Carlos is back on cover duties with a scene from the following Strontium Dog story.
Strontium Dog: The Doc Quince Case part 1 by Alan Grant and Ezquerra. Following a bounty posted on a wall on Vega from the previous story, the duo head off to the planet Wilderness-4, encountering the usual anti-mutant prejudice en route. They find Doc Leviathan Quince without any problems and put him in to custody. Looks like Doc Quince has done a lot for the town as the people of Fever Creek raise a posse to lynch Johnny and Wulf (I feel the name of the town is relevant here).
Final Solution part two: A Ro-Jaws’ Robo-Tale by Alan Moore and Steve Dillon. Abelard comes up with a solution to the overzealous robo-police problem – robo-rascals. I didn’t mention one of the best things about this story – the deadpan delivery of hackneyed phrases by the robots. The police say “what’s-all-this-‘ere-then?” while the crooks say “hands-up-and-gimme-the-money!” and “it’s-a-fair-cop-guv,-but-society’s-to-blame!” at every opportunity. The robo-rascals distract the police, but an awful lot of people are caught in the crossfire. Abelard has an idea. Robo-bystanders! This does work, though of course there are further unintended consequences. There’s barely any space left for the humans any more. Evacuating the planet, Abelard has another idea – a wind-up robot planet. The humans have an idea too, and chuck him out of the nearest airlock (he’s wearing a suit, though the oxygen cylinders will only last so long)… Moore’s first two-parter, and it will also turn out to be his first serial with returning characters…
Tharg introduces the Meltdown Man centrefold colour map in the Nerve Centre.
Dash Decent Chapter 12: The end of the woad. I thought this was going to be the last episode, but it still has a next prog tag. Awfulia is bathed in the ray of forgetfulness and falls in love with the first man she lays eyes on – that man being Slug. Pong sabotages the rocketship that Dash, Zellamy and Dale take to get home, though remains on board to tell them that they only have ten seconds to live (forgetting that this will affect him too). Looks like Angus and O’Neill’s story shall continue!
Meltdown Man by Alan Hebden and Belardinelli. It’s not explicitly said, but it looks like the predators are just a normal patrol on the look-out for the yujee fugitives who just happened to stumble across Stone and the gang. Stone uses the snip gun (which only humans can use) to slice the predator vehicles up – more on that later. With this batch of predators out of the way, he announces to his yujee gang that they need to split up to mobilise the yujees on multiple fronts, once again commenting on how familiar the map is. This time we get to see the map in question, after all the foreshadowing! In the colour centrespread showing off the map of ‘Yujee World’ we skip Stone giving the detailed instructions to the yujees reviewing what they must do to turn the world upside down… Gruff’s going to get in contact with his brigand friends in the Dead Hills, Frying Pan and Blackstone Desert, T-Bone is going to ride the monorails to the Vats of the fourteen cities and Liana is going to guide Stone to the metalsmith’s city of Anville. We’ll visit something like half of the places on this map (though some only momentarily). For those wanting to play a sci-fantasy roleplaying campaign, this map would be an excellent basis – now to just come up with some stats for the different races of yujees, throw in some gunships, snip guns and AK-47s and you’d be sorted! The latest RPG system to use the 2000AD license is WOIN (What’s Old is New) and they already have AK-47’s all statted up! The yujees split up, with an almost touching farewell between Liana and Gruff – can different species of yujee can interbreed? Leeshar arrives at the scene of the predator carnage a few hours later, sees the snip rifle damage and immediately concludes that Stone is still alive. That advantage didn’t last long! They even left some very clear tracks for him to follow – or more accurately for two bloodhounds to follow, presenting Billy the Pup and Strongnose. The two are dressed respectively as a cowboy (cowdog? cowpup?) and a native american, including the ‘how’ hand greeting and stereotypical “him bloodhound of his word” sentence structure. Oh dear… King Seth watches on from afar, forewarned that the secret of Stone’s survival is now out, and Leeshar will not be happy at the cobra.
No sign of Loonie’s Moon this prog, instead there’s is only T.B. Grover and Emberton’s Judge Dredd: The Nightmare Gun. The architect’s name is based on Frank Lloyd Wright while the story itself (focused equally on the nightmare gun and The Maze) is a general satire of inhospitable modern housing developments. Specifically I’d say The Maze looks most like Brutalist architecture such as Habitat 67 (what an inspiring address to live at). Plot-wise – alien mobsters kill a human mobster, then crash because they’re too busy gloating. They escape into a deserted housing development which is the epitome of architecture by architects who don’t for a moment think what it would actually be like to be forced to live in one of their edifices. I’ve not lived in one of these monstrosities (carbuncles, if you will) but I’ve been resided quite close to some… The aliens soon get completely and utterly lost. Luckily the two judges (of which one is Joe) who follow him can get computer read-outs sent to their lawmaster computers. The other issue they have to contend with is the nightmare gun – which amplifies the victim’s fears a thousandfold. It is always fatal (one of the aliens says). You already know how this is going to end. The other judge (Ginsberg) dies from a fear of needles (and also by falling over a balcony trying to escape them) but when it gets turned on Dredd he’s remains unshaken. But you knew that. I’d initially written that this was drawn by Ian Gibson because I didn’t look at the credit card. Towards the end, just about the point I was wondering what was up with the shoulder pads (the ‘stripes’ keep changing direction) I noticed a signature – and it’s Emberton, not Gibson. This usually means that an artist isn’t happy with the work they’ve handed in (Ezquerra’s L.J. Silver, for example) so I guess Ian had to rush this story off in less time than he’d have liked to spend on it. Doesn’t really explain why the shoulder pads keep changing though.
Return to Armageddon from Malcolm Shaw and Redondo. Whether or not the captain of the Prairie Drifter reported the incident is irrelevant, for the wayward sphere gets boarded by starbooters (space pirates). Thinking the sphere is easy pickings due to the presence of only two life readings they soon encounter the living dead. And soon after three survivors find their way to the twins. One of the pirates is called Havoc, and he is shaken because of “what the old woman foretold” (we’ve no idea who the old woman is – it hasn’t been mentioned – but we are told in this panel what her prophecy is: “The dead will give you two sons.”) Havoc tries to fetch the two children, though a multitude of severed hands littering the floor have other ideas…
Grailpage: it can only be the long-awaited map of the Yujee World by Massimo Belardinelli. Which is soon going to be turned upside down by Stone, if you know what I mean.
Grailquote: Alan Grant, Wulf Sternahmmer: “Splot!” (the sound of a ketchup bottle being emptied onto the face of an unruly diner) Johnny Alpha: “Life’s touch… pass the ketchup.” Wulf: “Sorry, Johnny – those loudmouths , they hog der last of it!” I also liked Alan Moore, Abelard Snazz: “What do you think, Edwin?” Edwin: “You’re a genius, master!” but the build-up to that punchline is most of the story, so it doesn’t really lend itself to short, snappy grailquotes.