2000AD Prog 363: Strontium Dog Their name is Stix… they have MURDER in mind!

Strontium Dog is back. Carlos is back on the cover. And Stix are also back (good trick as the only one we knew about was killed in the story which introduced him).

Tharg’s Nerve Centre is much reduced due to an advert for Scream! No 3 (still interested in that the date is “Monday 2nd April, or even earlier” – I gather delivery times were a bit unpredictable but this is the only comic I’ve seen which acknowledges it in the ads). After a few weeks of Time Twisters and Future-Shocks it’s time for Strontium Dog and D.R & Quinch to return.

Sláine: Dragon Heist – 5 by Pat Mills and Massimo Belardinelli. We had a bit of biology last prog, this time we get a bit on economy (in relation to dragons) as Nest of the Freckled Face, Sláine and Ukko arrive at her family farm. Cador’s also on the coach, but bids farewell as it continues on its way (we’ll see him again in a year or two). We meet Nest’s uncle, Crug of the Brawny Arm, said arm being used to strike Nest to show her who’s master (paraphrasing what he says later on). It’s her farm – once she’s twenty-one. Though he also later says “you might have a tragic accident… like your poor father” – so he definitely killed the father and will kill her before she can take control of the farm. Sláine and Ukko get to work on the farm, winning Crug’s confidence. Nest reads a poem given to her by the druids, also known as the ever-living ones – a poem from a future time, about Cyndylan, Prince of Powys. Crug is not impressed. Once he’s fallen in to a drunken sleep and Nest has retired for the night, Sláine and Ukko prepare to steal the Knucker, the bull dragon of the farm.

The adverts are thick and fast this prog as we get Action Man Sticker Collection, Judge Dredd Monthly (from Eagle Comics, now on to the last episodes of The Cursed Earth, judging by the Bolland cover), Stamp Quiz (of course), Spaceline again, the Westminster Comic Mart and a tiny panel of D.R. & Quinch telling us that they’re back, which is rather superfluous as the facing page has…

D.R. & Quinch Go To Hollywood Prologue by Alan Moore and Alan Davis. As this story is about a place renowned for making stories, it starts with a story before the story (also known as a prologue). At an omnibus depot (bus station) the pair meet a down-and-out who relates his life story – he used to be a screenwriter in Hollywood… until he developed writers block! In the cut-throat world of show-business, T.J. is out – though the studio head does give him a couple of tickets back to Hollywood in case he ever comes up with another idea in his lifetime. Obviously there are two tickets so that both D.R. and Quinch will later be able to use them, though there’s no other reason for their to be two. T.J. has come up with another idea. He has the script right here. He also still has those two tickets in his pocket. Shame he has a heart attack (or something) at that exact moment and apparently dies… D.R. and Quinch do, of course, rifle the body for the tickets. Time for the, like, story to begin next prog.

Judge Dredd: The Haunting of Sector House 9 – Part 5 by T.B. Grover and Brett Ewins. Dredd, Omar, Patel and whoever the other judge is enter (so I guess that judge will die first). Berger, that’s it. In the basement, hidden behind a false bookshelf, the judges discover Tamerlain lying in a coffin-like device. Omar reveals that it’s a psionic amplifier, capable of magnifying the operator’s psychic powers a thousandfold (though there is a price to pay, which we’ll see). Berger tries to shoot Tamerlain, but Omar shouts that you can’t shoot through a psionic shield, but too late – and now Tamerlain is alerted to their presence. Looks like that’s it for Berger, and next is Patel. Omar tries to resist but Dredd reasons that the amplifier must work on electricity and shoots for the power line, outside the psionic shield. Turns out that they all survived (though Berger’s going to need med treatment). The price of using psionic amplifiers? The life force is drained to feed the psionic body, and now that the power has been switched off Tamerlain’s body crumbles to dust. This is around the time that Alan Moore and a few others would have been heading to the USA and DC, so I do wonder if Berger is named after Karen Berger, who would have been Alan Moore’s editor on Swamp Thing. Or maybe I’m reading too much in to a random judge name.

Strontium Dog: Outlaw Part 1 by Alan Grant and Carlos Ezquerra. Time for some Scottish stereotypes, but it’s from a pair of Scottish creators so falls in to the same camp as exaggerated hispanic characters (usually a friendly dig at Carlos Ezquerra). Och-Eleven is a water world colonised by Scots who live in settlements such as Jock’s Landing. There’s also something about an East Pole (that’s not how poles work) as two brothers approach the settlement. The pair enter the town hall where the annual fish supper is taking place and shoot the celebrants. They ask the survivors if they recognise them and somehow they know that they’re the Stix Brothers – I’m not sure how famous individual S/D agents are – nobody seems to know Johnny and Wulf when they first arrive in a town. Anyway, Stix make it clear that this is the wrong answer and give the names John Alpha and Wulf Sternhammer. A week passes and time for a scene change as we catch up with Alpha and Sternhammer. We’re not the only ones to catch up with them as a fellow S/D agent also finds them. Luckily said S/D agent Pimply Smith is a bit stupid and has a chat with them after they surrender. Why is this stupid? Because he has a termination warrant on them and so not killing them straight away just gives them a second chance. Wulf checks out his warrant meter and sees they are on there, termination only 50,000 creds apiece (well, Johnny is, Wulf’s thumb is covering his bounty but no reason to expect it to be different). Not ones to run and hide, Johnny’s plan is to get to the bottom of this by going to the Doghouse (obviously, Smith doesn’t give them any more problems).

Rogue Trooper: You Only Die Twice – Part 6 by Gerry Finley-Day and Brett Ewins. In addition to telekinesis, E.S.P., immunity to the dreamweavers and better physical prowess, Gunnar reveals another improvement as he chucks out a mind-wave which affects a Nort scout craft and causes its circuits to be scrambled. But where there’s a scout craft there’s an army not far behind and Rogue leads the pair in to a cave nearby to lie low while they pass. The last page has some great pics of the inside of the cave as light reflects off of a pool within, reflecting dappled light on the walls of the cave, Rogue and Gunnar. Gunnar isn’t worried and soon falls asleep while they wait. But then he starts shouting in his sleep, showing evidence of having been brainwashed while in Millicom’s clutches. As soon as he started he falls quiet again. Rogue is in a dilemma – if Gunnar starts up again then he might reveal more of what Millicom’s plan is, but this could reveal their position to the Norts.

Ars Gratia Thargis is a readergraph – page of reader’s artwork – on the back page, which means it’s been coloured in. The theme this time is pictures of Tharg – as a window cleaner, Ian Botham (cricketer for people not fans of sport and/or familiar with 1980s pop culture), the Red Baron and a hologram.

Grailpage: Brett Ewins’ centrepage of Bleeke Mansion as The Haunting of Sector House 9 approaches it’s climax. Also some nice portraits of Psi-Chief Patel (though Brett gets the badge wrong) and the others as they approach the mansion. p.s. Omar’s turban is shown in blue – though that might mean it’s the same colour as his black uniform than actually blue.

Grailquote: Alan Moore, Torquetto Jubbli: “They used to call me Mr. Torquetto Jubbli in those days…” D.R.: “That’s really strange, man.” Torquetto Jubbli: “Well, no…. y’see, that’s my name.”

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2 thoughts on “2000AD Prog 363: Strontium Dog Their name is Stix… they have MURDER in mind!

  1. “Cador’s also on the coach, but bids farewell as it continues on its way (we’ll see him again in a year or two).”

    Surely they see him (I know what happens next time they see him, but I won’t spoil it for the readers) sooner, because how much time did Slaine & Ukko spend on farm. I thought it was only a few weeks or a month.


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