Savage – The Guv’nor


Written by Pat Mills, Illustrated by Patrick Goddard

Published by Rebellion

This collection of strips from 2000AD (first published between 2008 and 2010) details the continuing campaign of Bill Savage and his resistance to drive the invading Volgans from British shores.

First seen in 2000AD Prog 1 (in Invasion!) this alternative history tale (the Volgs a thinly disguised metaphor for the old Soviet Union menace) has been a mainstay of the title, which returns to the tale at regular intervals, weaving other characters from the 2000AD continuity into the tale. Perhaps most intriguingly in this collection, we witness Howard Quartz, CEO of Ro-Busters, developing the robot soldier that will one day become the Hammerstein we have come to know and love.

While Quartz, and the on/off involvement of the United States in the war against the Volgs, runs through these three tales, so too does a more gripping storyline of Bill Savage hiding under the very nose of a Volgans General as he tries to uncover the truth behind a man eating beast in London’s East End.

The science fiction elements of this universe have often been underplayed, but here they are rolled out in almost every instalment, with robots, teleportation machines, and e-bombs that wipe out all electrical appliances (and neatly bring the stories’ setting back to the 1970s in which the strip was first conceived).

The art is black and white, thick lines and stark, redolent of the classic 2000AD style, with the weakness that some characters are difficult to make out, and one battle in particular suffers the Thunderball problem of not clearly delineating the bad guys from the good.

But Bill Savage, or Joe Puccelli as he calls himself in the last of these three tales, is a fantastic character with an attitude that evokes the Boy’s Own adventures of old. It’s always a delight to welcome him back, and as long as a Volg draws breath, we can be grateful that Savage will be there to snuff it out.

More to explorer