This issue has a pretty good painted rendition of Hammerstein in kill-frenzy (as trailed in the next prog box last week) – though the war-droid’s legs are a bit dodgy – there’s a word balloon that could have been placed over them to cover them up. Spoiler, the scene in question won’t appear until right at the end of this week’s episode – that ‘next prog’ caption from last week would have been just as appropriate this week.
Mind Wars sees the Jugla war fleet reach Earth and the first place they attack? Miami! I’m pretty sure Redondo drew a MACH One story that started off in Miami, though could be wrong. Eventually they get around to attacking the Federal Capital – the largest city in the galaxy, though there’s no clue where on Earth it’s located – hint – somewhere bordered by mountains on one side, and not London or Berlin. The fighting largely takes place off-panel as the only reason for the ‘invasion’ is to allow Ardeni and Arlen to sneek in on the Solar Saint.
One of the revolting robots on the Ritz Space Hotel (it might be Space Ritz Hotel – I forget) seems to fancy Ro-Jaws, though I’m not sure anything will come of it. There’s a line-up of robots at what is apparently there last meeting before they kill all the fleshy ones. In the background is a Mek-Quake-like robot and elsewhere is something that is possibly a Walter-a-like plus another that looks like a storm-trooper (not the first time the distinctive helmet shape from Star Wars has made an appearance in the pages of 2000AD/Star Lord). As predicted, the scene on the cover doesn’t appear until the last panel, once Hammerstein has been hypnotised and ordered to kill Ro-Jaws.
In the double-page Starfax the plug for Star Lord is reciprocated as Tharg makes an appearance to make sure the Star Troopers spend their 9p on 2000AD as well as 12p on Star Lord each week.
Another proper colour double-page spread for Strontium Dog – Wulf and Johnny defeat the Jox trap (that’s the trap set by the alien race known as Jox last episode) and find out their side of the story. The mad computer was given full legal powers, though can be deposed if a delegation of 27 Jox are assembled. There are currently 26 Jox, one of whom is a pregnant woman – though the robot spider taken with Johnny and Wulf turns out to have a neutron bomb (and it legally has to give 60 seconds notice of the explosion). The Jox all scatter, though the blast radius of the bomb is three miles, so there’s no way they can escape in time. Wulf bemoans that they could have saved them with a time device – though after spending almost the next minute trying to defuse the bomb with alpha vision, Wulf and Johnny escape using said time device. It is not explained why they couldn’t have just used a time bomb on the spider itself, sending it way off into space where it could explode harmlessly. Anyway, Johnny swears vengeance on the computer for involving the S/D agent in the genocide of the Jox.
In the next S.S.B. (what does that stand for, anyway – Star Survival Blueprint? Something like that – it’s the Star Lord version of a Thrill) Planet of the Damned the plants of Sanctuary continue to attack, leading those within to escape down an underground river which ends in a lake of acid. Flint handily tells everyone about the lake of acid, but doesn’t give any tips on how to go down the water slide without ending up dissolving to death. The trick would have been to make sure they were on one side or other of the tunnel when it opens out into the acid lake so those who have already made it can grab hold of them – as Flint didn’t let anyone know this beforehand, one girl (sorry, wench) dies. One panel later they are in the crosshairs of Charlie’s Angels and by the end of the page Kerr has returned, but transformed into the leader of the ab-humans (for some reason – I’m not going to try to make sense of it).
The last SSB this week is Time-Quake which continues from last week with Zeidler’s entirely unexpected reveal as Martin Bormann. Blocker’s 40th century blaster is out of juice so he throws the advanced technology into the middle of a mid-20th century warzone – guess he didn’t get told about introducing technology before its correct time. Between them, Blocker, Cho and Bormann get attacked by Nazi troops, Soviet troops and US bombers (the latter seem to have forgotten that the Soviets are now allies). Fortunately Bormann is a villain and is compelled to ramble on at length about how great he is and that the reich lasts a thousand years under his rule as fuhrer. As most readers would have pieced together, Bormann had killed Ziegler while the latter was researching the besieged city and took his place – it just so happens that this event is abbout to happen in a few minutes. Before it does happen, Quezalcholmec, curious what has happened to the time agents, jumps up the line and kills Bormann. Blocker then picks up a gun (there’s been plenty of dying soldiers around lately, he should have gone for that gun instead of the out-of-juice blaster) and kills another Bormann from earlier in his Bormann’s timeline. All clear? Nothing left to do now apart from for Blocker to try to force a kiss on Cho through a technicality (which he then refuses when Cho shapechanges into an old crone).
Grailpage: it’s always tempting to pick a King Carlos page for this, but we do have another 41 years worth of pages to pick from, so I’ll go for the opening spread for Ro-Busters – a war-robot going through a hume’s y-fronts, a space scene (with admittedly pre-Star Wars style space ships) and Ro-Jaws wearing pink bra, skirt and stole (and then gatecrashing the ballroom in that get-up).
Grailquote: an exchange from the same story between a robot who hates Ro-Jaws and that other one who I think might fancy him (there’s body language shown that leads me to think that) Pat Mills, Ro-Jaws hater: “I know that Ro-Jaws… a real weirdo! I don’t like him!” Ro-Jaws lover: “Oh, I do! Ro-Jaws hater: “Shuddup!”
Now – next up is the 1978 2000AD Sci-Fi Special. It’s in one of these boxes, somewhere – wish me luck finding it, or there might be a delay until the next blog post!
P.S. I looked it up in Star Lord No 1 – SSB stands for Starlord Survival Blueprint.