2000AD Prog 329: Are they robots? Are they machines? They’re both!

This cover isn’t your usual 2000AD cover – it’s a tie-in to a toy. Picture courtesy of Kevin O’Neill, it’s a pretty faithful reproduction of the toy – taking centre-spot is the Robo-Machines RM-2 Tank, and I should know as I have one, on the shelf below my Matchbox Land-raider (both of which I’ve had before I knew they featured in 2000AD, as this was another back prog I didn’t get until some years later). The toy’s pretty tiny. I’m going to guess that the single miniature, model or toy that more readers of this blog will have more than any other is probably said Land-Raider, the shoulders of the tank when in robot form are about level with the top of the Killdozer section – giving it just enough height to look over the top.

In Tharg’s Nerve Centre the mighty one reveals some competition winners, from just eleven weeks earlier. An earthlet provides a quick recipe for home-made bio-chips, involving red sweet wrappers. It does make me wonder if tiny solar panels could be hooked up to LEDs to produce stick-on bio-chips… In the corner is an ad for Forbidden Planet T-shirts, including the one which appeared on Top of the Pops recently.

Sam Slade, Robo-Hunter: The Slaying of Slade Part 18 by Grant/Grover and Ian Gibson. The penultimate episode sees Stogie contact the Sams and inform them where the tiny robot has been taken. One hire shuttle later and Sam is trying to get in close to the Delleria, Deller’s spaceship / space station. Deller doesn’t buy it and Sam escapes the shuttle before it’s blown up (given time and distraction by Stogie in the Delleria).

Back to the Robo-Machines and competition time as hand-held computer games share space with a spot-the-difference for Bandai toys.

Tharg’s Future-Shocks: ‘Dad’ by Alan Moore and Alan Langford. A simple two-pager as a ‘father’ inside a domed moon unit talks to his ‘son’ outside. The father is the computer controlling the domed living unit while the son (spoiler) is the person who lived their, before getting locked out by the malfunctioning computer and having their spacesuit holed in a meteorite shower. The son is dead, but ‘dad’ doesn’t realise it. It’s kind of a cross between the after-effects of Hal killing astronauts and Kryten continuing to serve the dead members of the crew.

Skizz by Alan Moore and Jim Baikie. Another penultimate episode, and easily the most violent – so much that even Skizz gets in on the act, trying to kill Van Owen in response to Van Owen shooting Cornelius. Shame Skizz hasn’t got a whole lot of experience at being violent, and V.O. manages to deflect the attack with ease, preparing to follow-up shooting Cornelius by targetting the alien. This episode ends with a rare centrespread – unique for Skizz and rare in general. There was that episode of Meltdown Man that had a mid-ep centrespread for the map of Yujeeworld, the episode of ABC Warriors with a one-page Flesh file before the main event but I can’t think of any stories which finished with the centre pages (if I do think of any, I’ll edit this blog post and add them). Oh yes – so the thing which appears on that single panel double-page picture is an alien spaceship descending on Gravelly Hill Interchange (Spaghetti Junction) as Roxy tries to lift up Skizz’s head and Van Owen looms over them, gun that shot Cornelius still at the ready.

It’s been a while since we had a ‘special offer’ and this Super Summer Special Offer is for Casio Watersport Watches £13.95 – I had one of these (or something of very similar design) and didn’t realise they cost so much! The weekly prog cost 20p at the same time.

Judge Dredd: The Weather Man Part 1 by T.B. Grover and Ron Smith. Weather forecasts in the Mega-City have changed somewhat since the end of the Apocalypse War. If you remember, Weather Control was sabotaged by Block Maniacs as part of the war against the Sovs, and it still hasn’t been re-established city-wide. In the sectors it isn’t active freak weather conditions are abundant and the death toll appears in the corner of the forecast, updated live (so to speak). After a little twister-based humour involving Dredd, it’s time for a classical concert, Mega-city style. After the attendant judges on crowd control deal with a heckler as only judges would, the Weather Symphony starts with a rainbow, then a downpour (which rains down on part of the audience). As the rain turns to hail, causing injury (and deaths?) the judges start to intervene.

Rogue Trooper: Eye of the Traitor Part 3 by Gerry Finley-Day and Cam Kennedy. Other than a little bit about Rogue taking out a few las-nests (Nort dug-outs with two gunners in each) this episode focuses on a test set by Bland and Brass to put the Traitor General through his paces. I’ll say one thing, he might be a traitor, may have gone off on one when he slaughtered everybody at the hospital but he is prepared to get his hands dirty when it comes to fighting.

One last trailer for Sláine before the debut next prog shares a page with ads for bubble gum and the 1984 annuals. Of interest is a timeline of events in the Celtic warriors life, which I’m not sure if we’ll see when they actually appear – so I’ll list them here and link them once I’ve covered them in the daily slog. 7 – saw mother die; 12 – first warp spasm; 15 – secret of the mound; 16 – escaped from the tribe after committing a certain offence; 19 – on his way back.

The last page is taken up with another Weetabix gang advert.

Nemesis the Warlock Book III by Pat Mills and Kevin O’Neill.

Grailpage: it has to be Jim Baikie’s centrespead, hasn’t it? The only thing missing is Loz, who doesn’t appear to be in the crowd. Spaghetti Junction, Roxy, Zhcchz, Van Owen and Cornelius all appear though.

Grailquote: Grant Grover, Sam: “That Deller’s gonna get S-L-A-Y-E-D and S-C-U-M-M-E-D!” Hoagy: “He’s gonna get Hoagied too, huh, Sam?” Sam: “The less said about that, the better!”

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