Prog 49: Death to the intruders!

Dan Dare – the battle is broadcast across the empire, even as Dare and the Legion of the Lost Worlds are attacked by Storm Ships. The pacing of this episode is unusual – starts off with the Starslayer’s being a threat, though they don’t last long against Dare and his laser broadsword. A few of the Legion take to the spacesuits to attack one of the ships with axes (sorry, nuclear-assisted Astro-axes) but then repelled by Starslayers in spacesuits. The Space Fort is breached, with Dare’s men falling back to the bridge to make a last stand, but instead of a cliff-hanger we get whatever the opposite is, kind of a deus ex-machina without seeing whatever it’s going to be.

After a page of reader’s jokes (illustrated by a traditional spot cartoonist, by the looks of it), Steve Moore and Ferrer present insectoid alien invaders attacking a Venusian colony in Tharg’s Future-Shocks – it’s a botany colony, or at least has a load of hydroponic gardens. The mayor surrenders to the insectoids and another human makes it clear that the mayor is a traitor and cowardly – laying it on thick enough that we’re just trying to work out what the trap is. I’ll give you the clues that have been presented to us – the colony is on Venus. They have lots of plants there. They’re being invaded by giant bipedal flies.

The Visible Man – this is pretty good – Frank has escaped and goes through a few ideas on how to stay on the run, including getting clothes from a scarecrow and make-up to hide his features. The make-up melts off so he then tries to get a suntan, not bargaining for the effect that ultraviolet rays would have on his internal organs.

Bonjo loses his mind (well, it was still inside him, just bouncing about a bit until it got trod on). It’s not the best humour strip that 2000AD will run, but at least in the syndicated-newspaper-style three-panel strips it only takes up a quarter of a page in the Nerve Centre.

The Oxygen Desert Part 2. The Judge manages to shoot himself out of asphyxiation – if anybody can do it, it’s Dredd. Dredd has had thirty-something stories in around fifty episodes (depending on if you count the annual and special stories). In this time he has been declared dead once and quit the force once. Make that twice now. I should start keeping score! Broken-to-pieces Dredd looks like Sam Slade when he hasn’t shaven for a few days (and given the amount of robots around, maybe it inspired John Howard).

Invasion – we’ve seen team members die in Harlem Heroes (from the very first episode) but I think Silk’s death in this episode is more significant – this is a character who has appeared in almost every prog for a year, so must have been quite a shock to those who read it at the time (not just because of the length of time the character had appeared, but because I imagine most comics with long-running series didn’t kill of major characters).

Inferno – Pearly the android cheer-leader’s first murder attempt doesn’t work, thanks to Moody Bloo, so Chubb, Torso and their technician ups the ante. Just as I mentioned that Louis hasn’t appeared for a while, it turns out he was actually a team member on the cinders all along (can’t help thinking that his see-through glass head thing looks mighty fragile).

More Super Nova cards – I’ll probably do a vague review of the whole lot once the last set are published, though for the time being I’ll say they collection this week are derivative, but one of the things derived is a Jawa Sandcrawler, so all is forgiven 🙂

Grailpage – this is a really difficult one – Silk falls to his death on one page and we see Savage’s reaction on another page – if there was a single page where we get both (or even one page where we see Silk die) then it’d probably have been that one. As it is, it has to be the one where Dredd a) reveals to his fellow Luna-1 judges that he’s still alive and b) gives up his lawrod, helmet and badge (the lawrod looks like a lawgiver to me – in Mega-City One the lawrod .

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