This is the second cover by Brian Lewis (his first was the Nazi World 2478 A.D. / Time Control 85 million B.C Time-Quake cover). It is rather reminiscent of a Dorian Gray film poster – it could almost be denied, except that’s a very distinctive belt!
Mind Wars usually takes the first story honours, and this issue is no exception. It opens with the funeral of Arlen Lakam (who is getting shot into space “to travel the stars forever” – if that’s the usual method of body disposal there must be a lot of space rocket coffins flying around the solar system). Doctor Varn wants Ardeni to help the Federal Interstellar Strike Corps to find the Jugla homeworld, though seeing as the compatriots killed Kola not so long ago she doesn’t have much time for this request. Tiller and Ardeni head off and are given a starchart by Kola’s people but the Jugla attack soon after. It’s all a ploy to trace Ardeni’s brain waves so that a projection cap can be put on Klee-Fang’s head (the shoulder dragon who eat piranha for breakfast) to send Ardeni mad.
Over in the Ritz Space Hotel the CEOs of the robotics companies are finally attacked by the revolting robots and we get a robot’s eye view of the organic characters – which is rather similar to a dragon’s eye view of its prey, as we’ll find out in 1984 or so. ½ Tough saves the Chairman of British Leymek, but rather than the replacement arm opts to have the Chairman get down on hands and knees and act like a robo-servant to the outmoded robot. There’s a very hasty wrap-up of the story, including what motive the two humes masquerading as singers had (they were performers who wanted to discredit robot super stars in order to revive their own careers). The most interesting bit of this episode is a conversation between Hammerstein and Ro-Jaws. Hammerstein is usually presented as strictly following orders and looking down on the disobedient Ro-Jaws, but they both look forward to a forthcoming (real) robot revolution. Pat Mills will explore this more in about a year and then much more in about forty years time!
Strontium Dog presents a new story – Two-Faced Terror! The bounty hunters catch Spiro, who is to be taken to another planet on the next shuttle in five days. In the meantime Johnny and Wulf are convinced to take another bounty, Billy Joe. This is a trap set up by the Police Chief to prevent Spiro being taken in the shuttle as Billy Joe has made a habit of collecting S/D badges (though curiously the Police Chief also seems to have a collection). There’s a nice scene with a young boy ‘shooting’ Alpha with a toy gun, followed by slightly older natives of the planet with real guns (which are melted by Alpha while he flips a coin).
Starlord’s Starfax is back with a report or two from Starlord’s child soldier army. One concerns a cell who has infiltrated another cell, but then they’ve sent a letter in to be published revealing their espionage. First rule of spycraft – don’t publish your secrets in the newsletter both groups subscribe to!
Another survival scan (the 3 option quiz), this time for Laser Specialists – have they covered all the badges yet?
In Time-Quake the plan for Blocker to jump into a volcano and reappear is of course, carried out by his jumping forward 500 years to a time when the volcano is extinct, then leaping back. Despite the promise, Quex comes up with another requirement – for Blocker’s heart to be cut out and offered to the goddess Cotliculu. Suzi and Vinda decide that it will be sad, but Blocker must die to convince Quex. Blocker comes up with a better idea (unless he’s bluffing) and convinces Vinda to rescue him. The idea involves travelling forward 32 years to the midst of a battle between the conquistadors and Aztecs…
On the back page is another hardware profile, this time of a rocket-like trooper carrier. Unlike the previous week’s profile, this doesn’t say who provided the model – though the presence of some old-fashioned cars in the foreground suggest it’s not a recent construction.
Grailpage: Pino, Ro-Busters – the colourful robots-eye-view of organic lifeforms (as they’re being killed).
Grailquote: this is becoming a habit (both in the prog and in Star Lord) – Pat Mills, Hammerstein: “I’d lik a little something to remember him by, his shovel… it meant so much to him.” ½ Tough : “Perhaps, perhaps I could have his stabliser wheel.” Hammerstein: “I’d better take a few bits for the lads back at base. They thought a lot of Ro-Jaws, too.” Ro-Jaws: “Shove off! Can’t a robot have a quiet de-activation in peace?”