Prog 74: Flesh

Last prog I was surprised that Old One Eye hadn’t actually been mentioned, but the presence of the Flesh logo in the bottom right corner of this McMahon cover bodes well.

The ‘Tharg Data Nerve Centre’ lets us know that in honour of next week’s 75th prog we’re going to get a multi-part boardgame based on Cursed Earth (it will have been a good week or two since the Star Lord one finished, after all).

Dan Dare’s Mutiny! continues in the midst of the meteor mega-storm. Bear resists but is knocked out from behind (don’t remember it being this easy to put him out of action prior to this) and Dare cuts the lights so he can escape with Hitman. They’re headed for the main computer room but stop off at a med-centre in order for them to discover that Gunnar has escaped (no, doesn’t make sense to me either). Dare decides that a good way to escape would be by going to the anti-grave shaft. Which can be controlled from the bridge.

Tharg’s Future-Shocks – no title given but the largest words on the first page are ‘Dead hit!’ so let’s go with that. The first line is: “‘Red’ Packer was known as the greatest hunter on Earth”. Now, with such an opening, there’s two ways a Future-Shock could go – one is the obvious way where you don’t really need to read this two-page ‘shock’ to find out how it ends. The second way would be some clever subversion of the genre where the hunter doesn’t end up being hunted by aliens. Guess which way this *ahem* shock goes?

Ant Wars next. I don’t remember the crop on the plantation being mentioned last prog, but it turns out to be tobacco – which Villa decides to use to form a barrier of fire. Then Anteater notices that there are storm clouds in the sky but is ignored until it starts to rain, extinguishing the fire barrier. Then Anteater pays attention to a sewer hole, Villa tells him to stop doing that and join in the fighting (those who fight are killed). Then Anteater knocks out Villa and drags him down to the sewer, once he comes around they follow the sewer to the river. Then Anteater spots an ant that has followed the line of the sewer. I realise what all this reminds me of – Invasion. Highly trained and/or otherwise experienced people make basic mistakes and put down the person who wouldn’t be expected to be tactically-minded or experienced in battle strategies. Said person then saves the day (though it should be noted that, other than Villa, not many people are being saved in this story). I put all the sentences beginning with ‘Then Anteater’ so it’s easier to spot how many times Anteater acts like a protagonist, i.e. a lead character who makes the key decisions and propels the story forward – as opposed to somebody like Villa who appears to be the protagonist until you realise he doesn’t make a whole lot of decisions (and the ones he does are all bad).

Judge Dredd: The Cursed Earth Chapter 14: For Whom the Bell Tolls! You either get no title (like this week’s Future-Shock) or loads of titles and sub-headings. It starts with a great battle between Satanus and another Tyrannosaur for leadership of the pack with Pat Mills providing the sort of apocalyptic prose that can only come from a Catholic upbringing. Dredd, Judge Jack and Spikes head off to town while Tweak learns English from the computer. On the fourth page Satanus remembers his first life, before he died sixty five million years ago and was brought back to life by cloning (not sure memory works like that, but let’s go with it). This is where mention is made of his eight-year old mother, referred to as a she-devil, hag-mother, hag-bitch. After his death the narration continues, and she becomes the greatest monster of all time and finally is explicitally named as Old One Eye. Pat likes his mythic naming – Satanus gets named ‘the Twice-Born’, ‘the Unchained’ and ‘son of Old One Eye’ by the end of the episode. Dredd just gets called ‘the Food in Black’.

MACH Zero: The Suit Part 2 continues with Harry Winthrop’s burning. At about the point that he accidentally burns through a wall Harry realises that he doesn’t have to take orders and get pushed around any more and goes after Sir Charles (the professor who did this to him) – on the way he bumps in to Zero, assumes he’s also been experimented on by Sir Charles and the pair go Charles hunting. Harry has come up with a plan but we’re not told what it is, while Sir Charles is told that the heat and radiation the suit has been subjected to will result in an explosion.

A double-helping of Inferno this prog (sort of) with an episode and a Belardinelli star pin-up of Artie Gruber. With the story, it looks like there may have been interference from on high as two of the Hellcats are quickly dispatched (reminiscent of the rushed ending to Harlem Heroes). Teejay gets dispatched in two panels, Junk Jackson just gets a narration box (not even a panel!) while Marvin also dies between panels. Three dead in two pages in a so-far unsuccessful attempt to save Giant’s life…

Grailpage: Double-page spread by Mick McMahon of Satanus fighting another Tyrannosaur for dominance atop a volcano!

Grailquote: Pat Mills, Tweak: “I play with a ball… Dick and Jane play with a ball… Judge Dredd will not play with a ball.”

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