Created by Diana Dru Botsford, Spiral Zone takes place in the year 2007 where military scientist Dr. James Bent (voiced by Neil Ross) uses a neon military space shuttle to drop his deadly Zone Generators bacteria across half of the Earth, thus creating a region called the Spiral Zone due to its shape. It ran for 65 episodes in 1987.
Those who were living in the Spiral Zone were transformed into “Zoners” and gained yellow lifeless eyes and strange red patches on their skin. They also have no will to resist leading Dr. Bent to rename himself Overlord and turn them into his slave army.
Bent/Overlord also invented an antidote which made him immune to the bacteria which he shared with his soldiers that he called his Black Widows. A deviced called the WIdowmaker keeps them immune to the mind control the Black Widows but their exposure to the Spiral Zone still leaves them with yellow eyes and red patches on their skin. They included Bandit (real name unknown – voiced by Neil Ross) who is a master of disguise and terrorist of Middle Eastern origin; Duchess Dire (aka Ursula Dire – voiced by Mona Marshall) seen as a charming woman of British nationality, she is an assignment expert, hardened criminal, and Overlord’s mistress; Razorback (aka Al Krak – voiced by Frank Welker) a bladesman; Reaper (aka Mathew Riles – voiced by Denny Delk) a manhunter; Crook (aka Jean Duprey), a French Scientist who tricks Reaper into becoming immune to the spiral zone in the episode ” Shall You Reaper;” and Raw Meat (aka Richard Welt), a truck driver who got tricked through Bandit in episode called “Bandit and the Smokies.”
Overlord seeks to conquer the world by bringing everyone under control with the Zone Generators. The Zones feed off human energy, which is why Overlord does not kill anyone inside.
Standing in his way are The Zone Riders who were formed after the bacteria struck. The incident caused international cooperation even between the United States and the Soviet Union. Britain soon joined too after British scientists created a rare material called Neutron-90. However, only a limited amount of Neutron-90 is remaining in the world after the British government orders the destruction of the only laboratory where the material is produced.
What is left is used to build combat suits for five specially-trained soldiers called the Spiral Force, also known as the “Zone Riders.”
- Cdr Dirk Courage – Zone Riders leader, United States (voiced by Dan Gilvezan)
- MSgt Wolfgang Tank Schmidt – heavy weapons specialist, West Germany (voiced by Neil Ross)
- Lt Hiro Taka – infiltration specialist, Japan (voiced by Michael Bell)
- 2nd Lt Max Jones – special mission expert, United States (voiced by Hal Rayle)
- Cpl Katerina Anastacia – medical officer, USSR (voiced by Mona Marshall)
As the series advances, the Zone Riders discover that there is still enough Neutron-90 left over from assembling the five suits, sufficient to build two additional suits. They are issued to Australian demolition specialist Lt Ned Tucker and field scientist Lt Benjamin Davis Franklin.