Friday, November 03, 2023

Come for Death's Head II, stay for the sorta Mephisto.

The first series of Warheads was only fourteen issues: I almost bet, if you check your local quarterbooks, you might find an issue or two. Probably not all, so you might have to check other quarterbins, but you'd best hope I didn't get there first! From 1992, Warheads #6, "Killing Ground" Written by Nick Vince, art by Simon Coleby.
The splash page features very 2000 AD-style narration, as Warheads hitter Gregory has been having nightmares about the demon "Meffy 'Soklees," made out of lost socks and underwear. That's probably not right...The demon seemingly turns half of Gregory into mismatched socks and drawers before he wakes up, which might be an omen. Insult to injury, he's also fined 20£ (pounds) by team administrator Mr. Grant, for "screaming at night." How much is that? Uh...British money has always confused me, but it also depends when this story falls; as the pound went all sideways on "Black Wednesday" in '92. Grant then gets chewed on by one of his bosses, Rathcoole of Mys-Tech, who is furious a Warhead named Che was still alive. But, Grant was also taking orders from a demon-looking creature called the Golem, who seemed to have plans for Che and the Kether Troop.
Gregory is sent to Rathcoole, who wanted Che for this job, and furiously orders Grant be disemboweled when he turns up. Still, Gregory would have to do for this mission: killing Mephisto, with a magic crystal sword. Gregory realizes he had dreamed of Mephisto, which Rathcoole considers a good omen, but Gregory isn't sure. Meanwhile, the Kether Troop is sent via wormhole, to a massive city that seems surprisingly low-tech. One of the troop, Desmond, shoots a local seemingly for laughs: before Colonel Liger can have his weapons removed, an ambush captures all of the troop except Che: he was described simply as a "martial artist," but was the sole survivor of a lost troop and wasn't entirely trusted.
In Darkmoor, Rathcoole summons Mephisto...who was super off-model here: the John Romita Jr. redesign would've been standard by then. Here, he's colored like the old John Buscema look, but that's about it. Rathcoole tells Mephisto, he wanted to die: as part of Mys-Tech, he had sold his soul a thousand years prior, but was wearying of bringing souls to Mephisto. Not because of conscience, because it was too easy: humanity was so corruptable, Rathcoole didn't think they had a chance. That was incidental, though: he was just trying to get Mephisto in position, for Gregory to stab him in the back with the magic sword. Which does nothing: they needed to use a different wand to make the sword, and Mephisto had that one locked down. Gregory is made half-demon; and Rathcoole turned over to the rest of the Mys-Tech board, who claim they're still loyal: Mephisto probably doesn't put much stock in that, but turns Rathcoole's powers off for a bit so they can punish him.
The captured Warheads are tortured, and a couple killed, by the local wizard-king; who was interested in finding Che, since he was invisible to his magics. Che arrives with Liger's talking gun, in time to save him and Misha, the only two regulars on this mission. The gun--which gives itself the name "Clementine" now--takes out the wizard, and finds his power source, the Sapphire Lotus. But before they can grab that, someone else grabs Liger: Death's Head II! He and Tuck were there to collect, but not what you would think: DH II claims Clementine was stolen, but if they pay for the "outstanding charges" they can keep it. Liger isn't anxious to give DH II any money; but the local army might be about to swarm them--or so we're told, we'll probably have to wait until next month to see them.

1 comment:

Mr. Morbid said...

Kudos to whoever was working & running Marvel UK for essentially putting out 2000AD books under the Marvel banner.