2000AD Prog 347: Bob & Carol & Ted & Ringo & Judge Dredd “Lishen, judge – you’re not gonna ⁝hic!⁝ believe thish…!”

Ron Smith is back with a second week of Judge Dredd dinosaur covers featuring speech balloons.

Tharg’s Nerve Centre has an earthlet pining for Ace Garp – he’ll be back, but it’s going to be some time.

Judge Dredd: Bob & Carol & Ted & Ringo Pt 2 by T.B. Grover and Ron Smith continues as Granville the keeper robot spring the carnivores out. Ron Smith does his usual Dredd profile to start the episode off, but also provides a handy line-up of the real stars (though Granville’s name isn’t in the title but still appears). Granville lets the dinos out and there’s a great panel where the tiny robot is showing them the map and they’re (obviously) showing no interest or understanding whatsoever). The robot navigates them through quiet back streets, though four dinosaurs make things considerably less quiet. This unfortunately leads to a couple in an apartment looking at what’s passing, and Bob is very naughty. Meanwhile Dredd is hitching up a drunk on a holding post, though connects the report of four dinosaurs and a robot to the dinosaur exhibition. Then looks up the road and sees mangled streetlights and crushed cars and declares a class one emergency. I’m not sure it’s a class one emergency – wasn’t the last one of those when a block was falling down? I wonder how many classes there are? If there’s only two or three classes then I suppose four dinosaurs would be in the same class.

Sláine: Hero’s Blood – 3 by Pat Mills and Mike McMahon. Sláine may be lying on the floor, but we’ve seen him training in a flashback to throw a spear with his toes. And that’s what he does. Once Domnall and his henchmen are out of the way Sláine gives all of the gold to Bran to compensate for being put out of work by the dwarf (much to Ukko’s chagrin, of course). As they continue their journey back to Sláine’s tribe, we get a snapshot of Slough Throt (not named in this episode, but he did get mentioned in The Bull Dance though will only rise to prominence in The Sky Chariots). Sláine, Ukko and the mammoth come across a slaver. He’s on his own and out-numbered five to one so I’m not too clear on why they let him enslave them. The slaver brings news of a shoggey-beast (a werewolf, basically – though we’ll find out it’s not very wolf-like in later episodes) and Ukko exposits about how the drunes are building standing stones (at Carnac and other places) to abuse the earth power and maintain their control of the drune tribes.

Hurtling towards its end, Nemesis the Warlock Book III by Pat Mills and Kevin O’Neill carries on the scene from the last episode, with Sir Evric being carted off. We find out what happened to Brother Gogol, for Evric shares the same fate – to be placed in a motor-pillory and driven through the travel tubes so that Termights can see what happens to those who dally with deviants. Over on Demotika the basilisks have melted down the siege engines to create a huge new statues of their saviour – Nemesis! Torquemada is not massively happy about the failure of the siege and Evric’s betrayal of the Grand Master, but takes some solace in that Sir Hargan is nearly in position to assassinate the wife and child of Nemesis, and so the focus switches to the initial attempt which is quickly thwarted by Chira – though only buying enough time to secrete Thoth in a hiding place and transfer her powers to the homunculus. As Book III begins so it is set to end – as Chira dons her armour and prepares to do battle with Sir Hargan’s terminators.

Tharg’s Future-Shocks: The Plaque! by Alan Hebden and Alan Langford. The Pioneer 10 spacecraft left Earth in the 20th century on a mission to explore Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. As it would then continue on a trajectory out of the solar system it had another purpose, to take a message to any potential intelligent life which may discover it. The story is told form a future viewpoint where they rue the day the plaque was sent out, for it was discovered. I’d like to think that first time I read this I might have guessed the twist. If I’d read it now without knowing the punchline I think I might have had an inkling as a panel showing the famous parts of the plaque (the naked man and woman and a spike chart showing where Sol is in relation to nearby pulsars) has the aliens remark how the senders of the spacecraft “look just like us”. Obviously they’re not going to be commenting (if you’re familiar with the Future-Shock format). The half-page panel shows large spiky aliens terrorising the surface of the planet while regressed humanity live below ground and wear skins.

Adverts now – the first is for Software Index 1984 No 1 – which contains a guide to over 1,000 games to play and over 500 educational programs. So a catalogue?

The Fleetway annuals get an advert next, encouraging children to nag their parents – featured annuals are: 2000AD; Eagle; Battle: Tiger; Roy of the Rovers; Action Man; Action; Score; Judge Dredd; Valiant and Scorcher.

Back to computing and the Mighty Micro Page includes computer art by readers of the Blitzspear and Skizz (portrait with helmet). A variety of games, programs and books are featured, though the most in-depth are for Ant Attack, 100 Programs for the BBC Micro-computer and Games Designer.

Another advert for Grandstand, featuring Munchman and Caveman in the photo.

Rogue Trooper: The Gasbah – Part 5 by Gerry Finley-Day and Cam Kennedy. The pacing is a bit off on this episode – the first page is given over to reiterating what we already know about the situation and it’s only in the second panel of the second page that we get something new – Bagman’s synth sending out a loud warning to the alis of the Gasbah to vacate the area. Obviously incrediably loud synths don’t go un-noticed by the Norts and they return to the cellar to kill Rogue. Lucky for him the ‘Brutal’ aliens don’t take kindly to being given orders and wanted to know the reason why. Another alien who we met previously (but I didn’t metion) has lots of long arms and offers to set off the seal-burster in the mist of millions of oxybottles. I’m not convinced it would survive, but it seems to think it’ll only lose an arm, which it can regrow. I like how it ends as the exploding oxybottles shift the thick chem clouds, cleaning up the Gasbah and, in return for saving the Southers, the alis are promised equal status within the city of Kyro. I like it, but it’s been a bit clunkily told. As I say, the pacing is off – if that expository page at the beginning wasn’t there it’d have a bit more space to show alis and humans befriending each other before the aliens were given equal rights.

Competition Results Service – and the first results are for the Mattel Electrolympic Championships. The winner was a reader of Roy of the Rovers. Other competitions are Return of the Jedi in Prog 320 and Bandai in Prog 329. The page also has a teeny advert for the Eagle Comics Judge Dredd reprint, picturing the Brian Bolland cover to No 4: Father Earth.

Another colour advert for Krull, though this one uses about a third of the space to list the cinemas it’s going to be showing at. I don’t think I saw this film at the cinema, but I have been to a few of the cinemas on the list (probably closed or replaced by more modern multiplexes in the intervening decades): Colchester Odeon; Hanley Odeon; Holloway Odeon;

Grailpage: I was tempted by Cam Kennedy’s page showing the polyptych of the alien about to drop the seal burster, but instead I’m going for Kevin O’Neill’s page of Nemesis’ last moments on Demotika as Torqua-Armada’s head is melted down to make the statue and the focus switches to the volcanoes of Gandarva with Chira, Thoth and Sir Hargan.

Grailquote: TB Grover, Granville: “Carol! Stop that at once! Ted is not for eating!” Pat Mills, Sláine: “You cheeky dwarf! You’ve got a lot of nerve. I think that’s why I put up with you.” A rare example of camaraderie from Sláine towards Ukko there!

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