2000AD and Tornado Prog 136: Design your own ALIEN! Galactic groats to be won inside!

Belardinelli’s back on the cover with a generic alien for a contest (see the title of this post for the theme).

The Nerve Centre has a reader-contributed comic strip with text to tiny to read (the punchline can be seen – the moon is sentient and swallows a lunar lander) and another short story which has a materialiser which creates whatever is asked of it – Future-Shock style the inventor orders up some cans of food but no tin-opener, crying out “Hell!”. His charred skeleton is discovered in the rubble. Due to the inferior paper and printing, reader’s photos are no longer welcome, meanwhile there is exciting new next week (it’s not a merger, so what can it be?)

Judge Dredd: Boing® from John Howard and Barry Mitchell. This probably acts as a precursor to the Judge Death story, which Brian Bolland has been working on for some time though also works in its own right, as the latest ‘Mega-City craze’ story – the first one must have been brain blooms and I don’t think there’s been any since then, but they’re definitely going to be a hallmark of Dredd down the years. This episode has a full page splash of the Palais de Boing® and a description of the miracle plastic that turns people into human pinballs (think Zorb balls, about a decade before they were invented). As an aside, showing users as human pinballs doesn’t occur in this story, though will at a later date. The third female judge (second with a speaking line) appears, though dies in her second panel as an illegal Boing®er lands on her. Next panel, with her dying breath, she forgets to use the ® symbol, or even un-italicise the ‘I’ in Boing®. RIP, Judge Parker. One of three Boing® pranksters kills himself by crashing into electrical cables, Dredd uses incendiary on another (changing the checmial composition of Boing® and sticking him to the West Mutieland Turnpike) while Dredd orders the West Wall gate opened so that the last of the Boing®ers goes through the gate instead of bouncing back in to the city. By the end of the strip, fifteen have died, the third boy has been adopted as a Boing® God by a band of Cursed Earth mutants and Dredd has passed another law – improper use of Boing® is now punishable by 20 years in the iso-cubes. As well as the set-up for the other story in development, this is great, particularly the running joke of the ® symbol.

Black Hawk is tired of fighting in the gladiatorial arena, as Alvin Gaunt and Belardinelli convey to us. Belardinelli also has fun depicting the harsh world of Malo in the Persol system (is there a pun in there somewhere?) and the Maloid champion. Blackhawk quickly vanquishes this foe, or so he thinks, until it starts regenerating. A fanboy, Laddo, essentially sacrifices himself to save Blackhawk’s life, and Blackhawk finishes this episode the same way he did the last, by resolving to throw off his chains.

That Brian Bolland advert for Star Wars (including the Jawa Sandcrawler) is on the next page, before going to a different desert planet with…

The A.B.C. Warriors from Pat Mills and L John Silver. The scale of Golgotha seems to have increased since last episode, with the tyrannosaur towering over Viking City’s pyramids. Hammerstein (with gold-brown chassis) arrives on the scene with a missile launcher. As we know, this was sabotaged by Blackblood last prog, so Hammerstein has to use his hammer and a dagger to fight the ‘supersaur’ – refusing any help from Happy Shrapnel. Hammerstein has a moment of internal poetry, drescribing the city, the River Arid, the Saharan Sand Sea and the cybo-whales. Mills has been trying his hand at language construction this story, though they’re variants on ‘drokk’ and don’t really work: “Drakk” in episode two and “Zrokk” this week. Fighting on sky-walks above pointy buildings there’s only one way this story can end, and Mills continues the mountainous naming scheme for Viking City’s pyramids with the Matterhorn Building. Like his grandmother, Golgotha fights on after sustaining fatal injuries and also kills humans after his death. In a postscript, Hammerstein applies the hammer to General Blackblood, promising to kill him if he had proof of the sabotage. Next prog: George the Gargantek!

The Mind of Wolfie Smith from Tom Tully and Vañó. Wolfie goes off with ‘Moley’ Fisher, a former pot-holer who encountered something under the stones and has been trying to warn off the film-makers from the area before the Guardians awaken. Like last episode, this one ends with the actor dressed up as a ‘slave of the carnivore’ which bears an uncanny resemblance to a Guardian. The actor, Joe Snarey, is about to get killed and a real Guardian take his place – presumably to kill actors / extras Tara and Mark.

Finlay-Day and Carlos Pino’s Disaster 1990! Death in Oxford! shows the duo discover Doctor Sims who lets them know what ocurred in Oxford (as we all knew would happen). For good measure, two members of the Greater London Legion, the attackers, remained as a rearguard, but don’t last long against BIll. Back to London, the floodwaters have dropped though Hyde Park is still flooded. Buckingham Palace has been fortified against the floods and the water drained while Bill spots the ringleaders of the GLL – Razor (from Wormwood Scrubs) is expected, Martin (Hitler) is less so.

The back page has a Captain Klep star pin-up from Robin Smith.

Grailpage: Carlos Ezquerra (under the name L John Silver) opening of Golgotha approaching the blacked-out Viking City, lit by torchlight, Jake Vandragger’s girlfriend being sacrificed and Hammerstein turning up on the scene makes for a great centrespread.

Grailquote: John Howard, Judge Parker: “Always knew I’d die… on duty… but not like this… not…. an illegal Boing…”

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