2000AD Prog 353: Simply light years ahead! Judge Dredd vs. Captain Strange and his Weird Boys! “Drokk! Firebomb!”

2000AD Prog 353 cover, art by Steve Dillon

Steve Dillon’s first cover since Cry of the Werewolf is also depicting a scene from the Dredd story within.

Tharg’s Nerve Centre brings news that a cat at Bristol Polytechnic is now a squaxx (along with seven students).

Sláine: Sky Chariots Part 2 by Pat Mills and Mike McMahon. Throt (says he) suspects the boy has been eating Time Monster flesh, disbelieving that a man (Sláine) came to the village and gave them a hairy one (mammoth) – though Throt is pursuing a man with a mammoth so I’d have thought it wouldn’t be quite so unbelievable. He’s evil so killing people off-hand isn’t beyond the realms of possibility – though I’d have thought he would be intelligent and killing one of the hosts isn’t a good opener considering what’s going to happen in the next few episodes. Anyway, Throt kills the boy, takes him in to the feasting hall, the locals are not best pleased and a fight ensues (though the locals are impoverished so it’s Sláine doing the fighting). Kudos to Ukko for managing to pick up brain-biter and throwing it to Sláine. Not sure I’d have been able to chuck a huge stone axe across a room!

D.R. & Quinch Go Girl Crazy! Part 2 by Alan Moore and Alan Davis. Is it the end of DR & Quinch? Not if Ernest Errol Quinch has anything to do with it. So he kidnaps the girl who’s been taking Waldo D.R. Dobbs away from him, ties her to a chair and makes her watch films of the atrocities that Dobbs has committed (or ‘summer vacation home movies’). Chrysoprasia’s only reaction, a squeaky little “ee-ouk” noise in the back of her throat. At least five films through and she’s broken, so Quinch unties her, having a beer to celebrate a job well done. Though it doesn’t take long for him to see his plan hasn’t quite worked in the way he’d envisaged as she sees that Dobbs must have seen her as “a goody two-flippers” and resolves to make herself into “the kind of woman that my Waldo deserves” starting by snatching Quinch’s beer from him and ordering him to drive. One wardrobe change later and she’s leather jacket and mini-skirted up, Quinch’s vehicle loaded with drinks and the newly-named Crazy Chrissie gets a tattoo. Now time to gatecrash the romantic play that Waldo and Chrysoprasia had been rehearsing for – and this time it’s Quinch who’s lost for words – except for “ee-ouk!”

Rogue Trooper Compu-x-word – it’s a crossword and none of the questions are that difficult though there’s a few which could have had a few answers.

Advert time for Battle Action Force, Eagle and stamps (along with the upside-down answers to the crossword).

Judge Dredd: The Highwaymen by T.B. Grover and Steve Dillon. Where there are mopads there are people who want to rob mopads. In this case Captain Strange and his street pirate crew the Weird Boys. Not a lot to say about this one – Dredd sees them attacking a mo-pad, tells his lawmaster to stay alongside, jumps and deals with the Weird Boys. Captain Strange chucks a fire bomb in Dredd’s direction and tries to escape though misjudges the speed of the mopad and ends up snapping the buckle on his harness and ends up strangling himself, or as the lawmaster puts it: “He’s still hanging around” the traditional end for a highwayman. Entertaining but more straightforward than many stories we’ve been getting lately.

Rogue Trooper: Colonel Kovert – Part 4 by Gerry Finley-Day and Cam Kennedy. It’s been a while since Rogue did his burying himself trick and he fakes his suicide when it looks like he might be overrun. Though he takes off his equipment (i.e. the other chips, comms backpack and those pouch things he has on his legs) and places them in a pile next to the grenade crater-to-be. Once the Norts confiscate the equipment “something stirred below the lunar surface” and Rogue dons the clothing of one of the Nort G.I.s (yep, the Norts took his equipment but left their own dead behind). He catches up with the others and walks in to the base with them, planning to steal a shuttle craft and return to Nu Earth but instead discovers a planned sneak attack under a forthcoming chem-cloud build-up. His identity is discovered (different skin texture, though I think he also has slightly more blue skin as well) and amidst the following fire-fight Kovert finally gets through on the communications backpack. Next prog: Damned Lies! (I assume Kovert is lying about something, but I can’t remember how this ends).

Strontium Dog: The Killing – Part 4 by Alan Grant and Carlos Ezquerra. Pinned down in the trenches of Disembowler’s Square, Johnny uses Alpha vision to identify three clones with a termination warrant on their head. I’m going to give them the benefit of the doubt as they’re clones, and sci-fi clones are often expendable, but there’s another team-up at the end of this episode. But the Killing has to have one victor at the end, so it’s the game plan of at least two groups to kill those in their partnership (we can safely assume that Johnny and Wulf have a plan not to kill each other at the end). Oh, those three clones have poison spikes on their tails, which flows even after death. As Johnny points out, Wulf “should’ve been more careful” and now the two have to go to the nearest medical post, which is where that other team-up comes in as a pair of contestants are holed up in the medical post ready to ambush anybody who comes by. Johnny and Wulf are not the first victims.

More adverts, this time for a football magazine and the next prog.

2000AD Star Pin-Up: Venus Bluegenes by Brett Ewins. I think I was nine years old by this point, but this poster of Venus in her batching suit adorned my wall (before being glued back on to the prog at a later date). I always appreciate depictions of fauna and flora in the background of pictures as it adds that touch of verisimilitude to an image, even if that image is a genetically engineered woman with blue skin, orange hair, a swimsuit and military equipment. I wonder why Venus has orange hair when Rogue’s appears to be blue? Maybe she dyed it with the orange spike-fruit in the background?

Grailpage: tough one this month. There’s a three-panel sequence in D.R. & Quinch were Quinch’s vehicle hurtles towards Chryoprasia, then we see a shadow falling on her and then the splash page of Quinch yanking her away from the ground. I’ll put that in dual grailpage place with a different representation of a female character with Ewins’ iconic portrait of Venus on the back page.

Grailquote: Alan Moore, Chrysoprasia and/or Ernest Errol Quinch: “Ee-ouk!”

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