2000AD Prog 274: Tomorrow’s thrills today! Rogue Trooper CHAINED!

Brett puts in a cover based on a scene from the first page of this week’s Rogue story

I don’t know if it was the reader or Tharg who wrote the caption for one picture in the Nerve Centre, but it has the kind of puns I can get behind – robot tennis players Bjorn Cyborg and John Meccano. Love it! Meanwhile, somebody else has noticed that Ace Garp’s scarf tassles have turned in to animated hands. Tharg declines from explaining how or why this has happened and invites readers to submit ideas. The real reason simply being ‘Belardinelli’s imagination’.

Rogue Trooper: All Hell on the Dix-I Front part nine by Gerry Finley-Day and Brett Ewins. If this was a Dredd tale it’d be called a mega-epic in the making by now. Faced with the brutal face of war on their doorstep, the people of Freedom try to help Rogue break his chains by bringing his equipment to him. Unfortunately the Norts are wise to the ploy though unfortunately for them, Gunnar is capable of acting autononously and through judicious use of recoil manages to cut a swathe through the assembled Norts. Nort reinforcements are on their way. The people of Freedom don the masks that the Norts discarded when they found they could breathe the air freely so that when the new wave of Norts arrive Rogue can fire gas grenades throughout the mountainous area. Freedom is no longer free of chem clouds, but at least the people live to fight another day. A few things about this story arc. I pointed out last blog post that Sister Sledge’s chem suit was a lot tighter when Brett was drawing it, but to be fair, both Rogue’s fatigues and the Norts also have tighter clothing than we’ve seen previously… Meanwhile – why does Rogue have gas grenades when he’s been deployed on a planet where the very air is poison? Wouldn’t that be like taking a water balloon underwater? I’d also question whether one soldier’s gas grenades could permanently pollute an area. It was always my understanding that Nu Earth’s atmosphere had been poisoned by repeated and constant use of chemical weapons over a sustained period… Often it’s when you like something that you nit-pick most – if you don’t pay attention you’re not so likely to notice these things (that’s my defence, anyway).

Danger: UAB* (Undesirable Alien Beings) is another batch of three aliens submitted by readers.

Trouble on Tree-World part II, An Agent Rat Adventure. Our title character calls up a water-tanker (which looks like a cross between an airship and Thunderbird 2) to put out the fire between settlements. It succeeds, but the walkway is burnt out. Rattus realises that (assuming the fire was set deliberately) then his quarries couldn’t be in the far settlement, as it would leave them with no way to get back to the enclave and a departing freighter. After a bit of too and fro, Agent Rat ends up arriving back at the enclave just in time to catch the pair of fugitives. The female is Liaison Officette Pazz (as anybody who had read that Strontium Dog story from the annual a few years ago would guess) while the male had been hiding in her quarters, while Pazz had tried to put Rat off the scent. It’s a fair enough story and I wouldn’t have minded seeing some more adventures from the Agent – both of the published ones ended in a twist, so this could have been developed further.

The Mean Arena by A Ridgway and Mike White. Turns out the spikes were real but their moving downwards to crush Tallon was merely another hallucination. Cornered by a trio of vampires, it looks like all is lost until Brazen turns up. I’m not sure if she actually kills the vampires or just blasts a route out for him to escape (or blasts the ceiling between Tallon and the vampires, preventing them from getting to him). Anyway, turns out that Tallon’s brother Paul was “the man I loved” so she shares Tallon’s revenge kick, as we’ll find out next prog.

Judge Dredd: The League of Fatties Part 2 by T.B. Grover and Ron Smith. In the best tradition of ‘craze’ one-offs, the first half of this tale tells of what initially looks like a successful attack by the League on a food convoy in the Cursed Earth. They do the comedy standard of sticking around and eating through their ill-gotten gains rather than escaping and by the time the judges turn up to investigate they’re too glutted to even attempt to escape. Though it has to be said that there are cases in real life where criminals are found asleep in the houses they’re burgled. Other actions taken by the League have similar levels of success as “fatties are just not built for crime”. Dredd’s solution is simple, put everybody in the city over 300 kilos under block arrest and segregate them in four cityblocks (named after overweight people or characters, naturally).

Tharg’s Mighty Micro Page is full of reader-contributed digital pictures (presumably printed out and then sent off to Tharg) and a couple of simple programs written in BASIC.

Tharg’s Future-Shocks: The Martians by D. Perry and Jesus Redondo is a one-pager. Aliens invade Earth (though the invasion force consists of three people from Mars), storm what we think is going to be a police station but is in fact a fancy dress party. Alien wins first prize. It only takes up one page and the aliens don’t end up being scales larger or smaller than humans so I can’t complain.

The Secret of Nimh gets a full page conventional film poster in colour this prog.

Ace Trucking Co. Too Many Bams Part 2 by Grant Grover and Belardinelli. Take some character and plonk them on an overgrown planet and I’ll be happy – as you can probably tell from my liking for Nemesis Book II and Trouble on Tree-World. Too Many Bams goes down the same route, starting off with double the amount of bams than we had last episode. I love how the leader of the Bam colonists has Massimo’s face – you know he’s enjoying himself when he puts himself in the foreground like that! He’s also getting the chance to draw the kinds of wildlife scenes we saw in Meltdown Man – gnarled trees, mountains, rocky outcrops, waterfalls. Plus weird and dangerous aliens – speaking of which, the first Bam casualties take place as worms with lobster claws and compound eyes erupt from holes in the ground to grab some takeaway meals. Ace Garp is among them, though G-B-H just manages to grab hold of his pointy head as he disappears down one of the holes.

The Nerve Centre Extra has some welcome back letters and reader’s art celebrating the return of Sam Slade (and Robo-Stogie).

Not content with one of the stories and the cover, Brett Ewins also provides a back cover Star Pin-Up of Sister sledge, stood over a battle scene montage.

Grailpage: Belardinelli’s page showing the Speedo Ghost coming in to land over the skies of the alien planet of… Gordon. Plus a bunch of bam heads hopping about..

Grailquote: TB Grover, Fattie: “Judges comin’! Run!” Second fattie: “Whadddya mean, run? I can’t even stand up!”

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