Carlos’ cover is a recreation of the last panel of last week’s episode, including a circular panel and the story logo (Destiny’s Angels has it’s own oval logo).
Tharg’s Nerve Centre is half sized and hosted by Roy Tharg (who I’m guessing is based on Roy Race, of the Rovers). The letters are focused on sci-fi fandom, one suggesting Squaxx hit the jumble sales for cheap second hand books while the other went off to a Nostalgia & Comics comic mart, as featured in an earlier Eents Guide.
Sam Slade, Robo-Hunter: Football Crazy Part 6 by Alan Grant and Ian Gibson – the last episode, as Tharg revealed in the Nerve Centre. The regular characters take to the sports field, though Kidd gets out of any entanglements with the Italian team (who haven’t forgotten what they did to their manager the previous night) by kicking the referee and getting sent off. Slade isn’t so lucky, having the ball kicked to him by the Italians so that they can pile on. England wins by dint of the entire Italian team being sent off (knocking the referee’s head off wasn’t a good move on their part). And that’s where Slade bows out of the story, spending the rest in a hospital bed while the robots watch the last game in the cup final (England loses to Brazil). The pundits, who have been criticising everyone and everything throughout this story get linked to the job of replacement England manager – they suddenly have less to say about how a team should be run… As a non-spectator sport person this story sped by mercifully quickly. Next up: “The great’ Robo-Hunter story ever tol'” – I think that’s the National Song Year story – this is a story I’ll be more into, if only because I have a hope of recognising some of the songs being lampooned.
After a full-page colour ad for Weetabix posters (and 6 felt tip pens to colour the black and white posters with) it’s time for Tharg’s Droids No 4 in an occasional series – and this time it’s Spex turn (funny, I’d thought all three media droids had been spotlighted before Burt). Robin Smith did the honours on this one.
Harry Twenty on the High Rock by Gerry Finley-Day and Alan Davis. The intro this week could be considered a little contradictory – in one narration box it says the High Rock is home to ten thousand of Earth’s most vicious criminals, in the next it says Harry Thompson/Twenty was caught smuggling food to starving civilians. So are they vicious criminals or political prisoners? Some mix of the two? What proportion of which? Anyway, something I neglected to mention is that a lot of this story is narrated in the second person, i.e. “You’ve been here less than an hour, and already you’ve seen a demonstration of the guard’s power.” Not many stories use second person narration, outside of gamebooks. Harry Twenty meets his room-mate – Genghis Eighteen – there’s an answer to my question – he was sent to the High Rock on a trumped up charge after refusing to sell his family’s land to the military. In quick succession we’re introduced to two more characters – Old Ben Ninety (first con on the Rock) and Pusser, a racist slug who puts Genghis on punishment detail because of his Mongolian origin. Back from punishment detail (chipping ice from around the waste vents in a thin spacesuit which barely protects against the cold).
Gruesome Groat Getters is half a page of reader’s art, my favourite of three being The Deviant-Spotters – three Terminators on the lookout for, well, deviants.
Judge Dredd: Destiny’s Angels part 8 by T.B. Grover and Carlos Ezquerra. The first panel is rather like the last panel of part 7, and this prog’s cover… This episode is mainly a protracted fight scene between four combatants (mustn’t forget Ratty) and it’s handled superbly by Grant, Wagner and Ezquerra. The only survivors are Dredd and Mean (and by the end, the Grunwalder as Owen Krysler doesn’t get away either). Give the robot two years though, or maybe sixteen… Hmmm, better spell it out more plainly (especially as I have a character death tag for this purpose) – Ratty dies. Fink dies. Owen Krysler dies. Mean gets captured, for the first time.
Rogue Trooper: The Marauders Part 7 by Gerry Finley-Day and Cam Kennedy. Player and Rogue take care of the other five hoppers, but word gets back to the base in the midst of the swamp. Player takes off, with Helm, while Rogue heads back towards the Marauder’s base, and the Traitor General. So we know that Player’s going to return, because otherwise how will Helm be reunited with the other biochips (and Rogue)? TG has an ace up his sleeve in that the base has a self-destruct function – so my guess is that Rogue will find out about the self-destruct sequence, have no way out but then get rescued by Player in a hopper.
You might think I said “ace up his sleeve” in that previous paragraph to provide a segue in to the return of Ace Trucking Co. but you’d be wrong – it was just a coincidence. Stoop Coop Soup Part 1 by Grant Grover and Massimo Belardinelli. This may be the first time that Massimo has had his full name in the credit box, usually it’s merely his surname! Galactic Police officers Kroxley and Zagger finally catch Ace Garp speeding at double the limit. Taken to the court, it looks like whatever race the two jeepies belong to, the judges are from the same place (just without the equipment which allows them to survive in space). After trying to talk his way out of the charge, Ace ends up sentenced to one week in Bide-a-Wee penitentiary and I’m suddenly getting the feeling this is the beginning of the last Ace story for a few years… One week after the introduction of Warden Worldwise in Harry Twenty we get Warden Warden (of the same law-keeping race as the judges and jeepies) before the new inmates gets stripped and deloused (Ace had sentient, speaking lice). Steve Potter provides a next prog tag with musical notation as we prepare for The Ballad of Gator Magee. Ace’s scarf is now well and truly it’s own character, holding an ace of spades, pointing accusingly at judges and clasping Ace’s pointy head.
Grailpage: it has to be one of Alan Davis’ Harry Twenty pages, but which one? After some consideration I’m going for Ben Ninety (and Pusser)’s first appearance, largely due to Ben’s exaggerated poses.
Grailquote: Grant Grover, Ace Garp: “You stack-babbin’ law-monkeys is just tryin’ to get your own back for all the times I blubbed ya!” Officer Kroxley: “Exactly.” Office Zagger: “Precisely.” (I might have got the two officers the wrong way around).