2000AD Prog 307: Hag’s Beasts!

Steve Dillon’s Judge Dredd cover contains just Dredd and four of Trapper Hag’s bounty beasts (that’s what Hag called them the previously episode). It’s a well-drawn image but too plain for me.

Tharg’s Nerve Centre contains a few letters from earthlets who didn’t read their progs closely enough before writing in, and one from a fantasy/sci-fi game fan requesting a new feature page devoted to games (rather than computer games).

Sam Slade, Robo-Hunter: Play it Again, Sam! Part by Alan Grant and Ian Gibson. Final episode! Slade resurrects Iron Aggie (after a false start) who wastes no time in putting Sir Oswald Modroid in his place (being led away in cuffs, if you’re wondering). After a song and dance, Slade is granted a reward. Of all the things he could choose (wealth, a title maybe) the thing he picks is for an end to the music! Don’t get me wrong, the artwork on this episode is still good, but it’s looking a bit rushed apart from the last episode. Anyway, we’re told that Slade will be back in Prog 312 for “his strangest case yet”. It also happens to be the first Robo-Hunter story I ever read (well, bits of it anyway, my run of progs was incomplete to begin with). Brit-Cit National Song Year on YouTube and Spotify.

One of the earliest films I saw at the cinema gets a black and white full-page ad here – The Dark Crystal! Still love it, though for ages I only had the one viewing I’d had at the cinema, one viewing of a TV programme about the making of the film and a few years later a copy of the making of book. I never owned a VHS of the film, but it was one of the first DVDs I bought.

Tharg’s Time Twisters: Rogan’s Run by Stavros and 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). I remember having this prog quite early on as it was around the time I was being told about two-point perspective at school, as Belardinelli uses three-point perspective on the second page of this story when Rogan jumps out of a three kilometre tall court building in a narrow tall frame which emphasises the height. The actual story has Rogan on the run from the timecop. Anyone jumping randomly through time has to stop off at (and usually be the cause of) the Great Fire of London, the Marie Celeste, Jack the Ripper or the extinction of the dinosaurs. We’ve seen one of these before (a couple of times) but don’t worry, we’ll get to see all the others multiple times. This time it’s the turn of the Great Fire of London – caused by Rogan shooting the timecop and causing him to explode. Then it’s a jaunt to revolutionary France (though Rogan doesn’t realise it’s revolutionary France) to steal the kingship from Louis. Just minutes before the revolutionaries storm the palace and behead the Kind. It’s almost like the ‘taking the place of a historical figure’ we’ve had in the last few months or progs, though Rogan only got to be king for a few minutes before being executed.

After one page of adverts (the Judge Dredd boardgame, Angler’s Mail, a competition result for the Robo-Hunter’s Robo-World print and those Forbidden Planet miniatures) it’s time for…

Judge Dredd: Trapper Hag part 3 by T.B. Grover and Steve Dillon. Opening with a standard alien zoo interior for Hag’s spacecraft – though done well, because it’s Steve Dillon doing the drawing. Dredd fights off some bounty beasts which had been left on the ship as guard beasts while Trapper Hag was down in the city, just about getting a pause for breath before Hag returns. Hag has been alerted by an alarm though, so teleports in with his force shield up. Dredd over-acts how badly he’s been defeated, inviting Hag to kill him. Not knowing Dredd’s attitude towards the truth (or admitting defeat), Hag falls for Dredd’s ploy and drops the shield so that he can personally decapitate him (lots of head-chopping in this prog!) – with the element of surprise, Dredd manages to battle Hag on equal terms (no techno gadgets helping Hag out) and gets the upper hand for the first time in three episodes…

Rogue Trooper: Fort Neuro Part 16 by Gerry Finley-Day and Cam Kennedy. Luckily for Rogue, and Lim-ee Sector, the Norts start to drill through directly beneath where Rogue and the robe-runners are assembled. What’s more, Rogue encountered a few members of the garrison sneaking around for a midnight feast, meaning they’re free to head off and wake up the rest of the camp. Sorry, sector. Before the Norts can react, the Lim-ee hunters are on the scene, and bringing Helm back. With only a three-page episode, there’s a quick scene change to Rom Sector for a Dreamweaver-like carnival “with dark-eyed dolls”.

Harry Twenty on the High Rock by Gerry Finley-Day and Alan Davis. Another last episode – apart from Fort Neuro, next prog is set up to be a jumping-on prog. That killer-sat (which looks suspiciously like a world-war two mine) gets a cut-a-way diagram to show how it can’t be destroyed by the Rock’s lasers. After a trap set by Warden Worldwise kills two numbers, Harry hits on the idea to empty the High Rock of superfluous supplies and furniture to create a decoy shield between the High Rock and the killer-sat. Worldwise has one last murder attempt against Harry before electrocuting himself on the hypno-model. Harry escapes the junk belt just before the killer sat hits, tossing the High Rock around like a leaf and booting it out of Earth orbit. As synchronicity would have it, not only is Harry now a no longer a number, but the amount of food and supplies left on the former satellite is enough to last for seven thousand days. Or twenty years, just as Harry loses his ‘Twenty’ surname and regains ‘Thompson’.

A Blast from the Past has the last two pages – Belardinelli’s opening three pages to Dan Dare (including what was originally the colour centrespread) and the last page of the first episode of Flesh.

Grailpage: Alan Davis’ penultimate page of the High Rock features the death of Worldwise but more interestingly to me three panels of the killer sat approaching the junk belt interspersed with two panels of Harry getting to the airlock. Oh, and there’s an impressive explosion pic at the bottom of the page.

Grailquote: Gerry Finley-Day, Harry Thompson: “I ain’t a number any longer. I’m a free man! An’ the name’s Thompson – Harry Thompson!” (which is similar to the first few panels of the series, but in reverse).

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