Our first view of Billy Joe is on the cover. His most distinctive feature is that he has two heads – I can’t help but feel that this is going to be a big reveal in the story within, except it’s already been revealed, right on the cover… Ezquerra provides the honours and it’s a great cover, apart from my reservation.
Mind Wars has a confusing start – Doctor Varn and others on Earth appear to be watching a live transmission from the ship that Ardeni stole from Varn, yet the dialogue tells us they have no idea what’s going on inside the ship. Anyway… Klee-Fang is still wearing the cap and Ardeni is still being driven mad. Deciding to end it all she propels the Vegan Belle towards the sun – obviously Tillman isn’t happy about this and slaps her out of it. Ardeni uses the power of the sun to burn down Na-Rutha’s palace and promises that he will be next. Immediately afterwards she gives up and resigns herself to dying in the heart of the sun – erm… Tillman convinces her to do something to save their lives and she accelerates faster into the heart of the sun. As far as Earth is concerned, “Ardeni Lakam is dead!” and if you believe that then you haven’t been paying much attention to pop culture…
Ro-Busters attend the 2078 Farnborough Droid Show. As you may expect, they’re there as exhibits rather than visitors. Meanwhile at Heathrow aero-space-port a robot pilot called Roger (who has more dents in his head than I’d trust for a pilot) is caught in a storm. The navigator robot gets hit by lightning and so Roger’s back up is activated. So now Roger is working in pilot mode and navigator mode simultaneously and I doubt either would pass an MOT (MoT stands for Ministry of Transport – not entirely sure what the 2078 robotic equivalent would be). It turns out that Chatterbox is a sky-spy droid from the Big war and responds to the old distress frequency. I wonder if this is the same war that Hammerstein is a veteran of? Hammerstein and Ro-Jaws are currently still playing around demonstrating fire fighting (to whit, Ro-Jaws is spraying Hammerstein with fire extinguisher foam) but are due to be sent on a suicide mission to save the airplane (and its 2,500 passengers).
Maybe I’m making too much of the reveal on the cover – this is the second episode of a story called Two-Faced Terror! after all. Though thinking about it, I’m not sure we’ve seen any mutants other than Johnny so far… The main focus of this episode is a las-whip duel to the death between Billy Joe and Johnny Alpha, which Alpha loses. But Alpha has an ability that we haven’t seen yet – he can control every muscle in his body, including his heart, and is just faking being dead. Wulf is told to take Alpha’s body out of the Big Dusty (the desert on the alien world) and so he takes Johnny to a sheltered spot and manages to revive him. It doesn’t look good for Johnny though, and Wulf has to find help. The next week tag: “Oh! Oh, my poor heartses!” gives a suggestion where help is going to come from.
Starfax is filled with reports from children preparing for war – this is how cults start!
TimeQuake has the time team do a few time hops and end up commandeering one of two spaceships by throwing spears at robots (?) who look like the Michelin man – and they deflate as if they’re constructed from tyre inner tubes as well. Being from the far future (38th century if I recall correctly) Vinda easily masters the vibro-spindle which controls the spaceship, shooting down the spaceship containing Quex’s people, which is destroyed in a hydratomic explosion. Their ship splashes down and they’re all about to drown, but it being 1492 they get rescued by Christopher Columbus as he is about to make landfall in America. It’s thatkind of time travel story. Blocker attempts to harass Suzie Cho into a kiss again. Cho agrees but shape-changes into a creature reminiscent of Pizza the Hutt from Spaceballs. Blocker never learns. The idea of this story has lived with me – space-bourne Aztecs, but the execution doesn’t do much with it.
On the next page are two adverts – one for the latest 2000AD (featured in yesterday’s blog post) and one for the next Starlord. A new story starts, Holocaust, featuring Carl Hunter. I’m trying to remember anything at all about this story, but all I can remember is a story about a plane that crashes in a desert which I think appeared in 2000AD and was drawn by Ian Gibson. At least initially – it got completed by another artist, possibly Redondo. I’m sure I’ll come acxross that later this (present-day, one comic a day) year.
Just when I thought it was all over, there’s another Hardware Profile on the back page – this time a photo of a model provided by Martin Bower. The description suggests it’s some sort of mobile missile launcher, though the picture looks more like a mobile scout-ship launcher. We’re meant to believe it’s being tested in Scotland though the picture shows a red-filtered desert. In sci-fi terms this is Mars unless otherwise specified. Also, despite being in testing it’s already meant to have enough of a fearsome reputation that enemy pilots are scared away just by the sight of it. I’ve said this before (usually about covers) if you have some artwork, just let it stand on its own – don’t feel the need to write background for it, please!
Grailpage: Ezquerra’s Wulf and Johnny on skimmers headed for a small town in an alien desert – the classic kind of imagery which lets you know you’re reading Strontium Dog!
Grailquote: Alan Hebden, Ardeni Lakam: “Hear me, mighty sun! Amplify my thoughts across the void to stirke at the source of the evil on the Jugla homeworld!”