2000AD Prog 325: “Stand back, Burt – Prog Snatch!” Tharg Wars – Return of the Editor. Ro-Jaws reviews Return of the Jedi!

Eric Bradbury is back on the cover and once again it’s to illustrated a Tharg cover – I suspect this is the only wraparound cover Eric contributed to the galaxy’s greatest. I may be imagining it, but I think he did one or two for Scream! though. Speaking of Scream! I won’t be covering it (partly because it merged with Eagle and I don’t have a complete set of Eagle comics) but I did get them when they came out in 1984. Actually – I don’t have a complete collection of Scream! either – just the weekly comics, no specials.

Tharg’s Nerve Centre explains what the cover is all about (a cover story, in other words).

Sam Slade, Robo-Hunter: The Slaying of Slade Part 14 by Grant/Grover and Ian Gibson. Starting as the last episode did, with Slade (and Scumm) trapped in the chaic. The next day, Slade somehow manages to convince somebody to get a message to Hoagy, still at the hospital (luckily Stogie is also there to recognise that Mr Hoagy refers to Hoagy, which is more than Hoagy recognised). For the last time we see the original Sam Slade die in a low-key reconstruction of the opening scene of this story, from all the way back in Prog 312.

Ro-Jaws’ 2000 AD Film Review: Return of the Jedi. 1983 was a good year for me. I’d seen the previous Star Wars film at the cinema, but I didn’t know what it was all about – in fact the only thing I remember from that viewing was the Hoth scene. Being three years older and surrounded by other kids who had the sticker album and miniatures. The other thing, of course, was that I started reading 2000AD. Ro-Jaws’ review is pretty spoiler-ific, though I guess the publicity pictures had revealed a few things (like Han Solo not in carbonite, and Luke and Vader facing off in a lightsabre fight). This two-page spread is text-heavy with four grainy black and white pictures on the toilet roll-paper of the era.

It’s been a while since we saw Tharg’s Future-Shocks. This one is Eureka! by Alan Moore and Mike White and takes an existential approach to the search for alien life in the galaxy. The crew of fifteen are on a long-term mission to discover life. After three years they’ve only discovered one thing – that they can’t stand each other’s little quirks and tics. I mean, there’s one who punctuates their speech with the words “I mean” all the time. He comes out with the question that life might take a form that humans would expect. I mean, it could be a crystal growth or something. I mean, what if it’s “just an idea” (in his words). Six months later, that idea hits him. You can tell because he’s got a broad grin on his face, and starts off with a transmittable sentence: “If all time is simultaneous and all events happen in a single moment, then time is but a figment of mind, and ” it continues… Being a transmittable idea, it isn’t long before all but one crew member has been ‘infected’ by the idea. Of course, being trapped on a starship in the middle of space, there’s not much he can do to avoid the others and as they surround him he tries to resist the verbal ‘lifeform’ until… he stops resisting. I wonder if Radiohead ever read this story?.

Tharg’s Photo-Album is a bizarre addition in the weekly prog – three photos of Tharg (presumably MacManus donning the costume) from within the Command Module (one of which has the wall of covers from the centre pages of the recent Sci-Fi Special).

Judge Dredd: Cry of the Werewolf Part 4 by T.B. Grover and Steve Dillon. Opening with a nice bit of continuity as Korkoran’s front wolf-teeth are damaged due to having tried to bite down on Dredd’s helmet last prog. Dredd is introduced to Cassidy in the Tek Labs (presumably actually a tek-judge, but he’s not wearing a uniform, merely functional green scrubs). Dredd needles Cassidy for having named the cause of the werewolves after himself, the radioactive chemical isolated now called Cassidium (pretty standard practice in the scientific community). Dredd gets sent off to the Undercity to locate the source of the cassidium and destroy it – along with all of the werewolves down there. After a run-in with the locals – not sure if they’ve got a collective name – not mutants, not troggies, speakee likee this, Dredd follows werewolf tracks to Time Square, where he encounters a team of robots who have captured a white werewolf.

Skizz by Alan Moore and Jim Baikie. After a few weeks without it, Moore brings back the clever transitions between scenes. The three are on the run and it’s not entirely clear what Loz is doing at the pool room he attends. While he’s there, Van Owen arrives – though only with one policeman in tow, which isn’t enough in a pool room surrounded by the locals. Meanwhile, Roxy is paying a visit to her parents before she goes properly on the run – Cornelius comes along or moral support, and ends up chucking a chair through the window so that he can point at the stars in the sky – Skizz’s home.

Rogue Trooper: Vid-Vultures Part 3 by Gerry Finley-Day and Brett Ewins.K-For-Ken continues to constantly give away Rogue’s position by hovering above his position, signalling to the Norts precisely where he is at all times. Until, in an eighteen-panel page, K-For-Ken is distracted by an interview with Gunnar (the only one of the G.I.s who’s interested in speaking to the hovering correspondent). While that interview is conducted, Rogue climbs around to get behind some approaching Norts. That panel-heavy page also features what became Brett’s trademark of using photocopies to zoom in on an image – without double-checking I think the image zoomed in upon was the one from last prog with the snazzily-decorated Nort watcher. Later, expecting the vid-vulture to be circling above them, the G.I. lose the initiative on an approaching missile. Is this the death of the G.I. (asks K-For-Ken). I really should mention that all of this takes place in the Rockies-2 mountain range.

No surprises which film is going to get a feature next prog, as there’s a three-quarters page photo of Christopher reeve as Superman.

Grailpage: Steve Dillon and the establishing shot of Dredd in the Undercity. Possibly the best picture we’ll see of the Undercity (though i’d be happy to be proved wrong). If I ever do come across a view which equals this one, I’ll be sure to link to it (unless it’s in two or three years and I completely forget by then).

Grailquote: TB Grover, Judge Dredd: “Computer – plot me a course for Norman Pitlik.” Lawmaster computer: “Wilco. Holdee Tightee!” Dredd: “And stow the humour!” I really miss lawmasters with a line in witty retorts. Hopefully we’ll see a comedian bike again some day.

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