Cam Kennedy illustrates his Rogue Trooper episode in this cover featuring dialogue and a round panel (known in some circles (!) as a ‘Whittle‘.
Tharg blames Burt for deleting half of the letters due to appear in the Nerve Centre, though it just happens that the other half is taken up with an advert… One reader demands that Fink Angel be released, given back Ratty and “let him do whatever he likes with Judge Hershey”. Er…
Sam Slade, Robo-Hunter: The Filby Case Part 7 by Alan Grant and Ian Gibson. Slade escapes in the Hover-Streak, with Ronald and the usual entourage though it doesn’t last long as East Side Ernie shoots it down (in a controlled landing). Unfortunately the landing is right in among the Robo Goonie cult. Wanting to protect Ronald, Ernie sends his robo-heavies down to take out a few goonies. Then Imperial Robotics enter the fray, with much the same aim in mind. By the time Slade has thought to ask a robot to repair the damaged engine, the psychic Ronald has anticipated the request and fixed it. Just because this is the concluding episode, there’s no need for the slapstick to let up! Special Branch lumber on to the scene, first killing Ronald, then destroying the last remnants of Epping Forest, in the domed Epping Forest Museum. Having resurrected Stogie from the dead a few episodes ago, Sam has no problem repairing Ronald and, better for Ronald and Filby, he’s lost his ability to read minds (so hopefully people will leave them alone now). After the Beast of Blackheart Manor, which was amusing but never really felt like a Robo-Hunter story to me, this series has got in to gear, ready to tell robot stories in an interesting city which has a different atmosphere to anything we’d see in Judge Dredd.
Rogue Trooper: All Hell on the Dix-I Front part seven by Gerry Finley-Day and Cam Kennedy. Inspired by the synthetic music coming from the regimental band, Rogue has a plan. The officer-cadet’s colonel refuses to allow them to break ranks, deluded in to thinking they’re destined for anything other than a massacre. Dropping each of the chips in their equipment around the battlefield, Rogue sets them to sound a recall signal, tricking them into retreating to safety. Despite leading his charges to their deaths, the colonel still gets an honourable death, wishing Rogue to look after the cadets (even though he called the GI a Millicom technological abomination the previous episode). Back with Bagman, he finds the cadets all dead. Sister Sledge tells him their chem suits were weakened in the blasts, though this is the second time Rogue has returned expecting to see Southers safe and sound but found only Sister Sledge among their bodies. This time Bagman tells him that Sledge killed the cadets, though Rogue puts it down to the problem with the protein base breaking down. I’d assumed that the protein problem would be forgotten about after Bagman Blues, though it has appeared a few times (though as an excuse to discount what Bagman says rather than any recurrence of the problem itself).
The Mean Arena by A Ridgway and Mike White. Starting with a Kosi-Flex advert (which confused me as I thought it was going to be an origin story for the new guy who looks a bit like Tom Jones) the game resumes, but this time with the Black Ace in play. Slater has some theory that the hallucinations are something to do with microwave being fed by Mother Vlad (previously Earth-Mother). That’s pretty much the whole episode. Next!
The Secret of Nimh goes to its 4th comic strip advert installment.
Tharg’s Future-Shocks: No Picnic! by Alan Moore and John Higgins. This one has a futuristic family hovercraft over to Easter Island. The father of the family is interested in the stone heads that Easter Island is famous for (though not so intererested that he doesn’t fall asleep on the beach) while the mother is busy reading what looks like a cheap romance novel. The son is easily bored and buries his father up to his neck in sand. You might be able to see where this is going, and I assumed that it would appear in spot cartoons or three-panel strips, but a quick look around doesn’t reveal anything (most take the ‘oh, you dated Medusa as well?’ route). Anyway, the distracted mother and bored child leave him behind, only for him to wake up to watch the hovercraft head over the horizon. Bemoaning his situation, the giant stone heads next to him sympathis with him, as exactly the same thing happened to them! Again, this is a two-page centrespread from Moore.
Last week was Mega-Sounds and this week is… also Mega-Sounds! There’s a good reason for it though, as D.J.1 has an interview with Madness, at least two members of which read 2000AD (Suggs on vocals and Chrissy-Boy / Chris Foreman on guitars). It’s a no-holds-barred interview as Suggs suggests that Ezquerra might be a little rushed at times! Chrissy-Boy prefers Belardinelli’s artwork.
Speaking of Ezquerra, he’s back on Judge Dredd: Meka-City Part 2 by T.B. Grover. A one-page flash-forward which can be ignored before continuing where the last episode left off. Dredd has blasted his way in to the robot city and shoots up a few droids before two of those who has suffered at Precious Leglock’s hands point out that many of the robots would like to go along with Judge Dredd, but they’re all afraid of the robot wrestler and all disputes in this city are settled in the wrestling ring. Dredd tries shooting Precious first, but to no avail as the robot-wrestler is armour-plated. Even Dredd stands no chance wrestling, though takes advantage of some maniacal monologuing from the robot to tangle him up in the steel cables which encircle the ring. Taking one end of the cables, Dredd shoves it in a light socket, electrifying the coils. Even this doesn’t put paid to Precious as the robot is double-insulated. Though all those coils produce an electro-magnet, attracting and smashing a total of 218 droids before Dredd cuts the current. Dredd orders the remaining robots to dismantle the city and take the materials to Mega-City One to rebuild it (though through a broken jaw).
There’s more wrestling against insummountable odds in Ace Trucking Co. Joobaloo Part 5 by Grant Grover and Belardinelli. Or maybe it’s boxing. To be honest I’m not sure either the match in Judge Dredd or Ace Trucking Co could be considered to adhere strictly to the definitions of wrestling or boxing. G-B-H manages to hold his own against Brute, though is considerably the worse for wear after each contact. Until Chiefy the pig-rat from the Bloo Maru steps in. Scampering up Brute’s shorts, this gives G-B-H the chance to use the ropes to catapult himself into a head-butt with the giant biffo. Though G-B-H could be considered giant in his own right, so perhaps Brute is gargantuan?
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan takes the back page advert.
Grailpage: Belardinelli’s first picture of Astropolis took my grail page spot five progs ago, and now the final picture also takes it, with some wonderful swirly star patterns in the background.
Grailquote: TB Grover, Precious Leglock: “Get up here an’ wrestle!” Judge Dredd: “I’m not playing silly games, robot! High explosive!” BLAM! Previous: “Now ya got me real riled up! Get up here, pencil-neck!” Dredd (thought bubble): “Looks like I am playing silly games!”