Tag Archives: Mark Taxeira


With five different strips to this anthology and each one an imported American story split into multiple parts across weekly issues variety was always going to be a key factor of Havoc. What I didn’t expect was how different each issue could feel as a whole. Last issue’s action packed Deathlok gives way to proper character introductions, Star Slammers begins to show a glimmer of political intrigue, Ghost Rider has the reveal we’ve been waiting for, Conan the Barbarian comes to a sudden end already and RoboCop brings in the satire and characterisation that always set him apart from other action fare.

In the middle of all this is a large, glossy Deathlok poster, the issue’s free gift. Drawn by Joe Jusko in 1989 it must’ve been a piece of art to promote the comic in 1990 when Marvel in the US brought the character back. I definitely remember having this on my wall at the time and I particularly like the way we see the complete human and cyborg sides of him next to the completed transfer and the birth of a character I loved that summer. In the comic itself there’s also an article about the strip with insights from the creative team.

First up though is the Deathlok story written by Dwayne McDuffie and Gregory Wright which begins by adding the logo, story title, credits badge and a quick recap to the original splash page opener by Wright and Jackson Guise, with the original lettering in the rest of this chapter by Richard Starkings. Cybertek Systems Inc. know fine rightly what happened to cause the disaster last issue. They also know without a human brain it’s “nothing but a multi-billion dollar mannequin” and then the reader is instantly taken to the home of Michael Collins, a software programmer working on artificial limbs.

In the scene in his home his young son is playing a computer game and upgrading his character with the biggest gun possible without giving thought to armour, speed, agility etc. Trying to teach his son that a real hero isn’t all about weaponry and violence, it falls on deaf ears as the boy is having too much fun. Even if I didn’t remember it, it’s clear the strip is setting Michael up as the new Deathlok, so his abhorrence towards violence is an interesting take. Like having Danny in Ghost Rider being a bit of a coward last issue.

As a teenager I always loved the quieter moments amongst all the action in my comics. Thing is, not all of the comics I tried out could carry it off. Transformers was surprisingly good at it although it rarely happened, it was part of the fun in G.I. Joe too and here the domestic scenes made the story (and the comic) feel more mature to thirteen-year-old me, like I was watching a really good movie set up all the pieces correctly with the right pacing and character development. I loved this juxtaposition. It wasn’t trying to entice me with endless action, I was expected to return to see it all develop. I wasn’t being talked down to.

The story ends this issue with Ryker of Cybertek ordering his team to neutralise the software fault by the next day for another brain transplant, even though they haven’t got a volunteer lined up. It’s clear he doesn’t intend to ask. On the next page the Deathlok article is an interesting read about what drew co-creator Dwayne McDuffie to the job and what the character meant to him. The way he describes the relationship between the computer and Michael reminds me of another character by the same name and his computerised partner, namely Michael Knight and K.I.T.T.; particularly in Knight Rider‘s first season when the two main characters butted heads a lot as they got to know each other, so I’m excited to see this play out in this strip.

The Star Slammers get a little more than four pages this time, although having read this part I can see that was the best place to end it a week ago. Having saved the citadel they make their way inside and are greeted by very welcoming, grateful hosts. The Slammers have no wish to celebrate, they know the Skriks will be back soon so they simply demand their payment and a place to rest. While they sleep an official called Lackland comes to warn them the others mean to kill their saviours instead of paying up.

But on the very next page it appears Lackland is working for the enemy, the Skriks. As they wait to see if the mercenaries will change sides, their ship on which they reside is locked up tight and flown off to the citadel, where it lands and is surrounded by tanks before the Slammers announce it was them. They had simply snuck up to the ship and locked the Skriks inside their own home. The episode ends with Lackland making a run for it as another ship comes into view above, so its unclear where this is headed.

To be honest, not much is happening yet. It’s still setting up its plot and characters, the background to the planet and the politics involved. There’s the potential of political intrigue here which I hope I’m right about, because so far it’s not great; the Slammers’ capture of the Skriks all happens off-page and I’m not feeling connected to anyone yet. It’s not necessarily the fault of writer and artist Walt Simonson (colours by Louise Simonson and Deborah Pedler, letters by John Workman) because this was written to be read as a whole, not as a serial.

While other strips seem to be benefitting from the weekly short doses, engrossing me in each chunk of story and building anticipation, it may just be these early pages of Star Slammers that aren’t so suited to the format. Maybe once it gets going it’ll fit in more and I do remember enjoying it later, so I’ll wait to see how my attitude changes in the weeks ahead. But for now it’s time to move on to the character whose introduction has really made an impact on me, Howard Mackie‘s Ghost Rider.

“I am Ghost Rider, the Spirit of Vengeance!”

Danny Ketch/Ghost Rider

The story’s recap incorrectly labels Barb as Danny Ketch’s girlfriend when she was clearly described as his sister on the first page of last issue’s chapter, and we kick off with the kids that scared Danny stealing the briefcase Deathwatch’s and Kingpin’s cronies fought over. Deathwatch leaves but not before ordering his men to pursue and kill all witnesses. The kids run but Danny is struggling with his unconscious sister and must find somewhere to hide. In a nearby scrapyard he carries Barb inside a pile of scrap cars where something glows in the dark at his presence.

As more and more lights begin to flicker all around him he spots a motorcycle and, while it just looks like a regular bike, it’s brand new. What’s it doing here amongst all this junk? He leans Barb up against it to keep her sitting upright but she’s bleeding everywhere. Meanwhile, the men outside capture the girl who stole the briefcase but realise the only way to ensure there are no witnesses is to level the whole place with a thermite grenade. It’s at this point Danny’s life changes forever.

His hands covered in blood, and in complete panic, he doesn’t know what to do. It’s at this point the original light he saw glows again. It’s coming from the petrol cap on the bike, which he touches with his blood soaked hand as he thinks about how he’d do anything to save his sister.

I remember seeing that panel and getting excited when I first read this. I was always someone who’d never flick through his comics before settling down to read them. Not since I’d done it with an issue of Transformers and had a shock ending of a story ruined for me before I’d read it. So I always read from front to back without so much as looking to see what features were inside.

I was so glad I kept to this because as the ground underneath their feet begins to rumble, Deathwatch’s men were about to get the shock of their lives, and young me got such a thrill when I turned the page to this final image! Ghost Rider’s art team are penciller Javier Saltares, inker Mark Texeira, colourist Gregory Wright and letterer Michael Heisler.

Now that’s a cliffhanger. In theory, not seeing the main character of the strip until the final page of the second chapter shouldn’t work. As mentioned above, the slower pacing of splitting up the stories isn’t working for the Star Slammers, but here it most definitely did. The bike has completely changed shape and looks awesome flying through the air as it jumps over the henchmen, the ghostly, flaming skeleton carrying Barb off to safety.

If you’re familiar with the character you may have to excuse me because apart from this back in 1991 I haven’t read any of the comics. I would’ve been hooked to Ghost Rider had Havoc carried on, I remember that much and I feel the same now only two issues into this read through. So yes, I’m a newbie, I’ll be describing things you may have become used to a long time ago, but I’m an excited newbie. You may see me grow into quite the fan of Danny’s as the summer continues.

After an Eye Level about a set visit to the filming of Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves is the RoboCop video competition promoted on the cover, but it wasn’t the video I was expecting.

I always found it strange to have cartoons and toys based on adult movies (the same goes for Aliens). I don’t mean collectibles either, I mean an animated series and toys actually aimed at children when the original movie was certificated ’18’. After the TV show later in the 90s I eased up on that somewhat (I spoke last time about why that’s my preferred RoboCop) but at the time of this, it was all rather weird. Anyway, the cartoon and associated merchandise wasn’t a success and only 12 episodes were made, broadcast in the States in 1988. Clearly it took a while for it to make its way over here.

Today Conan reads very differently in a more enlightened world

Conan the Barbarian is up next and I was very surprised to see it’s the conclusion to The Frost Giant’s Daughter already! Not being familiar with the character I assumed his stories would be the same length as the rest, but this short story ends here. There’s plenty of fighting as he takes down the two huge men he came up against last time, an uncomfortable moment when he tries to force himself onto the woman with a kiss to change her allegiance and it all ends with asking more questions than it answers.

Chased down by Conan in such a forceful way I found myself on the side of the woman (who is meant to be evil). She finally frees herself from his grasp and calls out to Ymir, the god who is apparently her father. I know the stories are from a different time but that doesn’t make it any easier to look past things like this. Adapted from Robert E. Howard’s original story by Roy Thomas, with art by Barry Windsor-Smith and lettering by Artie Simek, it looks the part of a classic comic strip but it doesn’t make for easy reading. Unfortunately, at the time I didn’t think anything of it I’m sorry to say. Today it reads very differently in a more enlightened world.

The colour of the page above caught my eye and I think Conan rather deserved the treatment dished out there! He awakens on the final page surrounded by the men he was previously fighting alongside. No one found any tracks or evidence of why Conan had just walked off on his own and it’s only when someone called Gorm speaks out that Conan realises what he’s holding. Was it a dream? A myth? Or real? It’s kind of left that it did happen on some level, but other than that it’s up in the air.

More amenable to my tastes is the last strip, RoboCop. The recap gives away a key plot point, explaining the video used to film Murphy’s fight with the gang last issue was an x-ray device, something the strip itself hasn’t told us yet. Proper credits are given this time though and with names like Alan Grant, Lee Sullivan, Kim DeMulder, Steve White and Richard Starkings the big guns (no pun intended) are pulled out to finish off the issue.

Some detective work leads Murphy to a legal Kombat game where men in insulated suits try to electrocute each other with tasers. Behind the scenes it’s all very reminiscent of modern day wrestling with over-the-top characters and hints that the match results may be fixed when a scan shows Murphy the suits have been tampered with. The previous victim was called Powky and Robo finds out he worked for the Kombat promoter, Dek Kyng. Meanwhile OCP are nervous that a rival company called Nixco are developing a rival to RoboCop.

Media Break, the news programme from the first movie and the TV series makes a return and while the hilarious advertisements for the consumerist future are missing, they’re still a neat way of getting plot and context into the story. There’s also a good deal of humour here too, such as how Robo deals with a suspect who uses metal teeth to try to fight back and gets them stuck in his arm. This results in Murphy questioning why anyone would willingly have flesh and bone removed and replaced with metal. While he recharges he reminisces about how he wasn’t given the choice, losing his wife and child in the process.

The final panel gives us a glimpse of the new rival robot and it feels very similar to the plot of RoboCop 2 so far, which wasn’t exactly a great movie. This strip was originally published in America in the same year as the second film so the plot should’ve been known, so it’s surprising this is going to use the same idea. But of course I could be jumping to conclusions here, I’ll wait and see how it develops, for now all the key elements that make a good RoboCop story are in place.

A really fun sophomore issue which, Conan aside, has me clamouring for more from these characters, even the Star Slammers had just about enough in their five pages to keep me locked in to their story for now. The Next Issue page promises more of the same but things are definitely building in at least three of the stories and with a giant RoboCop poster next time it’s another one to look forward to.

The third issue of Marvel UK’s Havoc will be reviewed right here this day next week, meaning you can check it out with a selection of highlights from Wednesday 20th July 2022.


While I’d been allowed up to four comics on order at the local newsagent, by the summer of 1991 this number had been whittled down to just two, the weekly Real Ghostbusters and Transformers (which by now was a fortnightly again). Most comics I’d tried had ended up cancelled very quickly, so I’d become a bit disillusioned. Then, after months of not bothering, I decided to have a look at the comics shelves one Saturday morning and was met with this.

While I’d spotted RoboCop on the cover it was the bigger character called Deathlok that really grabbed my attention, especially when I pulled aside the free introductory booklet. How the booklet blacked out everything apart from Deathlok just looked really cool and having a quick flick through I also saw Conan who I’d heard of from friends, and a fiery skeleton on a motorbike. I had to try this out! At only 55p for 36 pages Havoc was a bargain, the same price as Transformers which was two-thirds the size.

There was also the 16-page booklet which introduced us to each of the five main protagonists of Deathlok, RoboCop, Ghost Rider, Conan the Barbarian and the Star Slammers. It was a meaty read (edited at lauch by John Freeman and Harry Papadopoulos) and I enjoyed it so much I cancelled my order for The Real Ghostbusters after 150+ issues to reserve Havoc instead. Little was I to know only nine issues would ever see print. But for now let’s relive this excellent title, which coincidentally lasted for the exact amount of time I was off school for the summer holidays (in Northern Ireland kids get all of July and August off).

Upon returning to school some of my 2000AD-reading friends were raving about Havoc and the comparisons are clear. Havoc was also an anthology title and while those stories were imports from America the sci-fi settings and hard action had grabbed their attention in the same way as Tharg’s comic. I’d only read a few issues of 2000AD at that time and found Havoc to be much better; it was in full colour for a start, it had RoboCop and the action and characterisations seemed to my teenage self to be more mature. This was a huge step away for my comics reading.

So first up is Deathlok, a character I’d never heard of and who Marvel US had resurrected a year earlier. Originally created by Rich Buckler in 1974 in Astonishing Stories, there’d eventually be various characters with the same name, all deceased humans brought back as cyborgs. Dwayne McDuffie (Batman, Back to the Future, Damage Control) and Gregory Wright (The Punisher, Daredevil, Nick Fury) brought the idea back with a new human character in a mini-series and then an ongoing comic between 1991 and 1994, the first time Deathlok had his own title. It was this run we were to be treated to, drawn by Wright and Jackson “Butch” Guice (Supergirl, Black Panther, Winter Soldier) with letters by Richard Starkings (Elephantmen, Zoids, Transformers).

Between the mini-series and the ongoing in the States, an eight-page prelude tale was published in Marvel Comics Presents and it’s this that Marvel UK decided to use first. (From #2 they’d go back and print the mini-series.) This gives us a proper introduction to the technology and the idea behind the strip. No, it wasn’t hugely original by the time 1991 rolled around, with Terminator movies and RoboCop himself on the scene, but something would set Deathlok apart and that was the interaction between the human brain and the computer. That’s something for a future review though, which I’ll explain when we get there.

It’s smart to begin the premiere issue with a complete story and it perfectly sums up the set up and the kind of action we can expect. Former army colonel John Kelly volunteered to have his brain transplanted into Cybertek‘s Deathlok and become the ultimate tactical weapon. Sent on a Test Run, he’s armed with paint pellets while 12 mercenaries try to take him down with live ammo. The communications between human brain and computer are relaxed, even jovial, but when Kelly decides on a little grandstanding things take a shocking turn.

The computer has calculated that Kelly’s thoughts are an input error, sending an electrical charge to eliminate the problem and killing him instantly. Its system now “de-bugged” the programming for a live scenario takes over and immediately replaces the paint gun with a live plasma pistol. But Mr Ryker of Cybertek doesn’t stop the test, even as he watches the mercenaries die one-by-one. There’s just too much money at stake. The story ends with the company casually discarding what happened because they have a deadline and Mr Ryker’s final foreboding words show us the direction it’s about to go.

In the introductory booklet a little bit of information popped out at me as a fan of Transformers. It appears Cybertek Systems Inc. is a division of the multinational oil company, Roxxon. This company name appeared a couple of times in Transformers as a competitor to Blackrock. It was just in passing, but it tied the characters in to the larger Marvel universe around the same time as Spider-Man helped out the Autobots.

Test Run is a great introduction to not only Deathlok but to the whole remit of Havoc. I particularly liked Richard Starking‘s (launch editor for Marvel UK’s The Real Ghostbusters) lettering during the interactions between Kelly and the computer. I remember the intrigue as a teenager and how I lapped up the action, thinking that if the rest of the issue was anything to go by I’d discovered a winner.

John Workman’s trademark style adds bold, in-your-face lettering to Star Slammers, perfectly suiting the narrative

Havoc may have been a meaty 36-page read for us but to fit in five ongoing strips originally written as much larger chapters (while giving each one a satisfying chuck and a cliffhanger every week) couldn’t have been an easy task. But the team pulled it off. The next strip is Star Slammers which originally saw print in #6 of Marvel Graphic Novel in the States back in 1983. Given just the four pages in this premiere issue, it acts as a nice tease for the characters created, written and drawn by Walter Simonson (Jurassic Park, Hawkgirl, Detective Comics), coloured by his partner Louise Simonson (writer on New Mutants, Warlock, Action Comics) and Deborah Pedler (Alien, Marvel Graphic Novel, Conan) although Deborah is mistakenly listed as “Parker”.

John Workman is the letterer here and among his many credits (for example Michael Moorcock’s Multiverse, Orion, Spider-Girl) he worked alongside Walter on the movie adaptation of Jurassic Park, which was published in the UK by Dark Horse International, split over the first five issues. His trademark style of breaking the panel lines which I enjoyed so much in those early Jurassic comics adds a bold, in-your-face style of lettering to Star Slammers, perfectly suiting the narrative.

Spence and Slinger are two tired soldiers looking out from the citadel they’re protecting, surrounded on all sides by campfires belonging to their enemy, the Skriks. They’ve called for help from the Star Slammers and hope more than a hundred turn up at least, although Spence thinks it’ll be less than fifty and that he and his comrades are doomed. Suddenly all hell breaks loose, there are explosions and gunfire everywhere and within minutes the enemy has been wiped out as far as the eye can see. Spence’s monologue returns just to confirm he was right, there were definitely less than fifty of them.

That’s it for part one. In the booklet their introduction is written as a warning from “the glorious planet Orion” but as yet there are no more details about characters or overall plot. As a kid I remember being underwhelmed but my attitude changed as the story continued and now as an adult I’m intrigued. On the next page comes something my adult self has been really looking forward to. I’m including it just for some fun and for context about when the comic was released. It’s the first Eye Level.

This was the weekly news column with all the latest information from the world of television, movies, comics and videogames. This was around the time we had that TV show Movies, Games + Videos so this has taken me right back! Most notable for me here is the hype machine for Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves because I enjoyed it at the time but the years have not been kind to this ridiculous movie. I remember all the buzz about how expensive Terminator 2: Judgement Day was for the time and it’s nice to see a film I’ve just recently rediscovered getting a quick mention, namely the excellent Rocketeer.

As well as the news above, the booklet had extra pages for RoboCop, so sure was everyone that this was a franchise to run and run. The second and third movies put an end to that. Personally, I much preferred the TV series. The original writers were creative consultants and it was more in line with what they’d written for the film (which ended up being known more for its over-the-top violence). Yes, TV series in the 90s couldn’t have the violence of today’s shows so Murphy captured criminals instead of killing them, but all the social commentary, politicking and character development was there and I loved it. It was big budget but a great character piece at its heart. (And that final episode! Oh my, I’m welling up just thinking about that scene… anyway… ahem…)

The booklet is set up like a series of Wanted posters (except for RoboCop obviously) and the cops described our next antihero as “a so-called do-gooder” who they suspect is really just “a deep rooted psycho”. Originally created as a Western character before being renamed Phantom Rider, the first supernatural Ghost Rider was Johnny Blaze who you’ll know from the movies if not the comics. Havoc’s strip is the sequel to that run and stars new character Danny Ketch. It was written by Howard Mackie (Moon Knight, Mutant X, X-Factor) and this is pencilled by Javier Saltares (X, Wolverine, The Prowler), inked by Mark Texeira (Hercules, Psi-Force, Megalith) and coloured by Deathlok’s Gregory Wright, although they’re all just listed next to “art”, such is the limited space in the credits. Completing the team is Michael Heisler (Arkham Asylum, writer on DV8, Union) on lettering.

Apart from this ghostly illustration as part of the title there’s no inkling about what’s going to happen or how Danny becomes who he is destined to become, but I didn’t mind that at all. In fact, back in 1991, knowing I’d only have to wait seven days for the next part I liked the slow development and the suspense it brought. Of course, the original story wasn’t written in this way, it’s only because it’s being chopped up but we’re still getting a full story every month, just a little bit at a time, Transformers-style.

So Dan and his sister Barb are in the middle of a cemetery at Hallowe’en, visiting Houdini’s grave because Barb wants to take pictures of the rituals that take place there every year. They’re spooked by a group of prankster kids who are soon chased off by Barb, while Dan cowers from the initial fright. I like this, setting up the character who will become this flaming skull as a rather timid person.

Hearing a gunshot Barb wants to investigate and they find new character Deathwatch facing up against some goons sent by classic Marvel character Kingpin. Deathwatch has shot one of their couriers and appears to be outnumbered when some shadowy figures shoot Kingpin’s men in the back with crossbows. Removing his mask, our new villain strangles the remaining gangster but the loud crack of his neck breaking is too much for Barb and she involuntarily lets out a scream, alerting the men to their location.

It was all very serious and violent for teenage me. It was like catnip! The tone was perfect, I already liked and cared for Dan and the ending was a shock. The Next Week caption at the bottom had me hyped and the strip was instantly a favourite. One piece of the puzzle at a time was being put into place and I couldn’t wait for more. I find that feeling returning now. After Havoc’s cancellation we just couldn’t get hold of the US comics at the time where I lived, and now 31 years later this is already making we want to check out the modern Ghost Rider comics. Havoc has got into my mind again.

“They stand face to face. Both are tall men — and built like tigers. But one of them is — Conan the Barbarian”

The Frost Giant’s Daughter, Robert E. Howard/Roy Thomas

Next up is Conan the Barbarian, only known to me at the time from the Arnold Schwarzenegger movies of the 80s which didn’t really appeal to me back then. This turned out to be the most surprising strip in Havoc because I wasn’t expected much at all but really enjoyed it, so now it’s time to find out if I still do three decades later. The story is interesting but the real world background of it is fascinating. The original Frost Giant’s Daughter was written by Conan’s creator Robert E Howard in 1934 but was originally rejected by the magazine he submitted it to and so the character and settings were changed. It only eventually saw print as a Conan tale long after Howard’s death.

In comics, this adaptation is by far the oldest strip among those in Havoc. Published in Savage Tales in 1971, a censored version (mainly for nudity) was printed in Conan’s own comic the following year with a new opening. It’s that version we got in Havoc. Adapted by Roy Thomas (Arak Son of Thunder, Shazam!, The Dragonlance Saga) with art by Barry Windsor-Smith (Machine Man, Iron Man, Avengers) and lettered by Artie Simek (Fantastic Four, Showcase, Kid Colt), this gripped me instantly as a teenager with its action, setting, the blood and guts and the sexual undertones. It was like nothing I’d read before. I was captivated.

I had no idea this strip was older than the others and it doesn’t read as such either, the writing capturing the timeless rhythms of Howard’s originals. After a huge and bloody battle a young Conan collapses in the snow but as death creeps in he sees a beautiful woman, becoming instantly enamoured with her. Confused as to how she could be so scantily dressed out in the cold he assumes she must come from a village he didn’t know about, somewhere he could rest before his next battle. But there’s nowhere nearby, her identity is a mystery and her see-through clothing (censored here) entices Conan into the chase.

Her existence doesn’t make sense here in the snow covered mountains, so Conan’s pursuit changes from one of lust to a search for answers, fearing it’s some sort of vision or trick. I can’t remember the exact reason and I don’t want anyone to tell me if you know, I’ll find out in real time as always. At the end the fact it’s a trap is made very clear, but no other answers are forthcoming yet. I find myself remembering the sense of childhood wonder I had in reading this and I’m just as intrigued now to find out more about Conan himself, as well as the mystery at hand. A strong start, it’s reeled me in all over again.

The final strip was the one I was most looking forward to when I initially saw the lineup as a teen. Deathlok looks awesome but I already knew Alex Murphy aka RoboCop and it felt exciting to see him in comic form. What a shame then that this first chunk of Kombat Zone is probably the weakest of this first issue. I put this down to the fact I’ve seen so much more of RoboCop since then and in particular the characterisation in the TV series. Here he comes across as rather two-dimensional and his speech patterns read very strangely, rather clichéd compared to the first film or the show.

But hey, it’s only the first five pages! I’m not going to get ahead of myself. I remember really enjoying it so I’ll see how it develops. Robo intercepts a hover-bike gang as they seemingly take down an innocent stroller in Old Detroit. But in the background someone is filming the confrontation with RoboCop and when the victim makes a plea to pay off his assailants one of the bikers makes a passing comment about already being paid. There’s more to this random attack than meets the eye.

Murphy may not have heard this or seen the man with the camcorder but the way the bikers attacked is enough for the detective to have his doubts. But our mysterious stranger throws in a “smart-gun” (which was rather forward thinking for an early 90s comic) which kills the victim Robo had saved as well as the last of the bikers before he can give anything away. It’s all over very quickly and after some of the more substantial reads it’s a bit of a disappointment when this is the big licenced strip.

Of course, none of the ongoing stories in this issue were ever designed to be broken down like this, so overall the comic has done a wonderful job of selecting the right characters, stories and ending points to give us a flavour of Havoc’s future. So I can forgive the feeling of two of the strips being all too brief this time out, because we’ve clearly been spoiled by the package as a whole.

What a shame the great team assembled for RoboCop aren’t given any credit because the Deathlok ones are mistakenly reprinted instead. RoboCop: Kombat Zone reads like a who’s who of comic legends in my eyes. It’s written by none other than Alan Grant (Judge Dredd and Batman, including the Judgement on Gotham crossover, Toxic!), pencilled by Lee Sullivan (Transformers, Doctor Who, Tekworld), inked by Kim DeMulder (Batman, Transformers, G.I.Joe), coloured by Steve White (Dragon’s Claws, Xenozoic Tales for Jurassic Park, Transformers)and lettered by Richard Starkings. What talent! After finding this out I’m all the more excited now for the rest of the story.

I’m just going to finish off now with a quick look at the other non-strip pages in this premiere issue, notably the Next Issue page and the retro adverts. You may notice the date for #2 is given as Monday 15th July 1991. Havoc was advertised as being on sale every Monday and a lot of other comics said so too but were released on the Saturday beforehand. The date on the cover of weekly/fortnightly Marvel UK comics was always the date the next issue would be on sale, kind of like an expiry date for each issue, the date the newsagent would remove it from the shelves.

Havoc has the date of the following Saturday on its cover but on the Next Issue page it’s two days later, the following Monday. I have very clear memories of picking this up every Saturday morning throughout the summer of 1991 and in later years when I worked in various newsagents in my teens and early 20s comics were never released on a Monday. The only publications beyond newspapers that would ever arrive on a Monday were women’s weeklies. So I’m not sure why the wrong date is given here, but it gets even more out of sync later in the run as you’ll see.

Elsewhere there’s an advertisement for Havoc’s sister title Meltdown both in the comic itself and on the back of the free booklet, there’s one for Thorpe Park dressed up as a competition and on the back cover of this mean, action-packed, mature read are the Fiendish Feet! Oh I loved those yoghurts as a kid.

This has been a rather long post, I know. But it was necessary to introduce Havoc, its strips, their main characters and all of their creative teams. It’s been a blast revisiting this issue and I’m so glad I haven’t got long to wait until I do it again for #2, albeit it with a slightly shorter blog post. The next issue of what should’ve been a very long-running comic will be here on OiNK Blog from Wednesday 13th July 2022.