2000AD Prog 417: Alpha: Back on the Trail! In the Badlands of Burrito the Big Bust is Go! “Oot o’ the way there! Stronty Dug comin’ through!”

Gotta love a wraparound cover and if the cover in question is drawn by Carlos Ezquerra, so much the better!

Tharg’s Nerve Centre contains a letter from an earthlet who has listened carefully to the Mutants in Mega-City One record and found that some of the lyrics listed on the cover aren’t contained in the song. Though Tharg points out that the earthlet didn’t listen quite carefully enough, because they are. Another earthlet reveals that they saw New Order and that Peter Hook (on bass) was wearing a Dredd T-shirt. The earthlet spoke to one of the roadies and was told that the bassist reads 2000AD all the time. I had a look online to see if there were any pictures of Hook wearing the T-shirt and found one picture. Which was on Barney, which is my first point of call for 2000AD-related info anyway. Meanwhile, The Bluebells (or somebody at their record company) nicked a pic of Judge Anderson by Brian Bolland to promote their single All I am is Loving You. Finally it looks like a few comic shop owners noticed the listings of comic shops in Prog 401 (which I didn’t mention when I covered that prog), as there are two more (Alchemist’s Head in Dublin and Odyssey 7 in Manchester), neither of which I’ve been to – though I remember the latter for the eye-catching Rodney Matthews Elric advert they used to use.

Anderson Psi Division: Revenge Part 2 by Grant/Grover and Brett Ewins (but it’s not titled or numbered as originally run, so I’m going to ditch the part numbers from the next prog). Anderson sees an apparition of Judge Death, and points this out. Death admits this before fading but has planted the seed of doubt in Anderson’s head that the superfiend is back. The apparition showed Death murdering a celebrity who lives in Chuck Windsor Luxy Block. As I’ve mentioned a few times, after completing a few batch of progs in this blog I listen to the corresponding Space Spinner 2000 podcast episode. As Conrad usually does some excellent work on picking out the references used in citiblock names I wonder if he’ll have worked out that ‘Chuck Windsor’ is Prince Charles? I’ll find out after I’ve covered Prog 418. She zooms over to the Luxy Block and finds the celeb being stretchered out. Doing the latent psychic readings trick she sees the same events as shown in the apparition and heads over to the Black Museum to use one of the dimension jumps therein to check out Deadworld. She doesn’t tell anybody before she leaves… This was the first I saw of the Black Museum and the contents thereof, including Judge Cal (well, his brain), a portrait of Kazan, a Klegg and a dinosaur as well as the DJs themselves.

Week 2 of Tharg’s zarjaz compu-tition! is for those Valiant Robo-Turtles and a commodore 64. It consists of five more instructions which can be used to guide the turtle around the lettered grid printed last prog. I may or may not dig out these pages when the last lot is printed and work out what the message is. Of more immediate interest is the advert on the bottom half of this page. It’s for Eagle Picture Library, a comic I’ve never heard of (or at least completely forgot about). It costs 30p (the prog of the time is 24p) and has two 64-page issues coming out monthly. Ring any bells? Yep, it looks like IPC’s answer to DC Thompson’s Starblazer. The first two (I’m presuming the series is new) are the distinctly uninspiring Talisman of Doom and Murder in Space.

Sláine: Time Killer by Pat Mills and Glenn Fabry David Pugh. Sláine is tumbling through time while (in another time) Elfric is summoning demons “in the clicking tongue of the els”. The demons in question are formed from Elfric’s mind and have to feed on flesh to maintain their bio-form, hence the Battle of Clontarf. As a sometime-GM I’m interested in world-building, so I’m just going to note some interesting bits – the time worms have been leaving droppings containing time-energy which have been formed by hu-men in to mounds and shielded with quartz to retain their power. Around this exposition is a re-run of what appeared in the Massimo story in the 1985 Annual. Nest suggests using Sláine’s thumbprint from a sword he used to help the ever-living ones guide Sláine to the battle (meanwhile Myrddin tasks Cador with finding the traitor). Battle time and Sláine appears in Murdach’s body, looking very Jack Nicholson from The Shining. There’s some big pics of the warped warrior (and he does warp) fighting his way towards Elfric. I’d thought that one of these might be a strong contender for grailpage but I suspect the page I’m thinking of will be next prog instead (it’ll all depend on what other pages also appear next prog).

The last page before the centrespread is traditionally filled up with adverts and features – this one has reservation coupons, the Eagle Comics / Forbidden Planet ad for Judge Dredd No 20 (Brian Bolland, sov bombs falling) and 2000AD Monthly (also Bolland, this time from The Shicklegruber Grab). I said earlier that my first view of Kazan was in the Black Museum, but as I bought this Dredd reprint when it came out I may have already been familiar (just). By the end of the run of the Apoc War I was also getting the original progs the story being reprinted in, so I must have been filling in my post-Prog 300 gaps for some time already. The last corner is a panel from…

Judge Dredd: Sunday Night Fever by T.B. Grover and Cam Kennedy. Quick version: Unemployed person (the vast majority of mega-citizens also being unemployed) accidentally kills somebody in a bar who she believes to have taken a job she applied for. News gets around that there’s now a job going at the gas plant and in a city with hundreds of millions of unemployed it doesn’t take long for a job riot to form. When they rioters find out there’s no job they start smashing up the gas plant – including pipes containing rodentine sewer gas – immediately skeletonifying the rioters. Slightly longer version: the opening page opens with the resolution of one of the +Item+s from the previous prog (the two people in rhino suits get taken off to the psycho cubes), Cam gets to stretch his citiblock-drawing muscles, not to mention getting in some ugly mega-citizens practice and we get introduced to the rodentine sewer gas. Oh, and Dredd discovers the mega-citizen that was ‘killed’ at the bar is still alive. You just know they’re going to recover and that the ‘murderer’ is going to be charged with the murders of however-many others die instead (I know the number was mentioned last prog, but that ws last prog – I’m on this prog now).

Rogue Trooper: Antigen of Horst by Gerry Finley-Day and Jose Ortiz. In Horst’s Crater Sea, the boys encounter aquatic xenomorph-like creatures. They’ve got bullet-proof shells (but also soft spots underneath), claws holding blasters and suicide nuclear devices. They also destroy Rogue’s craft forcing him to swim for a rocky outcrop where they approach from all sides. The only way I can imagine they get out of this is by more allies turning up to rescue them. Let’s see next prog…

Strontium Dog: Big Bust of 49 – Part 2 by Alan Grant and Carlos Ezquerra. Middenface opens up the episode with a mobile Barlinnie (Barlinnie Prison being a place of incarceration last seen in Invasion when Bill Savage went North of the border) – basically a tractor pulling a barred trailer (complete with refrigerated compartment – good for both food for the prisoners and any dead bounties). There’s a nice equipment check. Johnny has primed blasters, 3 time bombs, 2 time traps, 1 life wire (don’t remember what this does) and an electro-nux. Wulf has der happy stick. We find out who the bad guys are (Darkus and the Howlers who I’m presuming are a reference to campaigner, author and broadcaster Darcus Howe) and after a few brief pages where it looks like it’s going to be like The Killing we find out that Johnny Alpha has a tip that a criminal with a huge bounty is hiding out on the planet.

Brett Ewins’ artwork adorns the next prog box above an advert for Roy of the Rovers on the inside back cover (the outside back cover being the other half of the wraparound cover).

Grailpage: for the second prog running, Cam’s centrespread wins as this one has two perps (are they still perps if they’re desinted for the psycho cubes?) dressed as rhinos and an establishing shot of the Slug & Gristle bar nestled at the base of a citiblock.

Grailquote: Gerry Finley-Day, Bagman: “We should’ve guessed – the oldest military strategy in the manual…” (as they’re being attacked on all sides by crustacean aliens) Helm, Gunnar and Bagman: “Classic pincer movement!” Groan – an old military strategy and an old joke to accompany it!

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3 thoughts on “2000AD Prog 417: Alpha: Back on the Trail! In the Badlands of Burrito the Big Bust is Go! “Oot o’ the way there! Stronty Dug comin’ through!”

  1. I have all the books they made for the Slaine RPG, but never played it myself either. I also have the core rule book for the Judge Dredd RPG, and the games workshop version as well. Lots of interesting material in the game workshop version.

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