2000AD Prog 321: Nappy days for Robo Hunter “Presennnnnt – BOTTLES!”

A great cover from Ian Gibson – a line-up of baby soldiers, none of which look like Kidd, which is a bit of an achievement! Whomever did the lettering had fun with the word Bottles as well.

Tharg’s Nerve Centre has Tharg extorting earthlets to follow up that ‘highest altitude’ challenge by submitting ‘unusual places’ that people have read their progs. I seem to remember one person read in a submarine, but can’t remember any others. Meanwhile another earthlet notices that some planets have had price drops in contrast to the price rise that we got in earth money. I miss the prices from the rest of the solar system…

Sam Slade, Robo-Hunter: The Slaying of Slade Part 10 by Grant/Grover and Ian Gibson. Slade’s ghost follows the development of his clone as its enlisted in to the army and, six years later, sent to civvy street where young Sam is adopted by a couple who don’t seem bad but also don’t exactly take an active interest in young Sam’s development. Hereafter called Sam Scumm so I don’t have to keep using ghost Slade and clone Slade. The episode ends with Scumm being sentenced to fifty years in prison for anti-social behaviour. That actually seems pretty harsh to me – I’m guessing anti-social behaviour didn’t include any murders!

Mighty Micro Page is back, hosted by ZX Tharg (the Spectrum variety, not ZX81) featuring a round-up of new games, computer-related books and a simple BASIC program.

The Weetabix bunch are back with a rocket-launcher style Titchy Breakfast Eliminator to violently dispose of anything else on the breakfast table.

Tharg’s Time Twisters: I Could do That..! by J.B. Kronk and Mike White (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). Kronk is both the character in this story and ostensible script droid, similar to the first Alec Trench story. This is part recounting of Kronk’s day and part CV for any potential employers looking for a 100-metre sprinter, mountaineer or lip-reader or any circus owners and office managers (those all related to various skills displayed by the narrator). As there’s no actual jobs about, Kronk practices being a private investigator. So far, so mundane (well, the events – it’s not a mundane way to tell a story). Being a loyal squaxx, Kronk knows what tachyon tubes are used for (time machines) so when he bumps in to a scientist carrying some he decides to follow. So it is that Kronk spies on the scientist as they’re about to test their new device. Before they can test though, a reporter from the future appears to get an exclusive on the event. Next a film producer arrives to buy vid-rights, further interrupting the test. Museum curators, future tax inspectors and criminals also turn up in quick succession, leading to the scientist (Doctor Procter) using his device – on them – and then smashing it up so that everyone will leave him alone and somebody else can invent time travel instead. As Kronk’s PI ‘job’ has gone nowhere he decides to send his story to Tharg instead, and thus it was printed.

Judge Dredd: Condo Part 3 by T.B. Grover and Carlos Ezquerra. It might be difficult for the last episode of a three-parter to live up to its splash page of the ruined space condo silhouetted against the sun in to which its being sucked. Dredd sends out the order to evacuate the station, treating the situation like a normal tour of crowd control (including putting a particularly pushy condo-dweller to the back of the queue). Some residents, trapped in sealed sections of transparent tunnels can only watch as the escape pods leave, including the colony leader… Back in Mega-City One the following day, Dredd pays a visit to an architect. An architect who lost a design contract on the Gemini series of condos. Dredd doesn’t have proof yet, but he preemptively arrests the architect anyway… Not the usual procedure, but the final death toll was around 540,000 people.

Skizz by Alan Moore and Jim Baikie. Another episode utilising Alan Moore’s trademark of switching between two scenes (though there’s no thematic dialogue accompanying each scene switch this episode). But what’s happening in the two scenes? On Skizz’s side at what we find out is probably R.A.F. Stafford, the interrogations from Van Owen continue, though he gets shaken slightly when he finds out that Skizz’s race is capable of snuffing out suns. Skizz has a moment of triumph when Van Owen is sent off, tail between his legs (though Skizz is the one thumping his tail) but then he catches himself, realising that he’s spent too long among the evolved apes, taking pleasure at the displeasure of others. While this is going on, Loz and Cornelius are recruiting some of their acquaintances to help break Skizz out and there’s a character much like Rik from the Young Ones. Pretending to be an right-on anarchist but not so willing to do anything that might get him in trouble.

Rogue Trooper: Milli-Comm Memories Part 4 by Gerry Finley-Day and Cam Kennedy. It’s Bagman’s turn to be remembered and we flash back to Troopers B and R as twelve-year olds. Bagman has suspected an apparent airlock as being something more for some time, always returning to loiter around it. One night Rogue awakes to find Bagman gone from his bunk and there’s no prize for guessing where he is. By the time he’s slipped past the Milli-Fuzz (military police) the door is open, and it isn’t a normal airlock. Within the pair discover green-skinned genetic rejects. Misshapen they may be, but they’re intelligent enough to figure out that the blue skinned boys, who look like the creators (apart from the skin) are the real soldiers, while they’ve been forgotten. Bagman gets knocked unconscious leaving Rogue to get the pair of them out of their, but by the time they’re back through the airlock the gene genies have found them. The genies eject the sealed lab and destroy it once tt’s clear of Milli-Com. Rogue is put under orders not to mention it to anyone, including Bagman – who himself is told that it was an accident which caused the lab to be destroyed in space – and then ordered not to tell anybody about it anyway. Back in the present, Rogue is still laid out and Norts are approaching…

After the adverts on the inside back cover comes a short and wide ad for the next prog, and it’s a personal favourite from this era – Cry of the Werewolf! Looks like the wolf in the pic is from Robin Smith rather story artist Steve Dillon though.

The back cover has more advertising – this time the boardgame is Raiders of the Lost Seas. I suspect that all these games (other than Cluedo) are themed versions of some basic gameplay.

Grailpage: I was tempted by Jim Baikie’s snuffer page, but in the end I’m going for Cam Kennedy’s laboratory-ejecting-from-Millicom page as it shows a close up of the outside of Milli-Com – it’s not as smooth as the long-distance views we’ve previously seen – there’s a whole bunch of greebling when you see it up close.

Grailquote: Grant Grover, Sam Scumm: “I’m going out to have a rumble, ma.” Ma: “Very nice, Sam. When will you be back?” Sam: “Whenever the heck I like!” Pa: “That’s fine, son. Just so long as we know.”

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