We get a proper cover from Dave Gibbons for this prog, with the brainwashed Dan Dare in thrall to The Mekon (not that this scene appears in the prog, but at least it isn’t assembled from panels of previous comics).
Tharg talks about E-Man and Tornado in the Nerve Centre – I guess E-Man got renamed Big E late in the day! Mention is made of Tornado’s Hall of Heroes – I gather it was originally going to be named Heroes rather than Tornado, so this lived on…
Ro-busters: The Terra-Meks Part Four: The Big Lie! has Charlie lured out to sea where the navy destroyer fires on the giant robot, who sinks below the waves. Nice touches are that the crewmen of the destroyer (including the captain) are none too happy with their orders, being sailor’s themselves. In the aftermath, the public are not fooled by the ruse and Howard Quartz bemoans his collapsing share prices, while Mek-Quake apologises for doing Big Jobs, though this apology does not get a good response from the people of Northpool. Famously, Charlie is not dead, and stirs on a stormy night some weeks later. Can he make it back to shore? With encouragement from the working class people of Northpool he makes it through the wind and rain (and won’t be walking alone).
The Day the Law Died! opens with a casting-call for a new TV spectacular (opportunity missed to call it Tri-D there). The roll to be cast is Judge Dredd and those auditioning are variously fat, skinny, short and old. Cal picks the ‘midget’ (actually a dwarf, but we already know Cal’s a bad guy). Next to be cast is Cal himself – first pick is Conred Conn, said to be the handsomest man in the world. After a little persuasion from Cal, Grampus and a knife, Conn agrees to the part. Everyone pictured here is depicted perfectly by Brian Bolland. Meanwhile Dredd’s fight with Fergee gets off to a bad start, but it’s Dredd so he gets a few blows back in, dunking Fergee in the Big Smelly. After a few false ends, Schmaltz dies of his injuries from the crash through City Bottom. As Griffin points out – there are now only five judges against the rest of the city – they need Fergee, and any other friends they can get.
The second part of the low-res, blown-up four-part poster is next, leading to a teaser for the return of Johnny Alpha, about to journey into Hell – soon!
Robo-Hunter opens with SJ-1 looking on helplessly as Slade and Kidd are attacked by robotic sewer rats. They escape by jumping into the waters of the sewer itself. Overthinking it – there aren’t any humans on this planet (apart from around the experimentation complexes) so they’d have to be the cleanest sewers you’ve ever seen – they’re probably cleaner than rivers and lakes that people on our planet swim in out of choice. The duo managed to escape from the rats (on the lookout for impurities) but they’re not safe for long as a Sewergator comes along, also on the lookout for Impurities, but on a larger scale. They’re swallowed, but that isn’t the end of them, as inside is B.O. the operator of the Sewergator, who has been alone down here for fifty years. We don’t find out exactly what B.O. stands for, but it’s probably Bilge Operator. In a Seventh Seal turn of events, the pair have to play a game for their lives. Except the game is Robopoly instead of Chess. And they’re not exactly playing for their lives, more for their freedom to leave and not play boardgames (or maybe just Robopoly) for the rest of their natural lives.
Dan Dare: Servant of Evil! and Dan still doesn’t know who he is, and falls for the tale that The Mekon tells him, ready set to do big green bonce’s bidding. The Mekon (or is that Mekons?) have a planned obsolescence of 300 years, the end of which is coming close. The Crystal of Life offers some home to the evil mastermind, and somehow Dare will figure in his plan.
Ro-Jaws and Hammer-stein’s Laugh In! has a few jokes (none funny enough for me to type out here) and Mek-Quake, fresh from running away from a fight in Terra-Meks. Sharing the second page of the Laugh In is what looks like a preview of the Future-Shock that introduced Alec Trench to the Squaxx Dek Thargo!
Finally on the back page, the holidaying family from Bill le Fevre are in a passenger container which seems to be treated like a cargo container – they stay inside and it gets shuffled from one vehicle to another.
Grailpage: Dave Gibbons, the page beginning with newspaper headlines, continuing with Mek-Quake apologising and ending with Charlie stirring at the bottom of the sea.
Grailquote: John Howard, Fergee: “From now on we be friends. Fergee still top dog, mind.” Judge Dredd: “You’ve certainly got the most fleas!”