M.A.C.H. 1

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M.A.C.H. 1 directs here, for the Thunderbolts member formerly known as M.A.C.H. 1, see Abner Jenkins
Publication information
Publisher IPC Media
First appearance 2000 AD #1 (26 February 1977)
Created by Pat Mills & Enio
In-story information
Alter ego John Probe
Team affiliations British Secret Service
Abilities Super-strength
On-board tactical computer

M.A.C.H. 1 was a comic strip that ran in the British science fiction comic 2000 AD. The strip was created by writer Pat Mills and illustrator Enio. It debuted in the first issue of 2000 AD, which was published in February 1977, and ran nearly continuously until issue 64, dated 13 May 1978.


Pat Mills has said the idea was a deliberate ripoff of The Six Million Dollar Man after kids said they wanted to see that in a comic, and the concept of a computer brain as a partner was taken by John Wagner from Marvel Comics' Deathlok.[1] The name came from Doug Church while Mills, according to Church, came up with the acronym on the spot.[2]


John Probe is a British Secret Service at first engaging in missions against Communists, terrorists and organised crime, Probe eventually discovered that his superior, Denis Sharpe, had engineered the compu-puncture treatment which had given him his abilities so as to erase Probe's pre-augmented memory and to cause his death if he did not receive frequent treatment. As a result, Probe was forced to work for Sharpe.

Initially, M.A.C.H. 1 thematically resembled the Six Million Dollar Man, but with more graphic violence. As the strip continued the tone became increasingly dark. This contrasted directly with The Six Million Dollar Man, who began as a killer, but was progressively softened by the TV networks until it fitted into family entertainment.


  • John Probe: A British Secret Service agent who volunteered for a special procedure whereby his physical strength, speed and agility would be enhanced using 'compu-puncture' (M.A.C.H. stands for "Man Activated by Compu-puncture Hyperpower"), a computerised form of acupuncture. His metabolism was controlled by a computer implanted in his skull, which also fed him tactical information such as the amount of strength or the exact throwing angle required for a given task.
  • M.A.C.H. Zero: M.A.C.H. 1 later came across M.A.C.H. Zero, a prototype who had not been equipped with a computer implant and had consequently become insane, and Tanya Maski, an East European M.A.C.H. agent created after Sharpe had sold the compu-puncture techniques to the Soviets. Sharpe also created a robotic M.A.C.H. 2 with which to kill Probe. Eventually, M.A.C.H. 1 killed Sharpe and then sacrificed himself to enable aliens, provoked into attacking Earth by Sharpe, to return home. M.A.C.H. Zero later appeared in his own strip.


Both characters have appeared in their own eponymous series. M.A.C.H. 1 was later reprinted in Eagle and also in anthology format (the beginning and end in 2000AD Extreme Edition #6 and #9). Appearances include:

M.A.C.H. 1[edit]

  • "Vulcan" (with Pat Mills (1)/Robert Flynn (2) and Enio (1)/Ian Kennedy (2), in 2000 AD #1-2, 1977)
  • "Battleship" (in 2000AD #3, 1977)
  • "To Kill a President" (in 2000AD #4, 1977)
  • "Probesnatch" (in 2000AD #5, 1977)
  • "Himmler's Gold" (in 2000AD #6, 1977)
  • "Bolavia" (in 2000AD #7, 1977)
  • "Spain Kidnap" (in 2000AD #8, 1977)
  • "Our Man in Turkostan" (in 2000AD #9, 1977)
  • "On the Roof of the World" (in 2000AD #10, 1977)
  • "Operation Death-Drive!" (in 2000AD #11, 1977)
  • "The Laser Hound" (in 2000AD #12, 1977)
  • "Airship" (in 2000AD #13, 1977)
  • "Chinese Formula" (with Steve MacManus and Kato, in 2000 AD #14, 1977)
  • "Kraal" (in 2000AD Summer Special, 1977)
  • "Yeti" (in 2000AD #15, 1977)
  • "Capitol" (in 2000AD #16, 1977)
  • "Spotbox" (in 2000AD #17, 1977)
  • "Skyscraper Terrorists" (in 2000AD #18, 1977)
  • "Corporal Tanaka" (in 2000AD #19, 1977)
  • "Tokyo" (with Steve MacManus and Lopez, in 2000 AD #20, 1977)
  • "Recluse" (in 2000AD #21, 1977)
  • "Arab Story" (in 2000AD #22, 1977)
  • "Spy Plane" (in 2000AD #23, 1977)
  • "King Karat" (in 2000AD #24, 1977)
  • "Terror Train" (in 2000AD #25, 1977)
  • "The Death Trumpet" (with Steve MacManus and Marzal Canos, in 2000 AD #26, 1977)
  • "The Planet Killers" (in 2000AD #27 - 29, 1977)
  • "Operation Hercules" (in 2000AD Annual 1978, 1977)
  • "UFO" (in 2000AD #30 - 33, 1977)
  • "Everest" (in 2000AD #34 - 35, 1977)
  • "M.A.C.H. Woman" (in 2000AD #36 - 39, 1977)
  • "Death Ray" (in 2000AD #40 - 42, 1977)
  • "M.A.C.H. Zero" (with Steve MacManus and Ramon Sola, in 2000 AD #43-46, 1977-1978)
  • "Return to Sharpe" (in 2000AD #53, 1978)
  • "The Dolphin Tapes" (with Steve MacManus and Jesus Redondo (1-2), Montero (3-4), in 2000 AD #54-57, 1978)
  • "Swamp Saga" (in 2000AD #58, 1978)
  • "Origins" (in 2000AD #59 - 60, 1978)
  • "The Final Encounter " (with Pat Mills and Montero, in 2000 AD #61-64, 1978)
  • "The Taxaco Venture" (in 2000AD Sci-Fi Special 1979)

M.A.C.H. Zero[edit]

  • "Cousin George " (with Steve MacManus and Mike Donaldson (1-2, 4, 6-8), Ramon Sola (3, 5), in 2000 AD #65-72, 1978)
  • "Cyborg Express (with Henry Miller and Kevin O'Neill, in 2000AD Sci-Fi Special 1978)
  • "The Suit" (with Steve MacManus and Montero, in 2000 AD #73-75, 1978)
  • "M.A.C.H. 0 Book 2" (with Steve MacManus and Mike Dorey, in 2000 AD #162-165, 1980)


B.L.A.I.R. 1[edit]

A spoof, entitled B.L.A.I.R. 1, a satire on Tony Blair, appeared in 2000 AD in the late 1990s, and gained considerable media attention at the time. The story was not popular with readers, however, and was soon killed off.


A second spoof ran in the 40th Anniversary Special: a fake 'original' version of the strip Zombo, dropped from the comic's original line-up. Z.O.M.B.O. parodied M.A.C.H. 1, Invasion!, and other 70s strip tropes with an over-the-top working class Zombo (playing the John Probe role) paired with an upper-class Etonian.


  1. ^ Thrill-Powered Overload! page 13
  2. ^ Thrill-Powered Overload! page 14

External links[edit]