2000AD and Starlord Prog 118: You are Trapped, Johnny Alpha… Trapped in Hell for Ever!

A Carlos devil adorns the latest prog cover with contrasting reds and greens creating a striking image of said devil, Johnny and Wulf (take that, Teal and Orange).

The Nerve Centre has a teaser of three new stories starting next prog – I’m thinking ABC Warriors, maybe Project Overkill and something else. The reader’s story features a future scientist (from 1987) heading to the far future and getting killed by Dredd.

Speaking of Dredd, the Judge is first up with Citiblock 2, featuring Harriet Beecher Stowe and Benjamin Spock blocks (which are located close to each other, and apparently also next to the city wall, unless that’s another straight section of wall with a tower on it, continuity fans). Harriet was a 19th century abolitionist who wrote Uncle Tom’s Cabin while Benjamin Spock was famous for a) not being Mr Spock from Star Trek and b) writing a leading baby and child care book. John Howard and Ron Smith really set out how Mega-City One operates here, with unemployment creating anti-robot sentiment, futsies and showing Dredd administering poetic justice in sentencing a futsie (who went futsie due to losing his job) to hard labour.

Rick Random: The Riddle of the Astral Assassin Part 6 has Steve Moore continue and ‘L.S. Silver’ (Carlos Ezquerra) take up the art. Not the best use of his talents and I don’t think anybody will miss Rick Random (from the pages of 2000AD, at least, I know the original has its own fans). The next prog tag confirms my guess of Project Overkill beginning next week.

Strontium Dog, Journey Into Hell also comes to an end this prog. This is a talky episode from T.B. Grover and Carlos (under his real name), with Satan revealing himself to be Ronald Fiveways, inventor of the dimension warp, who was disfigured in a laboratory fire. Shunned by society, upon discovering K7, a dimension where his thoughts became reality, Fiveways set up dimension traps to bring humans to K7 in order to torture them for all eternity. Johnny convinces Fiveways / Satan to destroy the Hellworld before returning Johnny, Wulf and the Gronk to Earth (where Alpha is immediately told “Mutie! Move along!” Unfortunately I don’t think Strontium Dog will be back in the prog while the superior printing remains, but I’d love to be proved wrong. The third thrill starting next prog is Disaster 1990, as revealed at the end of this episode.

Dan Dare: Servant of Evil from Tom Tully and Dave Gibbons shows a virtual resolution to the story, with the Mekon escaping with the Crystal of Life and Dare preparing to go back to Earth to “marshal the forces of the entire galaxy” to recover it, though the next prog tag: “Home, Deadly Home” shows things aren’t going to be that simple. Bit of a shame it didn’t end there, as then the next prog would be a complete jumping-on point. The story is acceptable and the art is excellent.

A page is given over to a trailer for the nearly-but-not-quite jumping-on prog, showing James Bond, Moonraker, Ro-Jaws and Hammer-stein’s Book of Robots, Project Overkill, The A.B.C. Warriors, Disaster 1990, Dredd, Dare and Tharg’s Nerve Centre. Plus a competition to win ‘Corgi X-Plorations’ – please don’t litter pictures among the stories…

Ro-Jaws and Hammer-stein also appear in this prog, with their Laugh-In (and an art Robo-Round-Up). The art is a mixed bag, one copied so directly you can tell the original was by McMahon, another looks like it may have been copied from elsewhere (but difficult to say) and the remaining three not brilliant but almost certainly entirely original.

Bolland draws, and possibly paints, a 2000AD Star Pin-Up of Dredd. I don’t know if it’s intentional but it looks very much like the twin towers of the World Trade Centre are in the background. Or I might just be imagining things.

Grailpage: Ron Smith’s opening page of Citiblock 2 – has a two-gun Dredd portrait and a landscape of Harriet Beecher Stowe block (plus some cits bashing a cleaning droid).

Grailquote: from T.B. Grover, Judge Dredd. Arnold (about to leap out of a building to his death): “I-I got nothing to live for!” Dredd: “Sorry, citizen – I can’t let you do it! You might land on someone!”

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