Bill Savage is a fictional character in 2000 AD. He first appeared in the story "Invasion!" in progs 1-51. He is a resistance fighter in the Free European Army (FEAR) against the
Volgans, who invaded and conquered Britain in 1999 during the Eight Hour War. His family include his brother Jack, a pub owner in Birmingham who was killed when the Midlands was nuked; his sister Cassie and her disabled husband Noddie (who was brain damaged by Volgan non-lethal weaponry), who assist in the resistance; and his other brother Tom, a journalist who publicly co-operated with the Volgans.
Bill Savage appeared in the first issue of 2000AD (1977) in the series "Invasion!" which depicted the conquest of Britain by the Volgan's People's Republic (an alternate version of the USSR which had replaced Communism with Fascism) in the (then) future year 1999. A truck driver from East London, he wasn't particularly political but after discovering his wife, son and daughter had died as collateral damage from a Volgan tank shell, he went out to kill any Volgans he could find. His successful extermination of a Volgan tank crew was spotted by Lieutenant Peter Silk, a member of the British resistance, and Savage was drafted in. Initially leading the Mad Dogs (with Lt. Silk as his 2nd in command) guerilla unit out of a secret base in the
Isle of Dogs, Bill Savage became the most successful resistance agent. His flamboyant actions and brutal common sense turned the tide of many missions.
When the heir to the throne, Prince John, returned to Britain, Savage and Silk were involved in keeping him safe and attempting to smuggle him back to
Canada. They succeeded, though Silk was killed by Volgan agents. "Invasion!" ended in prog 51 with Savage believing that, as the Volgan agents had murdered American citizens, the United States would cease being isolationist and would liberate Britain.
In 1979 Bill Savage returned to 2000AD in "Disaster 1990," a prequel to "Invasion!" showing Savage dealing with the consequences of a nuclear accident that causes the melting of the Arctic Ice Cap and a temporary rise of the coastline that floods southern England. It does not appear to be canonical with "Savage".
The story of Bill Savage's fight against the Volgans continued on in 2004 when "2000 AD" published "Savage: Taking Liberties"; it took place in 2004, turning the strip into an alternate present story rather than alternate future. Savage was depicted as a far more grimmer and generally sociopathic character than before; at one point, he slaughters a restaurant full of civilians simply for eating in the same place that Volgans and collaborators do.
It was revealed Bill Savage had returned to Britain to continue in the resistance after discovering the Americans had made a deal with the Volgans; outside of some background support from a CIA contact, they would not help Britain. While in America, he decided to cover up his identity by having plastic surgery to look like his late brother Jack to avoid being captured by the Volgans. He moved in with his sister Cassie and took a job at the gas company as a cover (allowing him to trigger
gas explosions against Volgan patrols). A dying resistance member was made to resemble Bill and died during a suicide bombing, in order to make it seem Bill was dead while also leaving no way to properly identify the body. so his body couldn't be determined not to be Bill's. Bill's other brother Tom was aware of the switch but kept silent.
Under the guise of Jack, Savage and his allies in the Free European Army were almost successful enough to force the Volgans out in Book 1. He was subsequently captured by the secret police and later escaped, but this set off a chain of events that would inevitably lead to his cover being lost and him, Cassie and Noddy being forced to go underground in Book 3. When Volgan Marshall Vashkov was due to make a visit to Britain, Savage infiltrated the safehouse where he was staying by disguising himself as his brother Tom, who had a press pass for the building and who wanted to get back at the Volgans for the rape of his daughter. Savage was successful in killing Vashkov, though it does not appear to have done any real damage to the Volgan regime.
In the third book Bill is seeking personal vengeance against State Security agents who murdered Tom Savage after discovering he had secretly written stories that would be embarrassing for the regime. Savage and his sister Cassie killed all three of the agents responsible, only for it to be discovered that Savage's former-MI6 resistance contact had been behind it and was secretly a collaborator.
*"Invasion!" (in 2000 AD #1-51, 1977-78)
*"Disaster 1990" (in 2000 AD #119-139, 1979)
*"Savage Book I: Taking Liberties" (in 2000 AD #1387-1396, 2004)
*"Savage Book II: Out of Order" (in 2000 AD #1450-1459, 2005)
*"Savage Book III: Double Yellow" (in 2000 AD #1526-1535, 2007)
*"Savage Book IV: The Guv'nor" (in 2000 AD #1577-1586, 2008)
"Invasion!" was released as a collected volume in March 2007 by Rebellion ISBN 1-905437-26-9.
"Savage, Volume 1: Taking Liberties" collected "Savage" Books I to III in June 2007 by Rebellion ISBN 1-905437-28-5.
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