2000AD Prog 284: “Howdy! This here’s a hijack!”

Carlos is back on the cover, along with Mean Machine Angel for the first time in, er, three weeks.

Apparently there were stickers given away free with this prog, so Tharg’s Nerve Centre tells me. Luckily this hasn’t resulted in sticky tape damage on the cover.

Sam Slade, Robo-Hunter: Football Crazy Part 2 by Alan Grant and Ian Gibson. Opening with (presumed) parodies of sports commentators plus some mild homophobia doesn’t endear this story to me. I wondered whether Kidd’s detective agency be making a return – the answer is yes, in the very next story. There’s some great interplay between Slade and Kidd as they’re accidentally both hired by the management of the England / Brit-Cit football team to investigate what has been ailing their robot players. Unfortunately any enjoyment is tempered by some of the depictions that I know are going to be coming soon. Speaking of which, the next match is between England and Japan. It’s going to get bad next prog…

Judge Dredd: Destiny’s Angels Part 4 by T.B. Grover and Carlos Ezquerra wastes no time in getting to the scene on teh cover as the interstellar express that Mean is travelling on takes a diversion to Mega-City One. From Indo-Cit – first (and last?) mention of this city? Unfortunately Mean has already killed the cabin crew, so has to crash land the express on his own (he’s not very good at it). Following Mean’s arrival in Mega-City One, Dredd gets his suspicions confirmed by an un-named psi-judge that a powerful psychic force is bringing the two Angel brothers together. Dredd doesn’t need the name of that force to deduce it’s Krysler…

Ace Trucking Co. The Kloistar Run Part 6 by Grant Grover and Belardinelli opens with our first pic of the dragon which the Great Garpo must fight. The dragon is not a template for what will appear in Dragonheist in a few years.

Though we only get one page of the dragon quest before Frank Langford’s colour centrefold finishes off the three-part KP Outer Spacers: The Eyes of the Aliens advert in comic form. This is pseudo-Dan Dare style art, hampered slightly by having to have ships in the same shapes as puffed corn snacks. You can read a bit more about Outer Spacers on Michael Carroll’s blog.

Back to Garp. Sorry, Garpo. While Ace is trying to broker a deal with the hot-tempered dragon, a comment by G-B-H causes the dragon to reveal the cause of his woes, providing a basis for negotiation. Sending G-B-H out to get more supplies from the Kloistaroons. Those supplies are everything Feek needs to build a personal refrigerator for the dragon to stand in and cool down – in gratitude for this, Ace and the dragon put on a performance for the crowd thronged outside the cave, faking the dragon’s death. The next miracle is going to be slightly more difficult to survive, as Garp is to have his head severed from his body. The interruption by the two annuals (plus realising I’d missed the Starlord annual from last year) means it seems like a long time since I read the beginning of this story, but I have a feeling it’s something that appeared in the first two episodes

Rogue Trooper: The Marauders Part Three by Gerry Finley-Day and Cam Kennedy. The Traitor General follows up last prog’s reverie with a flashback on what happened following the mass breakout at Glasshouse G. Discredited in the eyes of the Nort high command, TG saw red at being dismissed, went on a killing spree and ended up leading a break out of Nort and Souther prisoners being held at the Zonal HQ. Still a prisoner, Rogue tries to escape but ends up being stunned (by a stun-shot) to wake up on the rack (it’s a futuristic rack machine, but it’s still a rack).

Tharg the Mighty in The Shedding Part 2. by T.M.O. and Eric Bradbury. The dictators and fake Tharg set to work reducing the amount of thrill-power in the nerve centre – castigating art droid Belardinelli for producing artwork that is too good (or is that Bellardinelli? There are two different spellings in this ‘porg’). Alan Moore is also told off for writing Future-Shocks which are too shocking… The Tom Frame droid is sent off to Mek-Quake after complaining and any good bits in the stories are censored. Meanwhile on Jupiter, Tharg has emerged from the methane seas in his newly rejuvenated body, ripe to be reeled in on a fishing line by the dictators. Alec Trench poster watch: “Truly zarjaz”.

The Robo-World poster gets it’s second quarter this prog, with a few of the giant robo-vehicles from Verdus and a robo-dinosaur making an appearance.

Grailpage: I like swamps and forest scenes, so the Cam Kennedy flashback where the Traitor General’s Marauders discover the downed satellite wins it for me.

Grailquote: Grant Grover, Hoagy: “Guess great minds work alike, hugh, Sam?” Sam Slade: “Some don’t work at all, Hoagy.” I never realised I got that quote from this story (obviously if I’d remember the Sam and Hoagy parts that would have helped). Shows that even less than great Grant Grover episodes can have high points!

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