Invasion! (2000 AD)
|Publication date||26 February, 1977 to 11 February 1978|
The series introduced the character of Bill Savage, a classic anti-authoritarian character of the type which Mills is best known for. It has been continued in the sequel series Savage, beginning in 2004, by Pat Mills and Charlie Adlard.
Alternate historical background
In the alternate recent history established in Savage, Russia fell to a Fascist military coup and was renamed the Volgan Republic by Marshall Vashkov in 1991. In 1992, vast new reserves of North Sea oil were discovered off the coast of Britain. Ken Livingstone became head of the Labour Party, and his "True Labour" movement gained power over Shirley Brown's Conservative Party in a 1995 general election. In 1996, Prime Minister Livingstone ordered the removal of all American military bases from the British Isles; by 1998, a newly isolationist United States had withdrawn completely from Europe and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
By 1999, Prince Charles was King of the United Kingdom. The United States and Volgan Republic had a secret agreement, carving up the world into spheres of influence. Meanwhile, a fifth column among the establishment, feeling threatened by the new left-wing government, made overtures to the Volgans, offering to help with any invasion.
Progs 119 to 139 contained the prequel story Disaster 1990, which shows Britain being flooded by melting polar icecaps in 1990. Savage has not treated this as canonical.
Set in the year 1999, the first part of the series depicts Western Europe and the United Kingdom's being swiftly overrun by an invasion from the Volgan Republic known as the Eight-Hour War. North Sea oil rigs are seized by helicopter-borne commando units; Heathrow airport is captured by paratroopers, allowing heavy transport planes to land delivering heavy armour close to London; and the Midlands are hit by nuclear weapons, including a 50 megaton warhead. The UK Government capitulates, with many hardline anti-Volgan MPs, Lords, and generals along with Prime Minister Shirley Williams being executed; a puppet government, under Prime Minister Simon Creepton, takes control for the puppet state of The People's Republic of Britain.
Bill Savage, an East-End lorry driver, begins a one-man resistance movement against the Volgans after his wife and children are killed when Savage's home is hit by a Volgan tank shell during the invasion. As with similar characters that Mills and Day had created for other titles (such as Action and Battle Picture Weekly), Savage is given a gimmick, his preferred weapons: a hauling hook and a sawn-off shotgun. Initially solo, he is recruited by Lt. Peter Silk into the British resistance. Initially leading the Mad Dogs cell out of the Isle of Dogs, Savage would later be mobile and take part in resistance action throughout the country. Throughout the series, Savage's brutal violence and working-class common sense lead to victory, whereas military resistance is depicted as being class bound and ineffectual.
At the end of the series, Savage is tasked with taking the heir to the throne, Prince John, to safety in Canada. He smuggled the prince into North America on a US cargo ship; as Volgan agents murdered most of the crew trying to stop him, the series ended with Savage believing the United States would now get involved against the Volgans.
The Volgan War (AKA the Fourth Oil War) became part of a connecting backstory for a number of 2000 AD series including ABC Warriors.
In the sequel series Savage, the Volgans are still in command in 2004 and are being opposed by terrorist insurgent groups like the Free European Army and Traitor's Gate. Escapist fiction like Lord Cyboid and the Silver Rapier is abundant, produced by the Volgans to pacify the general public; propaganda campaigns try to convince people to accept the occupation and not be "bitter-enders". Some people have come to accept the occupation or actively collaborate with it; they are described as "Double Yellows", after the twin yellow stripes on the uniforms of the British State Security agents and police officers who collaborate with the Volgan regime.
Despite the non-aggression agreement with the United States, American small arms and other weapons are used by resistance movements. Savage also has a CIA contact, and the two share information against the Volgans. Any major activity, however, is not taken and occupied Britain does not seem a high priority. (They would also be caught off-guard and be left out in the 2004 uprising.)
Under the direction of Savage, the resistance manages to almost force the Volgan peacekeepers to withdraw from Britain in 2004, though they manage to cling to power and send renewed troop numbers in. Subsequently, Savage assassinated Vashkov.
Consequently, State Security agents retaliate by murdering Savage's brother Tom after discovering he had secretly written stories that would be embarrassing to the regime. Savage and his sister Cassie kill all of the agents responsible, only it is discovered that Savage's former-MI6 resistance contact had been behind it and was secretly a collaborator. Savage then kills him and his security team and posts a copy of his brother's work on the Internet. As a result, the resistance, alongside the population, rises up against the Volgan "peacekeepers" and liberates most of Southern England.
Book Four, however, opens with the country re-occupied after 2006, when a fresh surge of troops is deployed. By now, some people in Britain are coming to accept Volgan rule. the United States, however, is now heavily outfitting resistance units with American weaponry and preparing to use Ireland as a staging ground for a liberation. Savage prevents the Volgans from causing a fake terrorist atrocity to drive off the Americans, and by 2009 the Allied forces are openly bombing Volgan targets in London. They also used electromagnetic weapons to "e-bomb" the city, wiping out most electronics and reducing it to a 1984 level of technology; many citizens are disgruntled, wondering why the Americans are not bombing the Volgans.
2009 also sees the liberation of Britain begin, with army robots being used as the advance wave at Fishguard. The Volgans develop a teleport machine that sends their troops into the American bases to kill the commanding officers. Luckily, Bill Savage and some of the resistance destroy the base in London but they use it once to put a Siberian tiger in a Volgan General's tank. The Volgans have started creating their own battle robots called Mark 1 Blackblood robots. Bill Savage finds two American pilots, who escaped from a Volgan P.O.W camp, in Siberia; they tell him they have found a secret city underground called Ugelgorsk, where the Volgans are building Mark 1 Blackblood robots and planning to use them in Wales, then Ireland. Bill and his accomplices now have to get the pilots to Liverpool's coast, where there will be a boat to take them to Dublin. They succeed, and Bill is later told that three U.S long-range bombers have destroyed Ugelgorsk and most of the Mark 1 Blackblood robots. Bill Savage feels happy, saying it is only a matter of time before the Allies break through the Welsh Front and liberate Britain.
2010 however The Welsh Front is still a stalemate between The Allies and The Volgans, in a council flat in the East End of London Savage (disguised as a Volgan peacekeeper) kills a Volgan collaborator and his family and make people believe he's dead, in his cafe he is informed by his accomplice that Quartz has created an army of Mark Two Hammerstines better than the Mark One Hammerstines who kept killing everything in sight and can't tell friend from foe, but Savage has new instructions, he is to go to Allied HQ in Dublin where he will be given instructions at a certain time where he will lead all the resistance groups and liberate London.
In Ireland Bill Savage meets Howard Quartz in an abandoned Dublin housing estate watching the new Mark Two Hammerstine in training, Quartz show him they will only attack Mark 1 Blackbloods and Volgan Soldiers, In Dublin Castle the Allied military staff say that he has done well uniting the resistance groups and the dangerous street gangs, even the notorious gangs like The Tolpuddle Gang who are opposed to The Royal Family's return, are also helping, Quartz arrives and tells him the President has his instructions that he will return to London and prepare for the liberation. He himself must not be involved in the fighting because all the resistance groups look up to him and it might ruin the resistance if he is killed, understanding he goes back to London and prepares for liberation.
Allied Robots have now retaken Cardiff and seized Bristol, there have been further landings in Liverpool and Glasgow, King Charles The Third has sent a message from Canada saying this is the Supreme Test for the British people he said he and his wife, Queen Diana were Praying for the liberation, President Dick Quartz tells them that this is still no time to celebrate, in London the British Resistance groups are causing havoc for the Volgans, In his Cafe Bill Savage prepares to fight, but his sister said that he promised General Woodhouse that he wouldn't take part, but he tells her that ever since Sheila and the kids died he was already dead, saying goodbye to his sister he joins his group and prepares to attack.
Allied Robots are now advancing east towards the Oil Refinery Port, U.S Navy Seals have taken the North Sea Offshore Platforms preventing the Volgans from destroying them, Britain’s newly discovered oil reserves are the third largest in the world and the reason why the Volgans invaded in 1999. The Volgans say the only reason the United States is liberating Britain is to seize the oil, Britain is about to be exploited by American Oil Companies under a secret new deal signed by the Provisional UK Government, which guarantees Quartz Oil HQ and Seven Sisters Oil gives a cheap crude for Thirty Years with up to seventy-five percent of the profits, critics say that Britain is being forced to surrender its independence once again, President Dick Quartz says that he is on a divine mission and his brother Howard Quartz that the Oil belongs to the British People, in London Allied Robots have reached Swindon and now British Resistance Groups and Volgan Soldiers are fighting for control for the Bridges Across The Thames. Bill Savage and his group are fighting in London, it soon comes clear that his group are protecting him because he is key to the resistance, but he says he will keep fighting, but whilst fighting he is spotted by a sniper.
The Sniper is distracted in the defence fort when he is accused of stealing, however he soon gets back to work and nearly kills Savage but a member of the resistance jumps in the way, Savage and the group open fire on the fort, looking up in the sky the Volgan soldiers see the Volgan Air Force is returning to Siberia, depressed they ask their female Sergeant to sing, she dose and the British Resisters start singing along until Savage tells them to stop, saying they are fraternising with the enemy, they tell Savage although they are the enemy they're still Human Beings, Savage says there not Human there Volgans.
In an attempt to prevent the Hammerstines reaching London The Volgans destroy Tower Bridge, Westminster Bridge and are about to destroy Waterloo Bridge until Savage drives a car into them filled with H.E then he and his group massacre The Volgans and now have to hold the bridge until the Hammerstines get there.
The British Resistance groups now are all meeting at Waterloo Bridge celebrating, however Savage is more cynical saying they will soon be taking orders from the Americans because they are the new invaders and the reason they were invaded in 1999 was because they Britain want to do what the British wanted to do. Bad news arrives when he is told that the Mark Two Hammerstines have screwed up because on their way to London the Volgans were using Virginia Water as a fort and the Hammerstines programming told them that because of the houses property values they were too expensive to destroy so they surrendered and were destroyed by a bulldozer reprogrammed by The Volgans. Even worse the Volgans in London are Counter-Attacking.
A Volgan T20 Tank tries to destroy the bridge but Savage destroys the Tank with a Heat Seeking rocket launcher, afterwords he meets the Leaders of the The Tolpuddle Gang who say they think Howard Quartz deliberately sent faulty Hammerstines to give the British Resistance false hope and attack without U.S support so The Volgans would wipe them out and anyone who thinks the Oil is rightfully the British People's and not Quartz Oil's, and say Savage has betrayed them all.
As The Tolpuddle Gang leave the fort Savage and the rest prepare to defend, seeing the housing estates where The Volgans are massacring everyone in sight. In the ruins of another fort the surviving Volgan from Warterloo Bridge are hiding, one of them a conspiracy theorist, says the V in their National Flag is the symbol of the Freemasonry, saying Stalin was secretly financed by Henry Ford and the American banks, and Vashkov was financed by the Quartz Brothers because they were members of the secret Skull Club, they ask if they were both friends why are they now enemy's the solder replies because the Quartz's main income is the weapon industry, they need war to make a profit, and say the world would be a better place without them.
Bill Savage, now depressed thinking when Britain is liberated it will be rebuilt in Quartz image saying they have swapped one invader for another, Volgans try to negotiate with Savage saying if the resistance surrenders they will be treated as prisoners of war, Savage says they will fight until they die. In the council flats the British Resistance is now pushing back Volgan soldiers, Major General Rankov tells the officer attacking Waterloo Bridge that Savage is still alive and leading the resistance and that there can be no prisoners and they must destroy Waterloo Bridge, meanwhile Savage plans to get revenge on The Sniper.
The weapons of Bill Savage
When Invasion! started, Bill Savage was armed with a double-barreled side-by-side shotgun. After getting into contact with the British Resistance, he was given a pump-action shotgun. Throughout the original series and in the new Savage series, Bill Savage is shown to be skilled in the use of various types of firearms - both friendly and enemy.
The various firearms Bill Savage uses in the Invasion! and Savage series comics, besides his tried and trusted double-barreled side-by-side shotgun, are:
- Various types of AK rifles the Volgan Army uses
- The Beretta Model 92FS pistol (as seen in Savage: Taking Liberties, in which he used this in conjunction with his pump-action shotgun)
- The Heckler & Koch MP5 submachine gun
- The Kalashnikov AKSU-74 assault rifle (as seen in the recent Savage series)
- The L1A1 Self-Loading Rifle 7.62.mm automatic rifle (as Invasion was published in 1977, the writers had no idea that by 1999 the British Army would be using the L85 series of 5.56.mm rifles)
- The Remington Model 870 pump-action shotgun (the pump-action shotgun Bill Savage uses resembles the Remington Model 870)
The Volgans were originally intended to be the Russian army, but IPC's management forced a last-minute change to a fictional group for fear of offending the Russian embassy. Savage portrays the Volgans as Russians, following a name change.
- Invasion (various writers and artists, in 2000 AD #1-51, 1977–78)
- Savage (All episodes written by Pat Mills):
- "Book I: Taking Liberties" (art by Charlie Adlard, in 2000 AD #1387-1396, 2004)
- "Book II: Out of Order" (art by Charlie Adlard, in 2000 AD #1450-1459, 2005)
- "Book III: Double Yellow" (art by Charlie Adlard, in 2000 AD #1526-1535, 2007)
- "Book IV: The Guv'nor" (art by Patrick Goddard, in 2000 AD #1577-1586, 2008)
- "Book V: 1984" (art by Patrick Goddard, in 2000 AD #1632-1641, 2009)
- "Book VI: Crims" (art by Patrick Goddard, in 2000 AD #1685-1699, 2010)
- "Book VII: Secret City" (art by Patrick Goddard, in 2000 AD #1740-1749, 2011)
- "Book VIII: Rise Like Lions" (art by Patrick Goddard, in 2000 AD Prog 2013 and #1813-1823, 2012-2013)
The titles have been collected into trade paperbacks:
- Invasion (March 2007, ISBN 1-905437-26-9)
- Savage: Taking Liberties (June 2007, ISBN 1-905437-28-5)
- Savage: The Guv'nor (July 2012, ISBN 1-781080-40-2)