Cam Kennedy takes us to the moon (of Nu Earth) in this cover though I’m not sure if that’s supposed to be Nu Earth in the background or a different moon? In fact, maybe that moon isn’t actually orbiting Nu Earth itself and is revolving around another planet within sight of the black hole… Anyway, younger me thought I could improve on the writing on the plaque and took out the felt tips (luckily the inner pages escaped my pens).
Tharg’s Nerve Centre reveals that a surge of thrill-power has hit the Judge Dredd data banks (so this prog and the next are going to be reprints).
Strontium Dog: The Killing Part 2 by Alan Grant and Carlos Ezquerra. The Despots of Zed prepare to watch the Killing from the comfort of the auditorium while Johnny Alpha makes his way to the rendezvous point with Wulf (encountering a bounty along the way). Not much more I have to say about that – it would lend itself well to a roleplaying game – not least because the first casualty is to an alien which slithers along the ceiling and drops down on its prey, like certain monsters in Dungeons & Dragons.
Judge Dredd: Mutie the Pig Part 1 by TB Grover and Mike McMahon. If reprints (this one from Prog 34) were valid for grailpages then this opener would be a strong contender as this six year old reprint starts off with a view of a hovering funeral procession making its way through Mega-City One – the funeral for Judge Dredd (first time he ‘died’ I think). Probably my first encounter with Walter and Maria, as well as the late Chief Judge Goodman who – if memory serves, appeared in stories for two years before finally being granted a name (and then being killed in the same story).
Tharg’s Future-Shocks: The Sum of the Parts… by Alan Hebden and Steve Hatton. A USAF pilot is instructed to investigate a UFO and is subject to alien abduction. While in the alien spaceship there’s a narrative which I only realised was supposed to be diegetic when the pilot reacted to an instruction to disassemble the pilot (who has already seen the jet fighter get dismantled). Having studied the jet fighter and the pilot inside and out they’re both reassembled and the pilot returns to base in a not quite correctly reassembled plane (one wing and the jets facing in the wrong direction). The twist is, of course, that the pilot has also been reassembled with the limbs in the wrong places. The twist panel does not play up the body horror angle in any way, even though science known to humanity means that he will be doomed to have his head facing the wrong way on his body for the rest of his days (I’ll be generous and grant that, perhaps, his arm and leg can be switched back to their proper positions. Maybe. Not sure who Hatton is but they only contributed two stories to the galaxy’s greatest, both of which were written by Hebden.
The two mixed-up jet and pilot panels only took up half a page, leaving space for a photo of Bernard Bresslaw as Rell from the film Krull and an ad for Eagle Judge Dredd, now on issue 6.
Rogue Trooper: Colonel Kovert – Part 2 by Gerry Finley-Day and Cam Kennedy, who has now been told this story is intended for the centre pages and thus uses it to great effect to focus on the black hole as Rogue’s shuttle speeds past it. Speaking of which, we get a flashback explaining what Rogue is doing in space – his mission is to investigate Norts on the moon of Torpor (it doesn’t say whether this is the moon that the blue mooners came from, and I don’t remember if the moon was named in that story). This moon is cold and has a thin atmosphere so that even Rogue can feel it (though I get the impression that genetically unmodified humans would have to wear space suits). Beyond the statue which appeared on the front cover of Norts and Southers erected a flag in the name of the old United Earth Rogue spots some life-forms – and like Rogue they’re not wearing suits. Looks like we’re going to meet the Nort response to G.I.s. Well, I know it is, because this was my second reserved prog and I’ve read this story many times…
Sláine: The Shoggey Beast – 3 by Pat Mills and Mike McMahon. Over the six pages of this episode Sláine and the Shoggey fight – still not sure if it was the same one that had its hand cut off, and McMahon’s art is too sketchy to be able to tell. After wishing his foe good hunting in the otherworld, Sláine investigates upstairs and finds the mother of Medrawd, bound to a chair. She explains that Medrawd had touched a weirdstone and turned shoggey and that she’d chain him up to keep him out of trouble, but this time he had chained her up instead. Leaving her to her grief and moving on, we find that Slough Throt (now named) is less than a day behind Sláine. I don’t know what was happening with logistics at the time, but this always seems like a rush job from McMahon between more accomplished pieces (like next prog’s story). Though from what I know of McMahon’s opinions on his own work, he probably completely disagrees with me and likes this more than the surrounding stories!
D.R. & Quinch Go Straight! Part 2 by Alan Moore and Alan Davis. D.R.s plan comes to fruition as Judge Thorkwung is first furious with D.R. and Quinch, then panicked as he finds out that the Mayor has been invited to open Massacre House home for war veterans and then grateful once he finds out that the Mayor is a war veteran himself and looks on the newly militarised suburban neighbourhood as being a noble endeavour, looking after the old warhorses and D.R. pins credits Thorkwung with responsibility for the whole thing. So he erases their crime files and acquits them of all charges. Just before the Ghoyogian peace party arrives, in he midst of fully armed Ghoyogi Slime Jungle War veterans. You can see where this is going… Thorkwung is charged with responsibility for the Massacre House Massacre, Ghoyogi declares war against whatever D.R. and Quinch’s polity is called, Pulger re-enlists and D.R. and Quinch abscond with the remainder of the charity money. I don’t know how, but I somehow missed that D.R. was personally responsible for the war which the pair are going to get drafted in to in a later story.
The back cover has the remainder of Eric Bradbury’s full-length portrait of Tharg the Mighty for the last six months of the year 1984 in the calendar. So that’s Tharg’s legs then. Special occasions noted are Prog 350 (already in the past) the 7th birthday (not in February), Tharg’s birthday (21st of June – I don’t know what significance this actually has) and the release date for this year’s annuals.
Grailpage: Alan Davis’ second page of D.R. & Quinch Go Straight! featuring Thorkwung confronting the eponymous characters in the middle of the military encampment that has been set up next to his house.
Grailquote: Gerry Finley-Day, United Earth: “We came in peace for all mankind and this time, let’s get it right.”