An early John Higgins cover here, showing he can paint as well as draw!
In Mind Wars, Ardeni spends the episode trapped in an anti-matter casket where she resigns herself to dying rather than helping the Jugla. Until the Grand Cosmol lets slip that there is a way for her to escape the anti-matter field. Not entirely sure what it is, but it seems to involve telepathic communication with Tilman, Kreda and Bruda on board a different ship.
This week’s Future-Shock-a-like is called The Snatch. From the title alone (and before reading it), I’m going to assume it involves aliens abducting humans. Let’s see… The first lines are “You were right starmaster! The planet is inhabited – by beings like us!” The next panel is of a Los Angeles freeway intersection (called motorway here – that seems to British to me). My next prediction is that the aliens are car-like beings, and in the best tradition of Future-Shocks, we’ll find that out on the last page, if not the final panel. Yep, right on all counts.
Strontium Dog has a new creative team this week – T.B. Grover (John Wagner) is still on board, but B. McCarthy fills in for Carlos. This story features the first appearance of Johnny’s family – his sister, niece Marci and brother-in-law Nigel. It’s also the first time that Johnny has headed to Earth. I’m sure in later episode mutants (or at least mutant bounty hunters) are banned from Earth without special dispensation – let’s see if that comes up here. Johnny and Wulf are on Earth to find an escaped criminal called Sagan, who seems to have demonic powers and has come to take revenge on Johnny Alpha by targetting his family. It’s interesting – bringing magic into the space spaghetti western style of the strip so far. As this will eventually culminate in Malak Brood and The Final Solution, I’m wondering how well this story is going to hold up…
Taking the colour pages is Ro-Busters which gets its first aliens. I’m pretty sure that aliens never appear again in this series, though prequel A.B.C. Warriors will feature some. The lunar-bug they’re in has been sabotaged, including a listening bug, tampering with the gyro-scope and planting a bomb. Luckily for Ro-Jaws and Hammerstein, the children Alvin and Emma recognise that the lunar-bug is heading in the wrong direction.
Starlord’s Stargrams is half a page long this week. In a weird piece of synchronicity one of the letters is from a member of the cast of Oliver! playing at the Albery Theatre in London. Not having heard of this before, I looked it up – it’s now called the Noël Coward Theatre and some friends of mine posted an update from there today! For that matter, I walked past it to get to a 2000AD Southern Contingent gathering just this weekend.
In Holocaust, Carl Hunter is surrounded by alien zombies and there’s something reminiscent of Shako! in this one – with misadventures in a hospital. Unfortunately the absence of a killer polar bear means this doesn’t quite hit the mark and a side-plot involving nitrous oxide does little to entertain. I know Alan Hebden can do better, and in fact hes’ responsible for one of my favourite stories ever (though I’m going to have to wait two prog slog years for it). Back to the (prog slog) present and an alien has been captured. It isn’t helping matters though, as the aliens have deployed U.F.O.s over Salt Lake City with a demand to release the captive or destroy the city.
Grailpage: Brendan McCarthy, the first page of the week’s Strontium Dog – Johnny and Wulf arriving on Earth, plus Johnny’s family.
Grailquote: T.B. Grover, Johnny Alpha: “He’s broken free! The killer Gronk is loose!”