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Created by writer Alan Hebden and artist Massimo Belardinelli, Meltdown Man ran in 2000 AD from prog 178 to prog 227 (50 episodes in total). It told the tale of Nick Stone, a former S.A.S. officer apparently blasted into a possible future by a nuclear explosion. In this future, in a neat reversal of the classic Planet of the Apes scenario, sadistic humans oppress downtrodden genetically-altered animals (called 'Yujees') whom they keep as slaves!

Quickly orienting himself to this strange reality, the newcomer pits himself against the corrupt humans and their regime, in particular the vile overseer Leeshar and his Yujee henchmen the Tiger Commander and the psychic, hypnotic-powered cobra King Seth. Stone's band of Yujee rebels include cat girl Liana, wolfman Gruff, bull-man T-Bone and dog-man Billy the Pup (who originally worked for Leeshar, but switched sides). Their revolution is a complete success and results in the downfall of Leeshar, ironically partly due to the final heroic sacrifice of his own Tiger Commander.

Stone meets various weird and wonderful characters along the way, including the crazed polar bear Pole-Axe and the psychic eagle Kinita. Returned to his own time as suddenly and unexpectedly as he came, he is left to wonder whether any of it was real...

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By Massimo Belardinelli

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