The Mad Max Wiki

Out of it were birthed crackling dust and fearsome time. It were full-on winter, and Mr. Dead chasing 'em all.

– Savannah Nix (The Tell of Captain Walker)

Pox-eclipse, derived in part from the term "Apocalypse", is a subject of lore used by The Lost Tribe to describe the nuclear exchange that marked the end of oil-based civilisation as it was then known.


According to Dr. Dealgood, civilisation ended with a war that was "damn near the death of us all." The Lost Tribe represent this war in their cave paintings with a nuclear mushroom cloud. The exact date of the event is not known.

According to George Miller, in the original timeline, the nuclear exchange happened after the events of Mad Max 2. According to the 2015 Mad Max: Fury Road prequel comic books, the war occurs after Max Rockatansky defeats the Toecutter's biker-gang and disappears into the Outback, prior to the events of The Road Warrior.

This is a very understandable conception since it stands to reason that many survivors escaped the destruction of the larger cities. It’s also reasonable given the horrific state of the world in Mad Max 2 -- the rapid devolution to neo-Barbaric Hordes.

Nuclear Fallout[]


The ruins of Sydney engulfed by a sand storm.

Although it is never specifically stated or shown just what kind of devastation Australia suffered, we know it did suffer to some terrible extent. Sydney seems to have been hit with at least one nuclear weapon -- we see it in ruins at the end of Beyond Thunderdome -- and it would stand to reason that Melbourne, and the other, larger cities, was devastated as well.

The clues to this nuclear devastation are rather subtle in some cases, while blatant in others, throughout the entire series, but are definitely there—

Mad Max[]

Outlaw biker gangs terrorised the roads. There was an ever-escalating state of lawlessness as the world grew closer and closer to Midnight on the “Doomsday Clock.” The Main Force Patrol was created to help combat this growing plague of violence and Anarchy. Yet, the decay was distinct as even MFP Headquarters -- the Halls of Justice” -- were in a dilapidated state.

Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior[]

By the time we catch-up with Max Rockatanky, Australia (as a microcosm of the world at large) has devolved into a Darwinian state of “survival of the fittest.” The survivors of the nuclear holocaust are reduced to nothing more than scavengers. Many have subscribed to the notion of “safety in numbers” and have created new communities. The communities, basically, boil down to armies. At this point, there is no law and order. There are no rules. There is only survival. As such, road wars are waged as battles for things, for salvage, for useful goods, especially gas and oil.

Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome[]

When we find Max again in Beyond Thunderdome, his vehicle can’t even drive on its own and he has resorted to using camel power. The first sign of civilisation that is seen post-apocalypse is called “Bartertown.” It is a town that actually has some rules and regulations which bind its inhabitants. It has a leader -- Aunty Entity -- who rules it. Yet, beneath this exterior of order lies a different form of barbarism and savagery in the form of Thunderdome.

Mad Max: Fury Road (Comic Series)[]


The Mad Max comics, by Vertigo, acted as a prelude to Fury Road. In the first book, "Nux & Immortan Joe," the audience is told about the devastation that befell Australia from a History Man, "One ordinary Wednesday, the power was turned off . . . and it didn't come back on again. The world went beyond the tipping point. The cities fell apart. It was anarchy . . . chaos. There was nothing to aspire to other than . . . survival. Those who could left the city to a slow, creeping death . . ."[1]

Mad Max: Fury Road[]

In Fury Road, when we first see Max, he is wearing some sort of “Geiger Counter”-like radiation detector on his back. Also, we see a Siamese lizard, that is, a mutated lizard with two heads, which Max kills and eats.

Then we’re introduced to the War Boys. The War Boys are also known as “half-lifes” because to a person they are inflicted with cancerous tumors and other forms of ailments. In fact, the Coma-Doof Warrior is blind and rather physically deformed.

During the first chase sequence, the Wasteland is wrought by a terrible storm which spews tornadoes.

The Green Place which Furiosa and her group are searching for has been turned into an uninhabitable bog. The Vuvulini explain that the soil had soured and nothing grew, indicative of nuclear rains.

At the Citadel, we encounter one of Immortan Joe's mal-formed sons -- Corpus Collosus -- evidence of genetic mutation or decay. In fact, Immortan Joe is in a perpetual attempt to pro-create a healthy “full-life” progeny with his five wives. We meet two of his sons in Fury Road -- Corpus Collosus and Rictus Erectus -- and each of them is genetically defective in some way.

Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga[]

In the fifth, [prequel] film of the franchise, we meet Scabrous Scrotus. He too, like his brothers, has a malformed skull. Together, these clues illustrate that Australia did in fact suffer terrible nuclear devastation.  

During the meeting at the Citadel between Dementus, Immortan Joe and the other warlords, there is an exchange about Furiosa in which The Immortan remarks that Furiosa looks pale to which Dementus replies, "You look pale! She's perfect! Not like the genetic absurdities you have for sons!"

The Lore: Pox-Eclipse[]

The so-called “pox-eclipse” is derived from a misunderstanding of two words -- "Apocalypse" and "eclipse." It could be argued that "pox" is a third inference.

Apocalypse, with regard to the Mad Max Saga, is used in the context of an "ending" as in a catastrophic -- in this case, thermonuclear -- devastation.[2]

Eclipse means to block out, as of light, which is a natural phenomenon witnessed by Earth's inhabitants on occasion when our moon blocks out the light from our sun.[3]

A pox is a virus disease, a plague or a curse.[4]

These co-mingled words, as well as their definitions, act as a lore that the young adults of the Lost Tribe impart to the younger ones through their ritual of oral-storytelling they call “The Tell.”

It is through The Tell, assisted by some cave paintings and found objects, that the cobbled memories and snippets of what the oldest ones saw and heard is passed on, a way for them to knit everything they understand into a sensible narrative of order and reason. Not having adults present who know what really happened, the older kids have inadvertently warped the truth into their own mythology.