I was thinking that the art on this Supercover Saga was possibly Evi from a previous cover, but apparently it was provided by Trevor Goring who would later (much later) go on to do some fantastically atmospheric art inside the prog. This leads me to wonder if Evi is a pen-name for Trevor Goring – all the letters are in the name…
The cover also finally promises Full Facts for the Futurefocus Postergraphs.
If I’m not mistaken, a Mike Dorey rendition of Bill Savage’s leering face greets us on the inside front cover. I do like his grimy, gritty style, perfectly suited to contemporary tales. The tale itself is enjoyable, though does highlight one of those literary devices that doesn’t make any sense if thought through logically. Today’s twist is that the new commander, Colonel R Volgaska, is actually a woman. This works fine enough, except that one character heard her speaking and Savage and Silk later encounter her in disguise without detecting a Volgan accent. This often happens in books and comics and is handwaved away until such time that they might be adapted into a format that includes audio (typically TV, film or audio plays). Other than that, a good episode with a few nice touches – Silk using a Celtic cross erected to ward off witches as a sniper rifle rest and called back by Savage in the last panel.
Judge Dredd: Komputel. A full-page splash intro which isn’t really used to best advantage by McMahon – shame, as I know he could have been much more creative with it. City Father Washington announces the city’s first Komputel open. Don’t recall any further mention of City Father Washington and I’m not really sure what that even means – is that different to the Mega-City Mayor, whose son was kidnapped by the Brotherhood of Darkness and who is later seen in an annual?* A Komputel is a completely automatic hotel, wholly controlled by computer. Nice reference to previous crazes in Mega-City One by Dredd, including cars that sing to you – the first time we’ll see a car capable of such a thing will be after Dredd has gone to the Moon. The automatic hotel starts killing guests for nebulous reasons, tries to kill Dredd, fails, gets destroyed and (some of) the guests get saved. The last panel could have served as the end of the Robot Wars and I can’t imagine it’d be easy to get planning permission for a computerised hotel in a city that has made it through those wars and has a number of chapters of anti-robot Klans still active… It’s a reasonable enough story, but doesn’t add much.
Shako! Other than the polar bear being able to bite through the steel cable tying him to the sinking helicopter, this is a good episode, with the bear pulling himself on to an ice floe and his white fur concealing himself while Foulmouth does a final sweep over the area from the remaining helicopter. After rest and recouperation the bear goes back to his old ways, killing seal clubbers, eating seal pups and generally being king of the arctic! We’re coming up to the final reckoning though.
Dan Dare over the page. The creator ‘signature’ still says Gibbons, but I’m absolutely convinced that the inks are by Brian Bolland, which would make this episode his strip debut in the comic. This is just the opening centre-spread, the rest of the episode is pure Gibbons. Dare poisons his own men to wake them from their wine-addled grogginess and the crew fight back against the alien vampires.
I can make out the first name ‘Carlos’ on the opening splash of M.A.C.H.1 but not the surname. It certainly isn’t Ezquerra and doesn’t look like Pino to me, so must be one of the many European agency artists that IPC relied on in the 1970s. The UFO reinforcements arrive, reanimating dead bodies and possessing the Sheriff, who kills his two dogs. All fairly straightforward alien invasion film-inspired stuff, leading Probe towards Pine City while being attacked by Dutch Abe zombie as the story heads towards its final episode.
The Nerve Centre contains details on how to lay out the six postergraphs and the data sheet on the back page of this prog (about which more later). On the next page a teaser for a competition next week, an advert for an external competition and two stamp adverts (of course).
Tharg’s Future-Shocks is a Flesh tie-in, with the Trans-Time Corporation offering holidays to view Pompeii being destroyed. The first two-part Future-Shock, possibly due to the Futurefocus instructions, Supercover Saga text and adverts taking up a total of four pages at the end of this prog. As well as Trans-Time from Flesh, there’s a mention of the Volgan invasion as a possible time tourist destination.
The Supercover Saga is better than some we’ve had though reads like pulp sci-fi from ten or twenty years earlier.
Finally we get some info about the Futurefocus postergraphs. Is it worth waiting for? They’re pretty reminiscent of the set-up blurb for some of the Supercover Saga texts. The sub-editor assigned to write this up has obviously read their back progs as there’s mention of the Martian Mirror from Prog 12. The text for Star Warriors (the stormtrooper rip-offs from last week’s prog) reads like a very proto-version of Space Marines from Warhammer 40k.
* whether or not those are the same mayor are not going to be answered in said stories.