, and Blackblood is captured, a disgusted Hammerstein left wondering what mission could be so important that a butcher like Blackblood has to become part of his team.

Steelhorn (2 episodes, Brendan McCarthy)

The Volgan War is over, the robot Steelhorn - made from almost indestructible materials - having broken through the 'flame barrier' protecting Marshal Volgow's position and killing the enemy leader. Hammerstein tries to recruit Steelhorn, but the robot has now become a pacifist, wanting to help humans rather than fight them. However, when Steelhorn reports for decommissioning, he is betrayed - by his own side! With the war over, the robot soldiers are no longer needed, and Steelhorn is dropped into a fusion furnace that even he can't withstand. But instead of vaporising, he becomes 'The Mess' - an intelligence made from molten metal that is consumed with the desire for revenge against his betrayers. As the Mess kills the humans running the demob camp, Hammerstein discovers their duplicity and helps it escape. The Mess is stored in a flask (kept by Mongrol) that lets it stay molten, and the seventh ABC Warrior has been recruited, albeit in an unusual form.


Mars, The Devil Planet (1 episode, Mike McMahon)

Colonel Lash reveals the Warriors' secret mission - to travel to the colonised and terraformed planet Mars, where rival corporations are at war over resources, the civilians caught in the middle. They are to bring peace to the planet, by any means necessary. Approaching landing, their ship is caught in a sandstorm and crash-lands miles from the nearest settlement. In the thin atmosphere the passengers seem doomed, and things get worse when the 'Humpies' - early settlers genetically engineered to store air in sacs on their faces and backs - attack the new arrivals. Hammerstein forces both sides to declare a truce, and the Humpies lead the passengers to safety.

Cyboons (2 episodes, Dave Gibbons)

Soya ranchers are driving the Cyboons - intelligent genetically-altered apes used in the early days of terraforming - off their reservation to take over the land. The Warriors try to offer the apes assistance, but their leader Bedlam refuses their help. But when Bedlam's son is murdered by the ranchers, he leads his tribe into an attack. Since the ranchers are armed, it seems like a slaughter - but Deadlock and Blackblood had secretly inflitrated the ranchers' camp, disarming their guns. Without their weapons, the ranchers are helpless against the ferocity of the Cyboon attack, and after suffering heavy losses are quick to surrender and leave the Cyboons in peace.

The Red Death (2 episodes, Mike McMahon)

Called to deal with a ruthless biker gang terrorising Viking City, the Warriors seem to have an easy victory - until the frightened, fleeing bikers die almost instantly from a hideous flesh-rotting disease. The disease is native to Mars, and triggered by fear. Tracking the disease to its source, the Warriors find a young boy near a car containing the rotting corpses of his parents. Hammerstein is afraid that the boy will see their bodies, become frightened and die himself - and the disease begins to affect even his metal body. Deadlock reveals that the 'boy' actually is a manifestation of the Red Death, Mars itself trying to drive away the human settlers. Hammerstein kills the fake child, and the menace is over - for now.

Golgotha (3 episodes, Carlos Ezquerra)

Features Golgotha, son of Satanus.

Mad George (3 episodes, Mike McMahon)

Features George, a giant, clumsy robot with five brains which disagree with each other. The end of the story features The Mess combining with George to create a 'nervous system' that creates a more cohesive robot.

Red Planet Blues (special, Steve Dillon and John Higgins (colours))

Written by Alan Moore, his only ABC Warriors story.

The ABC Warriors then vanished from 2000 AD for several years, returning as supporting characters in Nemesis the Warlock until they returned to starring status in 1988.

The Black Hole

Black Hole (compilation title: original printing untitled, 20 episodes, Simon Bisley and SMS)

At the start of the story, the lineup of ABC Warriors is Hammerstein, Joe Pineapples, Blackblood, Mongrol, Mek-Quake and Ro-Jaws.

Sent by Nemesis to stabilise the artificial black and white holes that allow interstellar travel (and also enabled the Terran Empire to conquer the galaxy) before they collide and destroy Earth, the Warriors pick up a new member - Terri. Although human, she has been raised by the robots and androids guarding the black hole complex - the Mekaniks - and considers herself to be a robot, and Hammerstein to be her true love. Deadlock also returns to join the Warriors again, though Hammerstein is suspicious of his motives - the follower of Khaos has more to gain from Earth's destruction than its salvation.

As well as the Mekaniks, the Warriors must also face the soldiers of the Empire of this time period, led by the robot-hating Major Savard, as well as the ultimate evil - the Monad (which originally appeared in Nemesis the Warlock), a psychic monster formed from the distillation of all human evil that is able to take on any form.

The Warriors eventually fight their way to the control room, deep inside the tomb of Emperor Zallin, where Deadlock, Blackblood and Mek-Quake come under attack from automated defence systems. Hammerstein realises the truth - the defence systems scan robots to ensure that they are there to protect the tomb, and the three robots have been working to sabotage the mission and ensure Earth is destroyed. Hammerstein, Joe, Mongrol and Terri take on the renegades, but an unwilling truce is forced when Savard's troops - and the Monad, disguised in the form of an alien bounty hunter - attack. Deadlock uses his dark powers to reach the control room and stabilise the black and white holes, but not before the destruction wrought by the impending collision causes the death of Terri.

Deadlock then draws upon the centuries of horror and bloodshed the Warriors have experienced to create a psychic warrior powerful enough to defeat - but not destroy - the Monad. The Warriors then escape by stealing Zallin's tombship, taking the blame for the devastation and now the most wanted robots in the galaxy.


Warlocks And Wizards (1 episode, Carl Critchlow)

The Enigmass Variations (7 episodes, Carl Critchlow)

Khronicles Of Khaos (17 episodes, Kevin Walker)

Introduces Morrigun.

Hellbringer (17 episodes, Kevin Walker)

Return to Mars

Roadkill (1 episode, Kevin Walker)

A short one-off 'bridge' story in the special 'Prog 2000' issue, designed to re-introduce the Warriors for the new century. Zombie bikers are terrorising the Martian highways; the Warriors fight them off easily, until Hammerstein is possessed by the spirit of their leader! Realising that the spirit fears the pain of death, Hammerstein stands in the path of an oncoming juggernaut. The spirit flees to the next plane of existence rather than suffer again, and Hammerstein destroys the juggernaut and the last remaining zombies aboard it.

(Continuity in the series goes to pot from 'Roadkill' onwards! In 'Hellbringer' the Warriors were several hundred, if not thousand, years in the future. The Mars stories seem to be set a couple of centuries, at most, from the present. No explanation is given for the change in timezone - it can't be a series of 'untold stories', because Mek-Quake and Morrigun didn't join the Warriors until the era of the Terran Empire.)

The Warriors next returned in the 'Return To Mars' saga, an ongoing story arc made up of five three-part stories. There was bitter in-fighting between Mills and the then-editor of 2000 AD, Andy Diggle, over the direction and tone of the story, and the end result is considered by some the weakest ABC Warriors series.

The Third Element (3 episodes, Henry Flint)

Morrigun is destroyed in combat.

The Clone Cowboys (3 episodes, Liam McCormick-Sharpe)

The Tripods (3 episodes, Mike McMahon)

Re-introduces Steelhorn, over 20 years after his last appearance.

The Zero Option (3 episodes, Boo Cook)

Assault On The Red House (3 episodes, Henry Flint)

The series then rested for a couple of years before returning with the first part of an ongoing storyline, The Shadow Warriors. At the time of writing the story has yet to be concluded.

The Shadow Warriors, Book I (6 episodes, Carlos Ezquerra)

Following the conclusion of the 'Return To Mars' arc, civil war has broken out on the Red Planet. The human population has divided into the Union and the Confederacy. Recognising the threat the ABC Warriors pose to their plans for global domination, the leaders of the Confederacy hire Conflict Management - a company of 'privatised peacekeepers' - to recruit the Shadow Warriors, a team of robots chosen specifically for their abilities to overcome each member of the Warriors.

The first members of the Shadow Warriors to be revealed are Bootleg, a robotic bounty hunter; Dog-Tag, a charming yet ruthless 'pirate' of the trans-Martian highways and leader of the Dogs of Gore; The Rev, a minister in the sinister robot religion of the Church of Judas, which Blackblood now follows; and Deus Ex Machina, an artificial intelligence - long thought mythical - capable of taking control of other machines and turning them to its will.

In the course of the story, Joe damages Dog-Tag and destroys his followers (although their leader escapes), and Deadlock leaves The Rev for dead under a rockslide. But there are three more members of the Shadow Warriors yet to be encountered, and the Confederacy is pressing its attack...

The Shadow Warriors, Book II (? episodes, Henry Flint)

The Warriors reach the city of New Sidona, where anarchy is breaking out. The robots rescue a 'G-man' (a lawman riding an antigravity 'saddle') from an attack by looting Cyboons, before encountering a Talk Cone - a low-level robot agent of the Total Information Awareness agency that enforces the 'no talking' rule the government requires in order to monitor the populace for thoughts of terrorism. However, the cone has been booby-trapped with a bomb, so the Warriors have to act quickly to save a loud group of teenagers from the explosion.

Taking the injured sky-dancer B-Boy to a hospital, the Warriors encounter a larger group of Cyboons, riding on Martian trisaurs. Steelhorn uses one of his horns to create a tone that turns the trisaurs against their Cyboon masters, explaining that the horn incites Martian lifeforms to rebel. However, he evades Deadlock's question about what his other horn would do, beyond stating that a Confederate victory would not be in the best interests of Medusa, the Martian planetary consciousness.

Reaching the hospital, the Warriors encounter the next Shadow Warriors - Doctor Maniacus, a rogue paramedic droid who feeds off the pain of his human 'patients' as he tortures and kills them. The psychotic medic unleashes the pain he has absorbed to overload the emotional circuits of the Warriors - however, Deadlock, having witnessed horrors beyond imagination in the service of Khaos, is immune. Doc Maniacus is able to fight off the Grand Wizard in single combat, but Deadlock plants a 'nanobat' - a microscopic bug - on him before he escapes.

Although B-Boy dies, the Warriors take his friends - and their mother, a hospital nurse - on to the centre of New Sidona. The nurse explains that B-Boy died from using 'Neuropeptide-A', a banned military-grade drug (derived from the brains of human clones in a brutal process called 'lovebombing') used to make soldiers fearless in combat. Mek-Quake reveals that he considered taking the job of extracting the neuropeptide, but ultimately decided it was too cruel even for him. However, he does know that the job went to another Shadow Warrior - the sadistic and manipulative Mr Lovebomb, who now has an army of mind-shattered clones loyal only to him.

Reaching Terrasand Square, the Warriors find Mayor/Sheriff/TIA Chief Terrasand, who hurriedly switches his allegiance from the Confederacy to the Union when he realises the ABC Warriors are the first to reach the city. The Sheriff is also B-Boy's father - but before he can be told the bad news about his son, Deadlock's bug reveals Doc Maniacus' thoughts - it's a trap! The clone army attacks, the Square now a deathtrap set up by the Shadow Warriors. While the ABC Warriors try to protect the humans and fight off the clones, their Shadow counterparts - joined by their final member, the state-of-the-art killing machine Warmonger, prepare their attack...

External links


  • Art and Cultures
    • Art (
    • Architecture (
    • Cultures (
    • Music (
    • Musical Instruments (
  • Biographies (
  • Clipart (
  • Geography (
    • Countries of the World (
    • Maps (
    • Flags (
    • Continents (
  • History (
    • Ancient Civilizations (
    • Industrial Revolution (
    • Middle Ages (
    • Prehistory (
    • Renaissance (
    • Timelines (
    • United States (
    • Wars (
    • World History (
  • Human Body (
  • Mathematics (
  • Reference (
  • Science (
    • Animals (
    • Aviation (
    • Dinosaurs (
    • Earth (
    • Inventions (
    • Physical Science (
    • Plants (
    • Scientists (
  • Social Studies (
    • Anthropology (
    • Economics (
    • Government (
    • Religion (
    • Holidays (
  • Space and Astronomy
    • Solar System (
    • Planets (
  • Sports (
  • Timelines (
  • Weather (
  • US States (


  • Home Page (
  • Contact Us (

  • Clip Art (
Personal tools