2000AD Prog 357: 100 Judge Dredd games to be won – this prog! Invasion of the berserks! Sláine

Cam Kennedy is back on Sláine – Sky Chariots cover duty as he depicts a one-on-one fight between Sláine and a Norseman berserker.

Tharg’s Nerve Centre shares space between two pieces of reader’s art, two letters, the voting coupon, an obligatory stamp advert and the Titan / Forbidden Planet advert for Judge Child Book Three.

Sláine: Sky Chariots – by Pat Mills and Mike McMahon. With a skyblade (Norsemen flying ship) attempting to ram them again, Sláine convinces a merchant to unleash his cargo of half-dead on them by smashing their cage into the deck of the skyblade. Oh, wait – the other thing – Sláine threatens to punch the merchant in the face if he doesn’t stop objecting to the half-dead being used for one last fight to save them all. There’s a fantastic full page panel where the remaining Norse ship has swept alongside the fighters from each ship clash. Loving the pictures in this episode. In addition to the expect fighting scenes there’s the odd long shot of the ships as they fly over and through the landscape, passing conifers, clouds and seagulls. By the end the drunes confer and decide to carry out an action before Sláine can stop them (I’ve read this before so I’m not going to claim any great insight but I reckon it’s going to be a human sacrifice to power up a spell).

The Weetabix gang are back for the WeetOlympix (in the year of the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, if memory serves).

D.R. & Quinch Get Drafted Part 3 by Alan Moore and Alan Davis. Reuniting with Pulger, they get exposed to the plan that the veteran of the previous Ghoyogian Slime Jungle War has come up with. It involves an escape tunnel (which would work fine on its own) but also incorporates the tall, muscular Horatio Pulger wearing a revealing dress, a gun-shaped pieces of soap and a soap-shaped piece of plastic explosive. Pulger has a convoluted and unworkable plan involving these elements which D.R. manages to convince him out of and the three use the tunnel to escape (as you’d have expected). The tunnel itself turns out to be pretty expansive and upon questioning Pulger reveals the tunnel was actually dug by snufflegruffs which (Pulger says) are tiny burrowing animals. Think rabbits. Tiny, cuddly, loveable-sounding rabbits. In reality the snufflegruff is a large creature which could swallow all three of them in one bite… Pulger holds off the snufflegruff while D.R. and Quinch run for it. Espying a stone slab above them, they head upwards, coming out in another cell and (like the previous episode) another familiar face – Chrysoprasia – or will it still be Crazy Chryssie? We’ll find out next prog, and also whether she’s going to be upset at him, for abandoning at the theatre. p.s. most comic lettering is in upper case – this ends in a rare case of lower case comic lettering as “Waldo” and “Chrysoprasia” greet each other in low voices.

Astute readers will have noticed there are 100 Judge Dredd games to win this prog. Is this the premier of a 2000AD computer game? Nope, it’s the Games Workshop board game with a pitifully easy quiz to enter (match up six pictures of JD opponents to their names – and they’re nearly in the same order already).

Judge Dredd: Citizen Snork Part 2: The Making of a Nose by T.B. Grover and Ron Smith. The first page and a half is a recap of the previous episode, seguing in to the continued growth of Snork’s nose. Once he gets the Mega-record for largest nose, fame and fortune await as well as the inevitable mega-city craze. Though one one vid show he gets an unpleasant surprise launched upon him – another big-nosed mega-citizen who has been growing his nose in secret. Their noses are measured and it turns out newcomer Herbivore Bung’s nose is just slightly smaller (and lighter) than Snork’s. After the show Snork confronts Bung (who it has to be said looks like Jack Nicholson, just with a big nose) but then the lights go out, a window breaks and a nose is sliced off. As the nose is Bung’s, Dredd naturally turns on Snork with some heavy questioning to which Snork weakly protests: “B-But I’m innocent! H-H-Honest!” (in lower case – second time this prog). After eliminating Snork from enquiries the judges determine that the likely suspect is The Collector, a serial perp responsible for the multiple disappearances and dismemberments of ‘human oddities’. In the darkness and confusion the Collector accidentally took Bung’s second-best nose rather than Snork’s – but Snork’s relief is short-lived as Dredd points out that the Collector won’t settle for second best and will be back for Snork’s nose.

Strontium Dog: The Killing Part 8 by Alan Grant and Carlos Ezquerra. The walls and floors of the temple are too thick for Johnny’s alpha vision, leaving them ascending the stairs as Steelkreeg lets loose with a flamethrower. Now his presence there is confirmed, Alpha takes a pot-shot (sorry, ‘estimates his position’) and manages to use a number three cartridge (like a thermic lance in this story – it was more like the generic Lawgiver incendiary in previous stories), causing Steelkreeg’s firepak to explode. Damaged, the robot hops off beyond its secondary weapon – a mine set in to one of the steps. Alpha just notices it in time and decides to use a different tactic to take out the robot. Hiding in the bell tower, the robot is taken out when Alpha sets off the huge chime. Now it’s all between Wulf and Alpha and one other gang, the Osmongs…

Tharg’s Time Twisters (though not under that banner): The Great Infinity Inc. Foul-Up Part 2 by Jack Adrian and Jesus Redondo. Remember those time-tourists who visited locations of disasters, way back in Prog 32? They were in Pompeii when the volcano erupted. Max Megadoom’s band also visited the city. This time we find out why it erupted – it was due to Jimmy Jiss-Cohen throwing an anti-personnel thermo-grenade into the volcano. As with the first episode of this two-parter, the last page of this story gets the full-colour back cover treatment – so by the time that Jimmy has destroyed Rome as well as Pompeii the frustrated tour guide throws him in to the colourful (well, yellow) time streams. It’s only after they return to their present and hear the blurb for another time tour that they realise they’ve unleashed Genghiz Khan upon the world (Jimmy Jiss Cohen, geddit?)

Grailpage: Yet again, this prog’s Sláine opens with a fantastic splash page, mixing up flying longboats with the local wildlife, in this case Mike McMahon is showing an eagle bringing its eaglets a fish in the eyrie.

Grailquote: There’s been quite a bit of silent fighting in Sláine (and Nemesis) to date, but we get a Pat Mills special in this episode as the combatants hurl insults at each other between blows. I’m paraphrasing here, Thorgrim Ironjaw: “You fight well enough to be my son! Join us! Let’s share the plunder together!” Sláine Mac Roth: “My parentage is none of your concern…! It was not an old goat like you that sired me!” Thorgrim: “I meant my offer well, but you took it ill! So be it… whoever our father is, he loses his son, today!”

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