2000AD and Starlord Prog 108: The doctor will examine you now… Say ah… Aaaaah!

Dr Feeley Good appears on the cover, terrorising a pair of humes in their living room, cover courtesy of Mike McMahon.

In the Nerve Centre, Tharg takes recent industrial action as an excuse to push subscriptions. Tharg also blames industrial disputes on the changing of Belardinelli to Carlos Pino towards the end of Flesh (I’m still convinced it’s because he got moved over to The Angry Planet).

The Day the Law Died! reaches its climax as the de-programmed judges reclaim the streets from the Kleggs. Meanwhile, Dredd uses a roadliner (much like the one that crashed through to the Undercity) to break in to the Statue of Judgement. Fergee finally gets his opportunity to get heavy as the de-programmed judges weren’t as de-programmed as it had at first appeared – at least not in the presence of Cal himself. Pinned down, only Fergee has the strength to pick Cal up and carry him to his death (along with four brainwashed judges who tried, and failed to stop him). So dies Fergee (and Cal). Kleggs attempting to escape don’t get much further than the atmosphere, while statues to Fergee are erected citywide. Not for the last time, there are calls for Dredd to become the next Chief Judge, though his place is on the streets. Instead, Griffin is appointed Chief Judge, with Pepper as his Deputy. After the trials of his trip to the moon, his trip across the Cursed Earth and his trip to the Undercity, Joe needs a rest so will be back in two progs time.

The advert for Tornado boasts of the longest poster in British comics – looks to be six week’s of centre-spreads formed of twelve illustrations by Carlos Ezquerra. Also starting, Blackhawk – apparently an ex-slave who will become a centurion.

Cutie’s (metaphorical) ghost looms over Robo-Hunter‘s opening panel. Slade goes on the rampage, Smokin’ Joe falls down some stairs and Boots hails a taxi (again). It’s a pretty functional episode, joining up the bit where they were imprisoned and Cutie sacrificed herself to save Slade with the next bit. Nothing wrong with that, just not a lot for me to write about!

Strontium Dog, Journey Into Hell! Johnny, Wulf and the Gronk escape from the rain of fire but discover that everywhere that they were ‘splashed’ is now a green, festering sore, like the citizens they encountered before the rain came. Heading towards a square in the First City of Hell they follow the readings from the life-force meter (not seen this before, I don’t think we’ll be seeing it again) and find Fly’s-Eyes. Johnny isn’t interested in taking the rogue S/D agent in alive – in his words, “no Strontium Dog who goes ba can be allowed to live!” and kills him in a duel (using a particularly explosive cartridge). Death is short-lived here, and his body grows back together. I wasn’t so keen on the Earth-bound opening episodes of this story, but now they’re in Hell and discovering it’s ‘delights’ it’s all good!

Brian Bolland has been drafted in to draw a one-page comic strip for a Palitoy Star Wars toys competition. Six first prizes are to go to Elstree Studios during the making of The Empire Strikes Back (with second and third prizes consisting of more mundane toys). Price of admission to the competition is a toy shop receipt for a Palitoy Star Wars purchase – which opens up loads of questions for me – first of which that many receipts, particularly before the computerised age, didn’t specify what the receipt was actually for, not down to brand level, anyway. Some of the things Bolland has pictured that you could buy to meet the requirements include an X-wing, TIE fighter, Darth Vader, Power Droid (the Gonk), Hammerhead, Greedo and Han.

The Fall and Rise of Ro-Jaws and Hammer-stein Part 6: The Gold Ships of Free-Dome! has a fantastic opening page, showing what the robots have done with the sixth moon of Saturn. We’ve not had any return to this moon (unless it actually is Titan, though I seem to recall that in the Judge Dredd universe, Titan is a moon of Jupiter instead of Saturn) so I’d love to know what happened to it between the age of Ro-Busters and the Age of the Termight Empire. There is a planet of robots in one of the Nemesis books and also a robot free state in the next year or two in Dredd. X27? lets the other robots know that X27? isn’t his name but a secret code which will aid them to get to Saturn Six and help defend it against the humes (once they discover the secret of the robot moon). Hammerstein starts fantasising about becoming a general while Ro-Jaws has a hankering to become a secret agent, wearing a beard and raincoat. Ro-Jaws does seem to like dressing up in hume clothes, though I can’t remember if he’ll be doing it any more – maybe in the 1990s ABC Warriors stories… For plot-reasons, the robot has managed to relate all this, but the moment he starts to reveal what his name actually means, he loses the fight. At his funeral are HM-T, Casey, Hammerstein, Ro-Jaws, Chatterbox, Little Mo, Dr Feeley-Good, Ginger and one I can’t identify. The next prog tag suggests that the mystery of X27? won’t remain a secret for very long.

Tharg’s Future-Shocks: Together is written and drawn by John Higgins. The story bears all the hallmarks of a standard Future-Shock – two astronauts pilot the first manned star-probe to Proxima Centauri, crashes and are found by the natives. True to form, we hear from them, see them in silhouette or from unusual angles before we flip the page and find they have four arms (and eyes for that matter). The kind of story we’ve seen before, but with the introduction of body horror (Dave the astronaut has had Ron the astronaut’s arms grafted to his own body) and most importantly of all, gorgeously illustrated by Higgins. The progress his style has made since the early Supercovers is amazing.

The first owner of my copy of this prog followed Tharg’s advice and filled in the reservation coupon, though thankfully stopped short of cutting it out, leaving the prog intact. The alternative would have taken out part of Wulf’s arm in the back cover star pin-up by King Carlos. This is pre-Gronk’s brother Wulf (sorry, can’t remember what his name was).

Grailpage: Mike McMahon’s splash page of The Gold-Ships of Free-Dome! wins this hands-down. After Pat Mills’ more recent ‘Return to Ro-busters’ stories I’m hoping we’ll get to see more of this place, forty years after we were first told about it!

Grailquote: John Howard, Fergee: “You think… Fergee one big dumdum, old chapee… you gotta find out the… hard way… Ain’t no flies on Fergee! Easy the Ferg!”

3 thoughts on “2000AD and Starlord Prog 108: The doctor will examine you now… Say ah… Aaaaah!

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