The ABC Warriors are a team of war robots who first appeared in prog 119 in 1979, and still appear intermittenlty today. Art for the opening episodes was by Kevin O'Neill, Mike McMahon, Brett Ewins, and Brendan McCarthy - who between them designed the original seven members of the team. Since then they have been illustrated primarily, though not exclusively, by Bryan Talbot, Simon Bisley, SMS, Kevin Walker, Henry Flint and Clint Langley.
The A.B.C. Warriors are a team of war robots designed to withstand Atomic, Bacterial and Chemical warfare. They were built to take part in the long-running Volgan War, which Pat Mills had described in several previous 2000 AD strips, including "Invasion!" and "Ro-Busters". Each robot has a distinctive personality - often one programmed by its human creators - but each is more or less able to act with free will.
The original leader of the team was Hammerstein, who had previously appeared in "Ro-Busters" as an army surplus droid sold to the robot disaster squad. This series had included a flashback to his days in the Volgan War, "Hammerstein's War Memoirs". In the first series of "ABC Warriors", he recruited six more robots into a team of seven for a special mission - to tame Mars, which had become a futuristic Wild West. The original Warriors were:
- Deadlock - a sinister magician, formerly Grand Wizard of the Knights Martial, an order of robots given authority to try war criminals, and a follower of the religion of Khaos. Has some kind of psychic link with Nemesis the Warlock. Has featured in a couple of spin-off series, "Nemesis and Deadlock" (1990) and "Deadlock" in 2000.
- Joe Pineapples - a taciturn sniper-droid.
- Blackblood - a former Volgan guerrilla droid and war criminal, modified to suppress his evil instincts, partially successfully.
- Mongrol - a damaged former paratrooper droid, rebuilt as a near-mindless monster
- The Mess - formerly Steelhorn, at the end of the Volgan War he was sent to be decommissioned in a furnace, only to survive as a living mass of viscous liquid metal, kept in a flask until needed. The Mess was written out at the end of the first series, becoming a surrogate central nervous system for the giant robot George.
- Happy Shrapnel - a Wild-West saloon brawler of a character. Didn't do anything memorable.
After seven years out of the comic, the Warriors appeared as supporting characters in another Mills strip, "Nemesis the Warlock", in 1986, in which they helped the alien resistance leader Nemesis in his fight against the fanatical human leader Torquemada. The Mess was already written out, and Happy Shrapnel was revealed to have died some time previously. They were replaced by the Japanese droid Hitaki, and Mek-Quake, and bomb-disposal droid Mad Ronn. Neither stuck around for very long, and were replaced by Mek Quake, the sadistic bulldozer droid formerly seen in "Ro-Busters", and Ro-Jaws, the sewer-droid from "Ro-Busters" who had been acting as a valet to Nemesis
Ro-Jaws was never much of a warrior, and several characters have come and gone as the seventh warrior, while Ro-Jaws has mostly stuck around as comic relief. When the Warriors got their own series again in 1988, his replacement was Terri, a human woman brought up to believe she was a robot, who fell in love with Hammerstein. After Terri was killed, Morrigun, a female robot, joined the team, coinciding with Deadlock's taking over the team to spread Khaos throughout the galaxy, Morrigun representing the unpredictable power of the feminine. She was destroyed in 2001, after which Steelhorn returned, revived by Medusa, the spirit of Mars, in his original humanoid form. Mek-Quake was eventually retired to a robot asylum, replaced by flamethrower-droid Zippo, and Blackblood left after one betrayal too many, so the Warriors are currently a team of six. Since 2007, the stories have focused on flashbacks to the Volgan War, as the team travel to recruit new members.