2000AD Prog 297: “Drokk! The rad-beast’s been sucked into the fancy dress parade!”

Ezquerra’s back on Dredd cover duties. As noted in yesterday’s blog post, I had this prog some time before the previous one, so knew how Bizmo Klux ended up before meeting him.

Tharg’s Nerve Centre opens with Tharg plugging what’s on the back cover, which I don’t need to go in to as that’ll be at the end of this post. A Terran suggests that Tharg takes tips in print quality from a magazine that stopped publishing after five issues. Erm… And an earthlet points out that Dredd’s shoulder eagle might look a bit silly.

Sam Slade, Robo-Hunter: Play it Again, Sam! Part 6 by Alan Grant and Ian Gibson. Against Hoagy’s advice (now a ‘smart idiot’) Slade heads off to stir things up at a Robot-Owner’s Club (in Stogie’s words “Ees full of robot loveeng pensioneros!”) Upon leaving he’s approached by a trenchcoat-wearing member of the League and before long finds himself in a sewer where a meeting of the local cell is taking place. Led by everybody’s favourite psychotic thirty-year-old in a baby’s body, Kidd! What can go wrong? Which is pretty much the motto of this series… Oh, and what important agenda item is being covered at this meeting? Practicing singing the theme song of the Human League (to the tune Teddy Bear’s Picnic). Brit-Cit National Song Year on YouTube and Spotify.

Tharg’s Review of 1982! Is filler, made even less interesting for me as I’ve read all the progs covered in the past two months, instead of over the course of a year.

Harry Twenty on the High Rock by Gerry Finley-Day and Alan Davis. This episode has a passing mention of the plan but is otherwise an interlude about Magnifico Seven pretending to go mad so that he can be sent to a hospital on Earth. Unfortunately for him, and the other numbers who Warden Worldwise addresses (he’s making a habit of this) he doesn’t get sent to Earth but to the moon, to a special domed ‘hospital’ there. Now trapped further away from Earth and amongst the actually ‘loco’ residents, Seven serves as a warning to the other numbers. Presumably he’s also swapped what remains of his seven years for a lifetime (however long that may last) in his new home.

Judge Dredd: Night of the Rad-Beast Part 2 by T.B. Grover and Carlos Ezquerra. This is how you tell a Dredd story in two parts – the first setting up the not-even-evil antagonist and the second showing Dredd tracking the beast while it progresses through the city. The best bit being when Dredd has dealt with the beast and has called in medical and decontam squads and continues with his patrol, thinking “Some christmas this is turning out to be!” – just routine.

Tharg’s Time Twisters: by J.H. Teed and Massimo Belardinelli (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). This story has no title as printed, so I’ll just call it The Star. We had something similar to this before – the true story behind the star that appeared above Bethlehem in the year 7 BCE. That time it was the Crystal of Life, this time it’s a time machine (confusingly called the Situational/Temporal-Displacement Unit, or STD – and the initialism STD is used) sent back to investigate what the Star of Bethlehem really was. I have a feeling the true nature of that star has already been covered, so I’m going to start using the tag ‘Star of Bethlehem‘ to help track the theme if it comes up again. By the way, the STD over-heated and was the star.

Rogue Trooper: Fort Neuro Part 7 by Gerry Finley-Day and Cam Kennedy. For the past two episodes Rogue has encountered Lim-ees, thought they weren’t too badly affected by siege illness then found out in the last few panels that actually they’re just as bad as Frank Sector. Two progs ago the twist was that they thought they were on a holiday camp. Last prog the Lim-ee raiding party dressed up in psuedo fox hunting costumes. This time around they seem to be an effective fighting team, but the twist is they let a valuable Nort go free, despite their being a veteran of the Dix-I offensive because he was wounded and that would be ‘unsporting’. So not only does Rogue not know what the Norts are planning but the Norts are also alerted to his presence in Lim-ee sector. I share Rogue’s frustration at the huntsmen.

Ro-Jaws’ Film of the Year, in reverse order: Dragonslayer at four, Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan, E.T. at two and taking top spot – Tron! Didn’t an art droid or two have something to do with the making of this film? I’m sure that had nothing to do with the choice (though a look through the credits doesn’t reveal any names from 2000AD – though I did spot that Tim Burton was an uncredited animator).

Time for that back page that Tharg plugged in the Nerve Centre – it’s Tharg’s Guide to the Future Calendar 1983, showing the months January to June and the top half of Judge Anderson by Brett Ewins: “Psi-Division predicts a zarjaz year for all readers of 2000 AD!”. My feeling, more than just slightly tinged by personal nostalgia is that this is absolutely correct as we’re going to have an positively classic selection of stories coming up in 1983. Also, it’s the year I started reading 2000AD.

Grailpage: Funnily enough I thought last prog’s centrespread was greatly enhanced by the colour while this prog I think the detail is slightly obscured by it – Carlos Ezquerra’s opener has a cityscape with a multitude of signs and mega-citizens filling the panel.

Grailquote: TB Grover, Bizmo Klux’s endoskeleton: “WANT FLESH!” Judge Dredd: “Request denied!”

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