2000AD Prog 294: A Tale of Two Cities! In Mega-City 1 requiem for a vigilante In Brit-Cit The sound of music E.T. Review and Freebie – This Prog!

A composite cover bodged together from panels of Dredd by Carlos Ezquerra and Slade by Ian Gibson. I’m curious what the freebie is though – and if I’m reading it right it’s directly related to E.T.

Tharg’s Nerve Centre features a letter from a Tellurian named Clare who is romantically interested in Dredd (and was momentarily shocked by the idea that the lawman already had a wife). An anonymous earthlet records the reading times of various comics (others are Beano, Whoopee, Dandy and Whizzer & Chips) and concludes that because 2000AD takes longer it’s worth reading. I’d argue that some of the text-heavy early annuals take a long time to read, and that doesn’t mean they’re necessarily worth reading – quality not quantity!

Sam Slade, Robo-Hunter: Play it Again, Sam! Part 3 by Alan Grant and Ian Gibson. First time I read this I had no idea who Sir Oswald Mosley was but even so, the moustache and widow’s peak-styled hair on Sir Oswald Modroid would have clued me in that this was a bad guy. The Home Secretary wants to “put it in a nutshell” or as Stogie says: “The cue for the song”. The song in question is sung to the tune of The Toreador’s Song, another one to add to the playlists for Brit-Cit National Song Year on YouTube and Spotify. After Iron Aggie has tried to appeal to Slade’s better nature, the Home Secretary (for that’s the position that Modroid holds) points out they hold Slade’s passport and can trump up a charge to put him away for a few years. The next page drops a few racist elements (victims are Chinese and black people) then we get on to the set piece of the episode as everybody does The Brit-Cit Walk (if you have any knowledge of British musicals you can probably guess the tune already). The spirit is dampened as the Human League turn up, ready to smash up robots.

Harry Twenty on the High Rock by Gerry Finley-Day and Alan Davis. With racist guard Pusser unconscious, Swede Sixteen and his companion (who doesn’t get a name) on their way to the shuttle we see something that long-term readers of 2000AD would think looks suspiciously like a voice print scanner read-out. While they get to the ‘VIP observation cabin’ by the hostess, Harry has to stop Genghis and the other numbers from killing Pusser. Chief Thrower puts Pusser on a charge for allowing himself to be caught and Warden Wolrdwise informs the numbers that every avenue of escape off the Rock is covered – and with the ‘observation pod’ signed ‘Ob Pod’ though designed to jettison towards Earth without a heat-shield, I’d believe Worldwise.

Ro-Jaws’ 2000AD Film Review: E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial – also, See E.T. in 3D. Ro-Jaws really likes this film, going so far as to recommend it for those humes who like action, spaceships and zapping aliens – even though this film doesn’t contain any of that stuff. Oh, and that freebie? Tharg had 18 View-Master 3D E.T. Starter Sets to give away. I don’t imagine the stereoscopic View-Master will get shown in this comic again (outside of a nostalgic reference in Survival Geeks, maybe) so may as well mention that I had one, but other than the sample card the only set I had was for The Fox and the Hound – a film I’ve never seen, so have no idea why I had that set of cards. In a bit of an externalised internal monologue, I could be wrong on that – I have memories of seeing The Rescuers in 3d (on cards, not in the cinema) so maybe the shots of The Fox and the Hound were from the sample disc. Quick, let’s get back to the comics!

Judge Dredd: The Executioner Part 4 by T.B. Grover and Carlos Ezquerra. After three weeks of set-up, we find out exactly who the Executioner is, Dredd has a brainwave, Blanche Tatum (for the Executioner is she) says goodbye to her children and takes out her last target, even as Dredd gets his Lawmaster bike computer to search the last fifteen years of female rookies who left the Academy before graduating. In an earlier story I imagine this kind of task would have been taken to MAC, as when Dredd was tracing Mutie the Pig, aka Judge Gibson but it shows how powerful the bike computer is that it can check every female rookie, cross-reference them against the description, give a brief life history then p.s. third appearance of Resyk since its first appearance in The Fink and re-introduction in Destiny’s Angels. It all comes to a head as Blanche tracks down the last of the financiers of a loan operation her husband Nicholas got involved in, then commits death by Judge – leaving her two grieving children as orphans.

Rogue Trooper: Fort Neuro Part 4 by Gerry Finley-Day and Cam Kennedy. Not for the first time, Gunnar is in complaint mode as he wants to watch the wall-vid until forced to, when he doesn’t want to watch any more. The first vid Gunnar wants to watch is ‘Bo-Jest‘ (sic, and I’ve linked a comedy version of the tale as there’s three different ‘straight’ film versions, plus a BBC adaptation of the book which was airing at the very time this prog was being published – though I doubt this story was in any way influenced due to lead times on writing, drawing and printing). I think I saw one version of this when I was really young (maybe around this time) but we had a black and white TV so it’s anybody’s guess which version I saw. All I remember of it is the one scene which gets referenced in this episode – in Gunnar’s words “a line of rifles take the place of joes”. Wanting to escape the cloying atmosphere of Frank Sector to check out the rest of Fortress Neuropa, Rogue sets Gunnar to lay in Rogue’s room to act as a decoy while Rogue sneaks off with Robspierre. Time to visit the Lim-ees. Oh, and there was a joke about a ‘masked ball’ Nu Earth-style (chem masks, geddit?)

I’ll briefly mention an advert for footballer Kevin Keegan to visit the school of a reader in aid of muscular dystrophy. We’ve had this advert run without comment from me a few times already, but I only mention this now as it will become relevant in a few progs time.

Tharg’s Time Twisters: Robby the Conkeror by Stavros and Eric Bradbury (those links are to old collected editions which are probably pretty difficult to get hold of these days – and only cover the Alan Moore Twisters in to the bargain). Speaking of Moore – I’d always thought the initial Twisters were a vehicle for Moore to tell time-based tales, but this first one at least is by Alan Grant (writing under a pseudonym). It’s not the most inspiring start (sorry, Alan) but then I’m not a fan of the ‘advanced race kidnap warriors from various cultures for their gladiatorial arena’ which is what this is. The main thing I liked about Blackhawk (possibly the most prominent example in 2000AD, certainly at the point Twisters started). Yeah, so a school bully who smashes the other boys conkers gets hauled to the far future where he gets killed by William the Conqueror whose ‘conker’ is a morning star (which saw widespread use from the fourteenth century onward, fact-fans).

2000AD Star Pin-Up: Judge Dredd by Ron Smith. Two guns Smith shows a crouching Dredd and also has a large portrait of the judge in the background.

Grailpage: Ian Gibson’s two-third page Brit-Cityscape as everybody does the Brit-Cit Walk (with inlays of teddy-droids). Well, apart from Sam Slade, of course.

Grailquote: TB Grover, Blanche Tatum: “It is unfair. But don’t cry, children. The men who killed your father will be punished, I promise you. Go to your grandmother’s now. She’ll look after you. Whatever happens, I want you to remember… I love you.” Daryn Tatum: “Mum, what’s the matter? Where are you going?” Treena Tatum: “Don’t leave us.” Blanche: “I have to. I have a job to finish…”

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