2000AD Prog 338: “Good evening, citizens…” “CRIME SWOOP!”

I was surprised last prog that the Crime Swoop only comprised Dredd and Hershey kicking down an apartment door and yelling “Crime Swoop!” – the reason for this is that the the real swoop happens this prog, as you can tell from Ron Smith’s cover. The Mega-Times cover reveals that this story takes place in October 2105.

Tharg’s Nerve Centre has news of un-named droids heading to the McLellan Galleries in Glasgow for a signing. An earthlet says they read other comics (namely Spike and Eagle) to which the Mighty One diagnoses mild thrill-sucker infestation and to read ten back progs. I think I got Spike soon after this time – mainly children’s cartoony comics with a single two-page sci-fi strip each issue.

Judge Dredd: The Graveyard Shift – Part 4 by T.B. Grover and Ron Smith. While Hershey and Dredd are crime swooping the block war between St Clair and Monroe goes up a level as St Clair Block citi-def heads in to the Undercity. The non-muties, non-troggies are referred to as Undercity dwellers here, so in lieu of anything else I’ll try to remember to call them ‘dwellers’ from now on. Ron Smith doesn’t draw the vistas we got of the Undercity from Cry of the Werewolf, but we instead get some very solid looking foundations of Monroe Block (as citi-def plant some explosive charges). While they’re down there the judges turn up in force and the St Clair blocker with the detonator decides they don’t have time to allow citi-def to get clear and sets off the bombs. Monroe Block is coming down – “Next prog: Blockfall!”

Sláine: The Bride of Crom – 3 by Pat Mills and Massimo Belardinelli. Sláine and Ukko are still spying on the drunesses in the reclusium at Drunemeton, before Ukko falls from their vantage point, alerting the drunesses to their presence. After a fight where the skull-swords do not fare well, one of the drunesses manages to stab Sláine with a poisoned stiletto (or whatever the iron age equivalent of a rondel dagger or misericorde is). When Sláine recovers he finds himself and Ukko tied down on tables, ready to receive the blood eagle. The depiction in Sláine seems to be drawing an eagle on the back (using a knife, naturally). In the ‘real world’ the possibly apocryphal practice was a bit more involved and (if it happened at all) comprised detaching ribs from the spine and pulling out the lungs through the back (creating the wings of the blood eagle). In Sláine it gets interrupted as a skull-sword requests the two captees be taken to the wickerman to replace two thieves who died from terror. Unless I missed a previous appearance, this is the Massimo cameo as the Roman artist’s familiar visage looks out from the wickerman. I should mention Tom Frame’s word balloons on Sláine have slightly angular borders, giving the strip a different feel to all the sci-fi in other stories.

Nemesis the Warlock Book III by Pat Mills and Kevin O’Neill. Nemesis leaves Gandarva, saying goodbye to Chira for the last time (not that he knows it, but she does) and Magna makes her move, contacting the Terminators and Tomas de Torquemada makes his first appearance as he tasks Sir Hargan with an important quest (Terminators don’t get assigned missions, they get given quests – remember that if you ever create scenarios for Warhammer 40K – wargame or roleplaying). On the way to specifying what the mission quest actually is, Torque takes Hargan through the Scriptorium where scribes and illuminators create bestiaries. This includes the infamous panel where Torque castigates Brother Kevin for spending too long on the illuminated borders, which explains why there was so long between Nemesis Book I and Nemesis Book III (and why Jesus Redondo had to fill in on Nemesis Book II). This isn’t the first time we’ve been to the Scriptorium and this time we get to see Torque’s private bestiary, featuring the female warlock and her homunculus – Hargan’s target.

Strontium Dog: The Moses Incident Part 4 by Alan Grant and Carlos Ezquerra. Wulf tries to appeal to Johnny’s sense but to no avail – while the mutant bounty hunter is digging up a dead child’s grave at night. Johnny threatens to kill Wulf if the viking tries to stop him (not that we knew Wulf was a literal viking at this point) though eventually joins him as he “cannot let him go alone” to the Island of the Living Dead. Before the pair have left the planet, the empty grave is discovered by the mother of Moses Quest, leading to another bad decision – hijacking the ship out of Nomi’s World. Two days later they arrive at the Island of the Living Dead – though possibly that’s the name of the planetoid the island is on – which itself is in the outer corona of a dying red giant star.

Next up is an advert page, featuring a panoply of African stereotypes. Arab guide – check. African warlord – check. Skin-wearing tribe members – check. It’s for a game called The Race Through Africa, we’ve seen it in the prog before.

The last part of the Atari competition sees the all-important scrambled message: “RAWBEE FO GARAX TELFE NI CAKTAT RANTOOFIM HINDEAG ORYU AWY” – can’t figure out the first word, but the rest is “of Xagar fleet in attack formation heading your way”. Worked it out – “Beware”. If you’re wondering how on earth I got Xagar from Garax – it was in the explanatory text.

Rogue Trooper: From Hell to Eternity – Part 4 by Gerry Finley-Day and Brett Ewins. Rogue gives Helm to Venus for protection, though she tosses him away in a fit of anger – and also lets something slip… The other biochips get distributed so that Rogue can place some jellyfish explosives (like rubber ducks in the bath), Gunnar can take out a landing squad on the beach while Bagman can scatter micro-mines from where the backpack is hanging on a branch. The first wave of Norts defeated, Rogue rejoins Venus and Helm has pieced things together (now he’s no longer blinded by unrequited love). Venus murdered other survivors of the crash – and Venus proudly admits it.

The thrills are over, now it’s time for adverts – School Fun No 1 is being launched – you can probably guess the theme of this comic, led by a Grange Hill strip, and backed up with Schoolditz – looks like children escaping from a Nazi concentration camp? That’s not going to be problematic at all! Looks more like Bash Street Kids than Wagner’s Walk, from the snips on this blog. Other adverts are for the next prog, the Westminster Central Hall comic mart and comic binders.

Over the pages is another ad – this time for LCD games from Grandstand – Pocket Pac-Man (based on but not the same as classic Pac-Man) and Pocket Scramble (search me).

Grailpage: Massimo Belardinelli’s iconic first look at the wickeman, both from afar and closer up though I also like the last page of this week’s Rogue Trooper episode – the left hand column of frames has Ewins’ trademark picture followed by zooming in photocopies of the picture, cuts to an establishing shot of the lagoon then a full-length pic of Venus among the vines and undergrowth of Caliban Island as she responds to Helm’s accusation of killing other survivors (there’s also a bio-chip portrait of Helm – completing all you need in a Brett Ewins Rogue page).

Grailquote: Pat Mills, druness: “What’s he doing on the roof?” second druness: “Well he’s not repairing it, dear… but he’ll need repairing!” and Alan Grant (and John Wagner, uncredited), Wulf Sternhammer: “Der Island of der Living Dead – PAH! I vas thinking of going there for der holiday anyvay! Besides, I do not vant to be here ven der townsfolk discover der grave is empty!”

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8 thoughts on “2000AD Prog 338: “Good evening, citizens…” “CRIME SWOOP!”

  1. Regarding Slaine, Bloodeagles, have you ever watch that Vikings Series. They practice it as well. As for finding a visage of Massimo Bellardinelli staring out from the Wickerman. I’ll have keep a eye out for that one.

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    1. I’ve not watched Vikings yet – I think there’s about four or five series out now, so it’s a big commitment to make when there’s so many other things I want to finish first!

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    1. That’s him! He’s appeared an episode or two later as well (but forgot to call it out when I was writing the blog post – though it’s not published yet so maybe I can find it and add before it goes live).

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