2000AD Prog 411: Sláine is back in Time Killer!

Glenn Fabry makes his debut proper (other than those thrills of the future style panels run as trailers) in this cover, showing the warped warrior giving a very Bill Savage-like leer as he wields… a gun?

The Thargnote in the Nerve Centre has the mighty one extol the virtues of Glenn Fabry (this prog) and David Pugh (coming up) as they get to work on the Celtic barbarian. An earthlet requests the opportunity to fill in some gaps in their collection. I presume they haven’t read any of the Nerve Centres where Tharg has said (as he says this time) that the droids don’t offer a back-prog service, and then lists seventeen comic shops around the UK who might be able to help out. Of those, the ones I went to were Nostalgia & Comics; Forever People; Globe Fantasy and Fantasy World. This may well have encouraged me to nag my parents to take me to Fantasy World, where I got the majority of my back progs, at least in the early days.

The Ballad of Halo Jones Book Two 6: Memories are Made of This… by Alan Moore and Ian Gibson. I think last prog’s Rat King episode was four months out from Earth, this episode takes place eight months out. Things change with this prog with one of the big twists in 2000AD history. But first the off again, off again (you read that right) romance between Halo and Mix Ninegold, cyberneticist. After eight months of telling Mix her given name, Mix still keeps calling her Mz Jones. Give it up, Halo! She hints how lonely she is, away from all her friends on the Hoop, so he hands over Toby’s audio-memory tapes so she can listen to her old friend’s voices. Note – there’s a party on tonight, he could have invited her to it. As Toy showers to get ready for the party she reveals that even Toby has stood up Halo (the robo-dog is on patrol duty tonight). While on patrol, Toby finds out that Mix has given the tapes to Halo and is surprisingly agitated about the fact… If you don’t know why Toby is agitated I recommend you find a copy of The Ballad of Halo Jones Books One and Two and tread them, by the way, because spoilers are coming up in the next few sentences. Speaking of Book One, the audio tapes contain a recording of the events from when Halo and Rodice went up top, leaving Toby to run through the Hoop. But he doesn’t just run through the Hoop. He drops by at the home habitat. Where Brinna is. Between them Gibson and Moore convey a whole load of emotions from Halo as she listens. Happiness as she remembers the zenade incident. Confusion when she hears Brinna’s voice. Shock when she realises that Toby was the one who murdered Brinna. And finally fear as Toby enters, in the present.

Sláine – The Saga so Far… Not a glossary this time but a recap of what we’ve seen so far., re-introducing most of the things which will be important in the following story (I’m not sure that Slough Feg, Medb and the Fomorians will feature much though, if at all).

Sláine: Time Killer – by Pat Mills and Glenn Fabry starts with a flashback – which we’ve seen in one of the full-page previews in the last few progs. Cythrons are a demonic alien race who have been imprisoned on a planet they call Cythrawl, but which we call Earth. They appear in the guise of The Shining Ones to early humanity, who worship them, naked (I mention this as nudity has appeared in both stories so far this prog). Three of those cythrons are in the process of attacking Dinas Emrys, the fortress of the Ever-Living Ones, along with the Diluvials, ancient root races of humanity brought from another time, with exo-skeletons and horns which liquidise people and mountains. In case you hadn’t noticed, this represents quite a tonal shift since the first run of Sláine which started with The Time Monster and ended with Dragon Heist. Sláine, Nest and Ukko stumble in to the midst of a fight and scavenge weapons from a fallen war dragon’s crew, foremost of them a leyser-gun (an Earth powered laser blaster) which we’re told that Sláine knows how to use because it was one of the secrets taught in the Red Branch (but they’re forbidden weapons which is why we haven’t seen them before). Nest also knows how to use them, because she didn’t just learn poetry at college. Faced with the onslaught from Sláine the Diluvials bow before him, beholden to his brute force, but – time for a cliffhanger – the deposed leader blows the melty -horn with his dying breaths and starts to liquefy Sláine!

Editorial page! Reservation coupons, the Titan Books reprint of Robo-Hunter Book Four (the second half of the God-Droid story featuring an Ian Gibson cover) and a preview of next prog’s Monsteroso story by Robin Smith before this week’s Dredd tale.

Judge Dredd: The Hunters Club by T.B. Grover and Ron Smith. Yep, Ron’s back on the story he handled the first episodes of. I think this is part five but it’s not numbered and I’ve lost count. The arrestee doesn’t help, but a recording of one of the threats has Chip mention Bub’s name, which is confirmed by Chip’s widow (Dredd ‘comforts’ her while other judges turn over the apartment looking for clues). They don’t find any but do find some sugar – and arrest her, of course! By the time she’s being dragged out of the block to serve her sentenceDredd has consulted his bike computer and narrowed down the name Bub to five possible suspects. Just in time to show her the pics and positively identify Bub. She tries to get off the charge by (truthfully) telling Dredd that the sugar was Chip’s , not hers. Dredd re-arrests her for perjury this time. That’s the way to treat bereaved widows (no leniency for helping the judges with their enquiries). They don’t arrest Bub, instead they put him under surveillance. Everything seems to be going swimmingly but the Hunters Club are one step ahead. They consider the failure of today’s hunt to be a threat to the existence of the club and nominate Bub as the latest victim of the Hunters Club – but there’s no chase with this one – he gets blown up twenty seconds later. So much for the judges best lead. Dredd is consolded that they’ll get them one day “We always do!” As I write this that day is coming for the Space Spinner podcast as Conrad and Fox enter 1991.

Rogue Trooper: Antigen of Horst – Part 2 by Gerry Finley-Day and Jose Ortiz. This isn’t titled or numbered so I’ll quite with the part numbers after this episode. The boys find out two things – the Nort bat aliens require a headshot to kill them and the Southers on Horst are ant-aliens. The chips aren’t keen on helping out the ants, but Rogue is going toe rescue of any Souther, human or alien. As Bagman provides long-range audio translation they find out that there’s a human leader – and even the chips should (should!) recognise that a human elder is their best hope of finding out where the antigen is.

The Hell Trekkers by F Martin Candor and Horacio Lalia. The unsurprising conclusion of last prog’s cliffhanger goes through the motions of showing us the deaths we’d already been told about before the two parts of the helltrek reunite, just in time for Rudd to lead the radwagons through the pass. As it’s late the others get to have a sleep, leaving the radwagons controls on automatic. But not everybody is asleep as the remaining Nebbs take their revenge. They do so by having a Nebb play dead in the path of the trek and as Rudd leaves the cabin to investigate Judas Nebb sticks him with a dagger.

I’d thought that I’d stopped getting Eagle by this point, but the inside back cover has an advert for Eagle and Tiger – which I’m sure I bought. Though I don’t remember all of the stories listed I know what Robo Machines are but don’t remember ever reading a comic about them, and I have no idea what Golden Boy is.

Eric Bradbury provides the back cover showing us Greetings from London – replacing the statue of Nelson in Trafalgar Square with Tharg, Anteros (commonly known as Eros) in Picadilly Circus with Tharg and the clock face of St Stephens Tower on the Houses of Parliament with – you guessed it.

Grailpage: Glenn Fabry gets it with his very first comic page in 2000AD. Cythrons, time drills and prehistoric humans all feature.

Grailquote: Alan Moore, Toy Molto: “Anyway, Toby’s on patrol duty tonight. I heard them say so.” Halo Jones: “Slappy! Stood up by a dog!”

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