2000AD and Starlord Prog 103: Turn up the heat! The robo knackers yard is— Hell on earth!

Kevin O’Neill brings us a very red cover, with melting droids screaming in the furnace while humans look on.

In the Nerve Centre we get instructions on how to put the four parts of the poster together (cardboard, painted black to stop print showing from the other side, stick on to cardboard) plus a warning from Tharg for Earthlets not to copy art from other comics. He also says something about how his robots would be punished by a visit to Mek-Quake if they copied…

John Howard continues on Judge Dredd: The Day the Law Died! with Gary Leach returning, alone this time (if you remember, he was working with Bolland on an earlier episode). It’s a Klegg-heavy episode, and Leach is great at drawing Kleggs – starting from their first appearance and continuing to a post-Cal tale (which I think is going to be called Night of the Blood-beast, but I might be mixing up stories). Dredd and Fergee pay a visit to his old rooms and Walter, who is forced to serve the Kleggs billetted in the rooms. A few great moments, most of which revolve around Fergee being slow on the uptake and overreacting when he understands a joke.

From John Howard to T.B. Grover and Ian Gibson with Robo-Hunter reaching the Verdus Parliament. ‘Grover’ takes the opportunity to lampoon the British Parliament, with the usual braying and nonsense that older readers would be used to, though I’m not sure if Parliament was broadcast in those days – I remember TV broadcasts coming in, but was radio there earlier? Slade heads off in maintenance ducts while the rest hide out in a politician-bot’s office.

The last part of that McMahon reprint poster fills the centre pages once more taking us to…

Dan Dare: Servant of Evil! Part Four: Death in Space! Tom Tully provides the over-blown narrative with Dave Gibbons handling all the art and lettering. So, about art droids copying from other sources – something that may or may not share similarities with the nose of the Battlestar Galactica encounters two cruises – which have command towers looking rather like those of Star Destroyers… Dare’s impulses cause him to totally blow the scout ship’s cover and they have to land in swampland not far from the Stone of Life stronghold. Putting two and two together, a giant toad-man monster lives in the swamp.

Ro-Busters: The Fall and Rise of Ro-Jaws and Hammer-Stein! Part One: The Robo-Knacker’s Yard! wastes no time re-introducing Ginger the robo-taxi from Ro-Jaws Memoirs – he’s right there in the first panel. Ro-Jaws did see a dead Ginger that time, being taken off by the Robo-Knackers. Unfortunately for Ginger, his head was still in good condition, so he was given a new body made from bits and pieces, recharged and put out to work once more, before eventually ending up in Ro-busters. Ro-Jaws and Hammer-stein lead him to meet the other robots, and mention that things are really easy lately as there haven’t been any major disasters for a while. Of course, a lack of disasters mean a lack of work, and a lack of work means a lack of income. Now that it’s no longer profitable, Quartz is going to end Ro-Busters – but to avoid paying to close the company down is going to load the worst robots on the Preying Mantis and blow it up for insurance.

Ro-busters continues with a black and white 2000AD Star Pin-up of Hammer-stein (actually a photo that appeared in colour on the back of Starlord previously).

In the Laugh In! Hammer-stein handles the letters while Ro-Jaws takes care of picking reader’s art.

On the back page we get a star pin-up of Robo-Hunter (including Kidd and Cutie) to make up for the lack of Slade for the past few months.

Grailpage: Gary Leach – a shadowy Dredd and Fergee on the outside of Dredd’s citiblock illuminated by the light coming from the window, watching four kleggs running Walter ragged.

Grailquote: Just because it’s a couplet of lines that I’ve remembered since first reading this story about thirty-something years ago – T.B. Grover, Angry Party politician-bot: “For two beans the Angry Party will come over there and bash your stupid circuits!” Stir-it-Up Party politician-bot: “The Stir-it-Up Party will provide those beans!”

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