Star Lord Issue 2: You’ll never be the same after reading it!

After Star Lord No 1 comes Star Lord Issue 2 (nothing like consistency in a new comic). This issue had a free gift, a Space Calculator. I’ve never seen one of these, but it looks like it was a piece of cardboard with windows cut out and another card which slid up to reveal facts about various planets (and possibly the moon). Other than that, this issue features what looks like a Brian Bolland Time Quake cover.

Over the page is the first episode of Mind Wars. Confession time – I’ve cheated on this one, as I read the whole of Mind Wars last week, from the two floppies that were given away with the Judge Dredd Megazine this month and last month (plus I dug out the Star Lord annual which had a derivative sequel set one year later). But this time I’ll try to forget all that and take one episode at a time. This story is set in 3000 A.D. and takes place in the midst of a war between the alien Jugla Empire and the human Stellar Federation. The Jugla use Primary Neural Irradiation to both grant supernatural powers and gain (partial) control of two humans on a remote colonised world. We’re introduced to the story’s female lead while she’s skinny-dipping. Pretty soon Ardeni (and her brother Arlen) have seen their parents die, been primary neural irradiated by the Jugla, almost got crushed by a falling escape pod, brought the pilot back to life, been accused of treason, turned a gun into white hot metal (assuming guns in the year 3000 are made from metal), been tranqulised and are to be put before a planetary inquisition. Alan Hebden and Jesus Redondo don’t waste time!

Speaking of time – Blocker faces the Droon and almost immediately shows an aptitude for tactical planning involving force fields and time travel despite not knowing either existed about ten minutes earlier. Blocker destroys half of London by starting the Great Fire of London before seeing the rest of London destroyed by a nuclear holocaust.

The next page isn’t called Starlord’s Nerve Centre, though may as well have been. Hail, Star-Troopers and a survival scan (one of those quizzes where you look up the answers in a A=5, B=2, C=0 format). These pages are most notable for the showcase of Kevin O’Neill’s robot regiment badge.

Johnny Alpha and Wulf Sternhammer continue their search for Max Quirxx on the planet Caytor. There’s two important new elements to this episode (in addition to the continued anti-mutant sentiment from the norms) – the first is the time bomb which catapults Quirxx two days into the future, at which point the planet has moved on, leaving the bounty to die in the freezing vacuum of space. The second is the propensity for Alpha to give away the bounty to a local mutant, in more need of the money than the two S/D agents.

The crew and passengers of the TriStar jet suffer from acid rain. This is a sci-fi comic, so you can guess what form the acid rain takes… (hint, you don’t need litmus paper to tell whether it’s acidic or not) Over on the Death Planet, Lorna Varn and Cory may vie for leadership, but on the Planet of the Damned Jake Flint is the only natural leader, with no dissent. Flint leads the survivors towards Sanctuary – oh, did I say there was no dissent – a passenger named Kerr whips up disquiet and leads a few of the passengers back to the wreck of the plane to await rescue (how they expect anybody from our world to find them on the ab-world is not explained). One of the pages looks like it’s been cut in half and adjusted to allow a full-colour landscape advert across the lower half of a double-page spread – weird formatting (the comic panels are still in black and white). The adverts are for a starship battle-log game (with an illustration by O’Neill) and Strontium Dog, with mention of the electronux and a Gronk.

Ro-Busters finishes the prog, with a focus on the Preying Mantis. Quartz is laying on the sales patter thick with a general touring the Ro-Busters base (which we find out is off the coast of South America). Things I find interesting about this episode – the first glimpses of Hammer-Stein’s war memoirs, including the blurring of the past and the present to which the shell-shocked war droid is prone, what happened to Hammerstein’s first head and a description of how Ro-Jaws actually works (eating waste, grinding it up and then expelling it through the stomach door that the child hid in last week – couldn’t have been clean in there!) The next disaster hits while the general is at the base – a red mist has enveloped Florida, sending everything kill-crazy (well, humans and alligators, anyway). By the way, the last page is in full colour, so we get to see how colourful Howard Quartz’s telephones are.

Grailpage: Carlos Ezquerra’s full-colour double-page opener for Strontium Dog, featuring a brief run-down of mutant persecution, plus a Caytor cityscape.

Grailquote: T.B. Grover: Citizen 73826522: “Don’t talk to that man! He’s one of those nasty Strontium Dogs!” Sharon: “No! Thank you, Mr. Strontium! Mummy doesn’t like you, but I think you’re a nice man!” Johnny Alpha: “Thanks yourself, kid! But if you take my advice, you won’t try starting a fan club!”

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