Preview: Third World War Book 2 – Back To Babylon

by Richard Bruton

Third World War – Book 2 – Back To Babylon, where Pat Mills brings his striking political tale of global corporatisation and exploitation back to Britain. The thing is, despite it being three decades after the fact of these stories being published in Crisis, this still reads as relevant and his artists still make it look damn good – a prophetic screed on politics that still hits hard.

Welcome back to Britain, never more a third world country than it feels right now, the issues of the late 80’s still relevant today…

Cover by Sean Phillips

If you weren’t there 30+ years ago, Third World War was one of the lead strips in Crisis, the more adult version of 2000 AD that wore both its heart and its political leanings on its sleeve. And now, three decades and more since then, it’s a damning condemnation of where we’re at and how far we’ve come that something so obviously political and damning back then still resonates today.

Because here in volume 2 of Third World War, Pat Mills brings the fight back to the shores of Blighty and, in doing so, addresses issues of the corporate takeover of the world, the ongoing ecocide facing the world, animal rights, the issues with Northern Ireland and, as the volume goes on, the fundamental racism that existed then and still exists now throughout the legal and political strata of Britain.

Yes, it’s Mills dropping issue after issue into the storyline but it works for the most part, only occasionally veering into lecturing the audience, but his driving vision for the series hammers the point home so well, particularly when he focuses more tightly on the institutionalised racism at every level of the country.

Where he was accompanied in volume one by just the series’ co-creator Carlos Ezquerra, here he finds his artistic collaborators expanded, with Ezquarra joined by Angela Kincaid, John Hicklenton, Sean Phillips, Richard Piers Rayner, Glyn Dillon, and Duncan Fegredo. It makes for a book of artistic contrasts, with the highlights possibly being Phillips and Fegredo’s work, early in both their careers, a sign of the greatness to come.

In World War Three Book One, Mills’ used his everywoman character, Eve Collins, to tell of a near future where global capitalism and corporate control run rampant, with Eve’s experiences with Freeaid in Central America opening her eyes to the rampant corporate exploitation going on.

Now she’s back in Britain for six six weeks R&R. But coming back to the country after seeing all she has, it’s impossible for her to be the woman she was and sees a Britain of poverty, desperation, and discrimination and responds to it with a convert’s zeal and a drive to do what she can to change the world.

Art by Angie Kincaid

So what we get here is Eve embedding into alt-culture – anti-establishment groups, eco-warriors, animal rights activists, the problems in Northern Ireland, basically everything Mills wants to throw at the book.

However, it really begins to gel and develops into something that ends as a scathing assault on the racism that enveloped the country at the time when Eve gets herself entangled with the Black African Defence Squad (BADS).

Art by Carlos Ezquerra

And it’s once Mills narrows his focus that the book really hits hardest and reads best, with Mills driving home the outrage as he explores, in his own unique way, the notion of institutionalised racism in the police and government.

It would be good and relevant even if this were just a product of its time that we’ve moved on from. Sadly, Mills’ Third World War is more relevant and thus more of a required read than ever.

Art by Sean Phillips

Third World War Volume 2.
Originally serialised in Crisis issues #15-24, 26, 27, 30-34 from 1989.

Written by Pat Mills, with Alan Mitchell and Malachy Coney. Art by Carlos Ezquerra, Angela Kincaid, Jhhn Hicklenton, Sean Phillips, Richard Piers Rayner, Glyn Dillon, and Duncan Fegredo.

Released 5th January 2021

Right then, to end all this we’ve got an extended preview of what’s to be found inside… not the usual first few pages but instead a glimpse at the artists and themes you’ll be enjoying inside.

Starting off with Angela Kincaid drawing Eve’s return to the UK…

And then that leads into Eve looking for help from her eco-terrorist mates, with art from John Hicklenton

And then we get the return of series co-creator Carlos Ezquerra detailing the return of another of Eve’s comrades from Freeaid to good old Blighty…


A young Duncan Fegredo taking over with ‘Liat’s Law’ as Eve gets further and further out of her depth…

And a similarly fresh at the start of a glittering career Sean Phillips

Richard Piers Rayner‘s fine artwork gracing the pages later on…

And last but not least, what I reckon is an 18-year-old Glyn Dillon bringing Eve face to face with the Beast of Babylon…

And finally, one thing that Crisis always delivered was covers that popped… here’s a few…


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