2000AD Prog 269: “Nain! Nain!” Point blank! Rogue Trooper battles the terror of the deep!

Colin Wilson provides a Rogue Trooper cover, featuring a thought balloon. Whoever did the colours managed to complete the image by using blues and greens on Rogue’s blue skin and trousers without it all merging into a mess (though shouldn’t this scum sea be Orange)?

Tharg’s Nerve Centre explains that The Apocalypse War is back after that Zragian attack last prog, but that remaining episodes will be in black and white. This is another of those progs I had before those preceding or proceeding, so I’ve read it more times and at an earlier age than others surrounding it.

Sam Slade, Robo-Hunter: The Filby Case Part 4 by Alan Grant and Ian Gibson. 22nd century technology does not manage to completely heal Slade’s broken ankle, and so he’s going to have an auto-splint on it for the rest of this story. Hoagy makes his first report. Ronald is there, but he can’t say any more because “as a novice member of the Goonie Temple, I’m not allowed to reveal personal details of any other goonie”. Stogie and Slade’s misgivings about putting Hoagy on the case were well-founded! Slade takes a Leymek Hoverstreak (hover-car) for a test drive with the parting words that the dealership should expect it back some time next week. This is all to get to the Brit-Cit University where Slade finally finds out what everybody wants Ronald for. Something about the free-thought circuit has given Ronald the ability to read minds – the possibility of producing psychics to order has got Imperial Robotics, Special Branch and the criminal underworld on Ronald’s trail. Speaking of Special Branch, they’ve caught up with Slade and to evade capture he heads for the swimming pool (via the female changing room). There aren’t many places to hide around a swimming pool – on top of the high-dive is one, as long as those looking for you are on ground level. Alas, there aren’t many excellent vantage points around a swimming pool, apart from on the high-dive. Guess where the Special Branch robot chooses to head?

Rogue Trooper: All Hell on the Dix-I Front Part Four by Gerry Finley-Day and Colin Wilson. As Souther strongpoints fall one by one, Rogue goes for a swim in the Orange Sea, using seal bursters at point blank range to take out the cylindrical ‘beachballs’ (that’s what Rogue called them). All but two Norts are taken out and threaten to finish Rogue off, until the remaining two Souther troops provide covering fire for Rogue. While he recovers, they’re cut down from behind. Sister Sledge tells Rogue that Nort marines overran the position and Helm’s sensors apparently only stretch to audio, as he confirms there was horrible screaming… The nurse wants to remain against the battle computer’s advice, until Rogue points out there’s nobody remaining for her to administer.

The Mean Arena by A Ridgway and Mike White. Tallon’s hallucination results in him attempting to strangle fellow team-mate Sourpuss. Rather than order Tallon to rest up until they work out what the hallucination was all about, they let him shrug off medical assistance and start playing the game. Just in case we thought that Earth-Mother / Mother Vlad wasn’t a baddie, the last panel shows her claw while she watches a vid screen and thinking about how she will “drink her fill”. She thinks about herself in the third person.

Tharg’s Future-Shocks: The Wild Frontier! by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons. This is much better than this pair’s last offering though the centrepage story is just an excuse for some Western-themed puns and other assorted wordplay, revolving around Billy the Squid and the Clone Ranger. That’s pretty much the entire joke, but at two pages it doesn’t outstay its welcome and is fun enough.

Sci-Fi Book Scan introduces us to greek stereotype SPEX, who speaks in upper case and with mannerisms worthy of Walter or um, er, Burt. … BOOKS COVERED … rrr … ARE Frank Herbert’s God Emperor of Dune, Anne McCaffrey’s The Crystal Singer and Robert A Heinlein’s Friday. SPEX HAS A SHOULDER-MOUNTED … pppp … READING LIGHT, WHICH COULD … ssss … COME IN HANDY (see what I mean about the speech patterns?)

Judge Dredd: Apocalypse War Part 24 by T.B. Grover and Carlos Ezquerra. One more episode to go! The Apocalypse Squad are introduced to – um – a scientist, or doctor, or interrogator or something. Whatever his job title is, he hooks them all up to electrodes so that they can be tortured without “all that unpleasant beating and so forth”. Outside of War Marshal Kazan’s hovering battle command Judge McGruder has emerged as the only surviving member of the Council of Five. Back to Kazan and he shoots one of his generals who suggests they look at making peace. Did I mention that he’s forcing Kadet Izaaks to play a daily game of Russian Roulette? I’m mentioning it now. Izaaks is on his second day and can’t take any more, heading to the interrogation chamber and killing that science-doktor-torturer.

2000AD has made the digital edition of the Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files Vol.5 free for download, to help Squaxx get through Covid-19.

Ace Trucking Co. Joobaloo! Part 2 by Grant Grover and Belardinelli. As you’d expect, Ace doesn’t do well on the gambling tables. He was doing well, but then Feek and Mrs Freek interrupt and he loses everything, including both ships. They are, of course, lost to Jago Kain. Speedo Ghost becomes Yellow Ghost and Old Peart the Third becomes Yellow Peart the Third. The game they were gambling on was called Luggo, and involves two six-sided dice. The sides appear to have a sun, star and moon on three faces and named sides are lugs, weeners (apparently the lowest), furnace and nightlight. As that comes to seven sides, I’m going to guess that nightlight is another name for the star face. These things are important. Back to the story, having lost all his money, Ace needs to get some byms to buy his truck/s back. The only stake he has access to is Feek’s crown, though to get that he needs to ‘deal’ with Mrs Freek.

The plug for the next prog pushes the last episode of The Apocalypse War, while there’s also a half-page comic advert for the film adaptation of The Secret of Nimh (I’ve not read the book or seen the film so have no idea how well it encapsulates either).

On the back cover the Weetabix bunch use a bazooka-like Titchy Breakfast Exterminator to blast cups of tea and jugs of milk off of the dining table. I still find it bizarre that this advertising campaign exists, and I grew up with it!

Grailpage: Colin Wilson’s last page of this week’s Rogue Trooper as Rogue returns to the strongpoint and chats to Sister Sledge among the smoking remains of Nu Atlanta. Some great silhouettes in the last panel.

Grailquote: A Ridgway, Sourpuss: “Why’s everyone have to pick on me? That’s what I wanna know!” Another Slayer: “Shut up, Sourpuss! You’re always complaining!” Third Slayer: “If someone was trying to twist my head off, I’d complain!”

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