Involved with the prog since the beginning, Kev O’Neill is much more visible in this prog – getting both a cover and a three-episode story (apparently written and drawn by the art droid). A giant alien dominates the cover, with details on its spacesuit which would be at home on the casing of one of O’Neill’s meks. There is no official credit, but O’Neill sneaks his surname in at the bottom.
Carlos Pino is one of the artists who will make it well in to the credited era and his signature has pride of place on the first page of Invasion! In case I haven’t mentioned it, and in case you don’t already know, IPC (and other British comic publishers) had policies against crediting the creators, as they believed it would lead to the creative talent getting ideas above their station if it were allowed. Editorial at 2000AD had to fight not only to eventually get credit boxes added, but even to stop having signatures whited out on art pages. As for the actual story, Savage has made it to the Scottish border where he immediately has a disagreement over tactics with the local resistance fighters. As the most famous thing about the Scottish border is Hadrian’s Wall, stones from said landmark get catapulted on to missile-launchers to rescue what local fighters are left alive. Savage manages to commandeer one of the mobile missile-launchers and wipes out the other Volgs with their own weapons – a case of poetic justice.
In Harlem Heroes Louis drops hints that he has suspicions about Cord, but in the meantime puts forward his plan to trick the Blades into thinking that the Heroes have lost their nerve, which allows them to equalise their score. This is a tactic that can only work once, however, and their next gambit is to trick four out of the remaining Blades into injuring themselves so that only two remain in the air. Winning the game, suspense is maintained by the final panel trailing the next episode, where the Heroes (and we, the readers) will find out who the final team they face will be.
With the end of Dare in the previous prog, M.A.C.H.1 is our only Belardinelli in this prog. We get a tale of death by molten gold, betrayal and poetic justice. It’s seeming that a high percentage of early 2000AD stories end with unsubtle poetic justice. Anyway, artwise our favourite Italian artist puts in a good job, but his style can’t have full reign in a standard spy story.
Next up is the first Future Shock! No, wait a minute – I could swear that’s what we were told last prog, but instead we get a three-part Tharg story (apart from a few panels in the Nerve Centre, the first actual Tharg story we’ve had). I’m not too upset though, as we get a proper comic story by Kev O’Neill, and it’s much better than the Dredd tale he provided in the Summer Supercomic. Surprisingly we get an appearance from Robot Archie (and I thought his only appearance in the Galaxy’s Greatest had been in Zenith). Tharg treats the invader and us to a tour of the Kings reach Tower. There’s a return appearance of the Biog Ax. I have a feeling it’ll appear in Blackhawk a few years down the line also. The three-pager ends with Tharg promising us our first glimpse of a Future Shock… next prog. Before I forget – O’Neill gives us his version of some mainstream superhero comic characters – I spot designs which are reminiscent of Captain America, Spiderman, a Thor/Superman hybrid, Iron Man and the Incredible Bulk.
Shako gets a family life, at least he does for three pages, at which point the family gets killed by paratroopers. Now it’s personal, both on the part of the one-armed Falmuth and the now family-less Shako. In the tradition of Action comic, Shako gets creative in his killing, grinding one trooper’s skull with his teeth and disrobing the other before burying him alive in snow (a frozen meal for consumption later).
This prog’s Nerve Centre makes up for the last prog by accompanying the Supercover Saga story with two letters and a Big Screen picture. As with previous instalments, the story is probably just written by a sub-editor to provide flavour to the cover picture.
Rounding off the prog is Judge Dredd investigating the Wreath Killing. From the moment we get shown the detail of a murder victim being taken away in an ambulance, with drivers who get to speak lines, we can surmise that they’re responsible. Dredd enlists the help of M.A.C. the Macro Analysis Computer to identify any patterns. As well as our glimpse of Justice Department technology with MAC, we also get the first use of the lawgiver’s self-destruct feature upon reading unauthorised handprints. I wish I’d been paying more attention, but I’m pretty sure this is Dredd’s first smile as he gloats over the impending death of the perp.