2000AD and Starlord Prog 113: I am the Law!

It’s been a while since Brendan McCarthy’s work appeared on a cover and his style is virtually unrecognisable since last time. This is an atmospheric Dredd with a red and grey Mega-City background.

The Nerve Centre has Tharg promise that the Laugh-In will return once there is space to fit it in the prog again. I’m not too sure I believe this…

Judge Dredd: The DNA Man – Part 1 A professor is about to realise his ambition to succeed where others have failed – in creating a new life from a single molecule of his blood. I’m not too sure what his perceived success is here – we met Dredd’s clone brother over a year earlier, though perhaps we weren’t told they were both clones at that point? Dredd is also an accelerated clone, though that part was only added later once somebody realised his age didn’t match up to his birth date. So perhaps the professor would have been revolutionary, if later lore hadn’t messed things up? Anyway, this professor who hasn’t been named (any guesses?) but looks a little like a character in a film (which I won’t mention quite yet) and his assistant Beaker (named for the lab assistant in the Muppets?) are creating ‘the first DNA man’. The clone emerges from the cylinder naked and is named Dennis by his creator. Beaker’s not so happy with the result and in a fit of religious fervour tries to murder the clone. The professor order Dennis to kill Beaker first and the two dispose of the body. Judge Lewis reports later that night after the two were spotted disposing of the remains in a shredder at the old Mega-City Garbage Dump. Fingerprints from a cigarette case found at the scene belong to a Professor Milton D. Frankenstein – did you guess correctly? And who did I think the character looks a little like? Gene Wilder in the title role of Young Frankenstein.

Rick Random: The Riddle of the Astral Assassin! Tharg said this was specially written due to popular demand from the reprints we’ve seen in specials / annuals previously. I doubt that, but let’s go with it. Steve Moore and Ron Turner bring us the tale of the murder of Baron Odana on a spaceship where trade negotiations are taking place. True to what has gone before, two pages in we’ve met two beautiful women, one of whom is a pilot. The murder took place in an enclosed part of the spaceship in a ‘foolproof’ security orb, leading to a mystery with nine suspects. The first three are Dr Marrius Fisher, Jay Chan and Leon Mirabilis. They’re all human and give alibis to each other, and for some reason Rick Random thinks they must all be innocent then. Human bias, much? The dead guy was a Guebin, and the other Guebins are Garon Aldo, Theophilus, Jameela Rodes, Exon Sanso, Hyro Carden (a space wizard!) and Wave Kirzen. Later that night (artificial night as they’re in the orb) Kirzen gets kicked into a laser disintegrator by a booted foot. The type of boot looks like that worn by Odana and Aldo, so if this was a whodunnit then using the available clues we’d conclude that it was one of the Guebins. Though the 2000AD mystery novel-style stories we’ve seen so far throw a bunch of suspects at us then seeminly picks one at (Rick) random to be the guilty party, so I’m not sure if I’m wasting my time with all this deduction.

Strontium Dog, Journey Into Hell enters the City of Hate which seems friendly enough at first (apart from the giant gargoyles which snatch people off the streets and feast on their bodies for thirty days, the victims alive all this time). But other than that, friendly. Two mayors make themselves known, Mr Sun and Mr Moon (one is the daytime mayor, the other the night-time mayor). Turns out the city is only ‘friendly’ from midnight to noon – for the other half of the day is taken with the Daily Hate, when the gargoyles drop five tickets that the residents fight over, for whomever holds a ticket at midnight can escape the hellworld. Five tickets? That’d do Alpha, Wulf, the Gronk, Fly’s-Eyes and the trucker whose name I keep forgetting very nicely. Other than an entire city fighting over the five tickets (which they’ve not decided to try to acquire yet) the city warps in inconvenient ways, such that Alpha and Fly’s-Eyes end up heading for a waterfall by the end of the episode.

The Mekon and Hagnar resist killing each other in Dan Dare: Servant of Evil, instead Hagnar shows the Mekon the beginning of his attempt to destroy Dare. Exior points Dare towards the Shrine where the crystal is held as they are attacked by a Thraxian skirmish boat and dons Eternicus. We’re going to have to wait until next week to see the cosmic claw in action though.

Mike McMahon’s back on The Fall and Rise of Ro-Jaws and Hammer-stein Part 11. P.D. commandos, space interceptors and ‘Long Tom’ (a cannon) have ammassed at Britain’s Aero-Spaceport to stop the mass exodus of robots. Hammerstein is dreaming of becoming a general and disassociating himself from a lowly sewer droid, while Ro-Jaws whistfully thinks it was nice knowing the war robot. But how are they going to escape when the P.D. troops are triple checking all space flights? The clue is in the title ‘aero-spaceport’ – the robots have chartered a private jet freighter. Unfortunately the P.D. commander realises what’s going on and orders it to return to the hangar. Hammerstein gets his head out of the clouds (of corrosive gases on Saturn 7) and asks for volunteers to leave the freighter on a suicide mission. Gottieb, Dr Feeley Good and Ro-Jaws are amongst the volunteers, the Heroes Dozen.

Grailpage: Mike McMahon, Ro-Busters – the page where the Satan Dart leaves the travel tube, takes to the monorail, then transfers to the road system – the last we see of the travel tube for a year, until Comic Rock comes along.

Grailquote: Pat Mills, Ro-Jaws: “Fancy a couple o’ smooth lubes, old matey?” Hammerstein: “Oh, don’t bother me now, Ro-Jaws, I’ve all these important military papers to study…” RJ: “But-” HS: “I’m far too busy… H’mm, now I shall need a new suit of metal when I review my troops. Gold trim and red markings, I think…” RJ (thought bubble): “Goodbye, Hammer-stein. It was – nice knowing you!”

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