Thursday, December 4, 2008

Prog - 1 MACH 1

It's Steve Austin - The Six Million Dollar!

It's John Probe - M.A.C.H.1

"MACH1 was the rock 2000ad was built on in the first months - not Dredd" Pat Mills

It wasn't unusual in British comic books to ape popular tv shows or movies...and 2000ad was no exception. Action had HookJaw inspired by Jaws and 2000ad had it's own Six Million Dollar Man, Mach 1.

Sci-fi wasn't all that big in the UK at the time and Pat Mills, the then editor, knew that for 2000ad to suceed he needed a straight forward action strip.

Enter John Probe! No bionics here...just some needles and a computer brain.

In typical British comic book fashion, the Origin of MACH1 is told in one and a half pages! We don't know much about Probe and his past. In fact I don't think at any point in the series is anything mentioned about Probes past or if he had any family.

Just as soon as the 'operation' is complete Probe gets his first test. Terrorists have attacked a RAF base and Probe is to go in alone. We see Probe shatter a Nuclear Blast Proof door with one kick and outrace a motorbike! Probe apprehends the terrorist to realise that the attack on the base was a diversion and that the terrorists were after a bomber with a cargo of nerve doubt to unleash it on a highly populated area.

This is the perfect six page intro to the character and the series overall. We get the 'origin' of MACH1 and also the shock that Probe has been turned into a very powerful killing machine and he doesn't really know if he likes it or not.(This theme reoccurs every now and again in the series). The computer banter between Probe and his 'brain' gets better and better as the series goes on too. At times Probe completely ignores what his computer is telling him to do.

As usual, we have a cliffhanger that appears at the end of nearly every 2000ad strip.

The 'Next Episode' computer type box would be replaced soon by a Next Prog box with really clever next issue tag-line teasers.

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