According to Barney, this cover is by Robin Smith. A modified version of this cover will be appearing on the back of the Judge Dredd Annual from this year onwards (or possibly this is the modified version of the original badge appearing on the annuals).
Tharg’s Nerve Centre has a few food-themed letters, which is fitting as it’s been cut down to half-size by a food advert (if liquorice counts as food).
Sam Slade, Robo-Hunter: The Beast of Blackheart Manor Part 3 by Alan Grant and Ian Gibson. In the aftermath of the latest night’s disappearances, Talbot points out how they’re good for business as booking have been up. Oh, and the pies are selling well too. That’s the third time the pies get mentioned. The next day, Slade follows a trail of slime to (surprise!) a pool of slime in the mutari park. A mutari park is like a safari park but with mutated animals – fallout (pun intended) from the Great Atom Wars (as opposed to the Great Atomic Wars which appear in the history of Judge Dredd). That night, Slade sets a trap for the beast and hides up a tree – it looks like it’s going to work – though when I was pulling this comic out I caught sight of the next cover, and it won’t last long.
The next page has a full page ad for a Wild World of Nature poster from some kind of canned fruit called Australia Gold. It hasn’t aged well. It features Rolf Harris (!)
Rogue Trooper: Bagman Blues Part 3 by Gerry Finley-Day and Eric Bradbury. My mistake – I thought this was a two-part story and that Bagman’s damage might or might not come up again. Turns out it’s a three-part story and Rogue has taken the four of them to a dusty area prone to ash storms – giving him an excuse to carry out a chip check on all three bio-chips. Turns out that Bagman was damaged and that the checker (now damaged beyond repair, so no more chip checks) showed breakdown in the chip’s protein base which could lead to total wipe-out of Bagman’s persona. I’ll now reinstate my previous prediction that this will never come up again (though the next story is called “The Body-Brokers” so I could be dis-proved again real soon).
Another prog, another advert for New Eagle (this one with a free Mekon Poster). Also Tharg’s Datafile: Events Guide, including an exhibition at the Bethnal Green Museum of Childhood, which I used to work near but didn’t realise had been around so long – since 1872, apparently.
Judge Dredd: Apocalypse War Part 18 by T.B. Grover and Carlos Ezquerra. At the end of the last episode, Dredd executed Griffin before turning his lawgiver on himself. This episode opens with Dredd executing Griffin before turning his lawgiver on himself. Well, it is quite an important scene, so I can understand why it got replayed. Galvanised into action, Walter and Maria (remember, all this was taking place during a live broadcast) leap into action and leap on to a Sov hover transport. Just after a few Sov judges discover that Dredd is still alive, we discover that his last bullet has had its charge reduced so as to only penetrate the badge and an inch of flesh. Unfortunately for Dredd, the bullet is pressing a little too closely on his heart to give him the strength to lift Fargo’s sepulchre, the way he got in both this time and back in Cal’s day. Fortunately for him, Walter knows about this entry to the Grand Hall as well, Walt and Maria arriving just after Dredd has run out of bullets but while he still has incendiaries
2000AD has made the digital edition of the Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files Vol.5 free for download, to help Squaxx get through isolation as a result of Covid-19.
Ace Trucking Co. Last Lug to Abbo Dabbo Part 3 by Grant Grover and Belardinelli. Having discovered their salvage claim is threatened by the presence of a crewman, Ace orders G-B-H to stop the crewman by slinging something at him. G-B-H grabs the closest thing to hand, Feek (apologising afterwards, not knowing what came over him). Eventually the crewman is knocked out, though Ace goes for a swim in the meantime. After questioning they come to the conclusion that the crewman is suffering from isolation syndrome (the abbo dabbo of the title). During a celebratory meal, Ghost radios in from the Speed Ghost to tell them the ship they’re on is headed in the wrong direction and that they’re all in danger. In case we hadn’t gotten the impression that they were also suffering from some sort of disorder, their reaction to being told this is uproarious laughter.
The Mean Arena by A Ridgway (sure it was Ridgeway a few progs ago) and Mike White. Tallon is helped out by Brazen, who he doesn’t trust because she’s a woman (and one of the people who is trying to kill him is a woman – never mind that the rest are men, as far as he knows). The pair chase the Northallerton ball-carrier into a cemetery, but it’s the future so it’s an Android Cemetery (“rust in peace”, “always in your memory banks” and other puns which I like). As Tallon chases a shape in the mist, a robotic shape arises from the ground, activated by mysterious hands on a remote control.
The back page has the penultimate part of the Rogue Trooper Total War poster by Dave Gibbon, and this is the bit with Rogue in. The letter from a Souther to his parents continues, fittingly moving on to the topic of genetics and the legends of Rogue (who its not entirely clear the young soldier believes really exists).
Grailpage: a lot of people would probably pick Carlos Ezquerra’s centre pages, with the most famous of Dredd’s reported deaths (is this the third or fourth time we were supposed to believe he’d really been killed?) I’m going for Belardinelli’s panel of Ace Trucking Co where Ace, Feek, G-B-H, the pigrat who I believe is called Chief and the Bloo Maru crewman are sitting down to eat. G-B-H really likes his spaghetti!
Grailquote: T B Grover, Walter: “The Gwand Hall of Justice!” Judge Dredd: “There’s no justice there anymore! Let it burn!”