2000AD Prog 420: Sláine: El hath no fury… “Kill the hu-man!” Cosmic competition! Win the Henshin robos!

Glenn Fabry rolls out his trademark warrior women with body paint for the first time on this cover (well, technically they appeared in the last panels of Prog 419’s Sláine story).

Tharg’s Nerve Centre contains news of the upcoming Sci-Fi Special due out on June 8th (this prog has a 1 June 1985 cover date so it’ll come after the next prog). Apparently Ro-Busters makes an appearance. I don’t recall this being an original story, but seem to recall the North Sea Tunnel story got reprinted so I’m going to guess it’s that. Every letter is shamelessly used as an additional chance to plug the same special. A paid advertisement appears in the corner, for the Titan Books reprint of the Starlord Strontium Dog stories.

Anderson Psi Division: Revenge by Grant/Grover and Brett Ewins. As this story didn’t have a title as originally published I generally think of it as being called ‘Revenge’ as that’s the word which featured most prominently in the first episode. ‘The Resurrection’ features prominently on the first page of this episode, so we could treat it as the title of the whole story and everything before this as the pre-title sequence. Also, it could be applied to both the DJs and Anderson (because shockingly she isn’t actually dead). She used a supreme effort of concentration (we’re told) to play possum and convince the DJs that she was dead. They get on with killing crocks until the judges turn up and then they activate their secret weapon – the teleportation devices that they picked up last prog. Meanwhile Anderson has dimension jumped back to the Black Museum and arrives on the scene as McGruder gets an update on the casualties at Ron Reagan Block. Everything’s set!

Tharg’s Future-Shocks: Eggravation! by Pete Milligan and Eric Bradbury. I’d wondered if there was going to be a two-episode story before the return of Rogue Trooper. Nope, we’re going to get filler and we begin with a one-pager. The first panel has somebody eating their third serving of reptile eggs while mentioning the word humanitarian, so I’m going to guess the last panel has reptiles eating humans. Nope, wrong – the consumer says they’re all for saving cute furry creatures, but these reptiles are disgusting so they’re eating as many eggs as they can to get rid of them. Last panel has the consumer turning in to one of the revolting reptiles (they look more amphibious than reptilian to me).

Sláine: Time Killer by Pat Mills and Glenn Fabry David Pugh. The slim forms of the female Els attracts Murdach but Sláine claims “There’s not enough meat on them” being a devotee of Danu (whom Ukko habitually calls ‘Old Thunder Thighs’). It has to be said we don’t see Sláine forming any romantic attachments to meatier women – they all have similar body shapes as the five El-women that Murdach is going to try to chat up (to which the Els play along). The Els don’t keep up the pretence for long as one is repulsed by Sláine’s iron sword and a fight ensues. As they die their true forms are revealed, slug-like creatures. Back in Dinas Emrys and the fight is going badly. So badly that Myrddin risks shifting the macrocosmic balance (first mention, but not the last) as he unleashes bloodfire upon the cythrons (which is what it sounds like), but Slough Feg answers with the breath of the great time worm (a mist that freezes Myrddin, Tlachtea, Ukko and Nest).

Big prizes from CGL: The Henshin Robos. Never heard of them, but they’re in the mould of Robo-Machines and Transformers. I filled in the coupon (as a ten-year-old) but never cut it out which is good for two reasons – first is that it preserved the next page and second that the name I came up with for a depicted robot was neither original or all that apt. I’m much more pleased that I have a complete copy of…

Judge Dredd: Aftermath Ron Reagan by T.B. Grover and Ian Gibson. I think this is a first – a block and events from one story continuing on in to another. While the Dark Judges have departed Ron Reagan Block in Anderson Psi Division, Dredd is too far away from the DJs next incident site (we know it’s a zoom, but this story reveals it will call in at Dunc Renaldo zoom stop) and is assigned to clean-up at the crock block. It’s not often that distance within the Mega-City is referred to, but this time it keeps Dredd from impinging on Anderson’s debut story. This one offers a revealing glimpse into Mega-City life – after a major disaster Justice Department habitually search deceased victims for evidence of crime – usually revealing concealed weapons, banned zines but this time also discovering a large sum of money on a young visitor to the block, whom Dredd recognises. The deceased was a member of a crime family who had recently been laying low as the judges were due to bust them. Dredd gets his bike computer to run a check for unusual behaviour patterns in block residents in the past few months and discover one. Turns out to be a false lead as the three brothers they suspect as having had face changes turn out to have been living off of the proceeds of a bite fight (one of the brothers drops themselves in it when explaining why they hadn’t been cashing their welfare cheques – as Dredd points out “bite fighting’s illegal – so’s gambling – so’s living of the proceeds”). The judges get another lead as the fingerprints of another victim reveal their true identity. Another bust later and one of the brothers is disguised as an elderly female resident of the block while the remaining living brother gets sentenced to such a long sentence that they’ll be the right age for a crock block when they get out.

It’s not just Future-Shocks filling in the gap before Rogue returns in two progs – it’s also unbranded Future-Shocks and this one is called Breathless by Pete Milligan and Brendan McCarthy (credited as R Brant). Three-man test party on a planet without a breathable atmosphere. The geologist is upset at the mechanic for messing something up and shoots him dead because “one of these days you’ll kill us all“. It didn’t jump out at me that the foul-up was something specific, but this is emphasised on the next page as the geologist takes off and the captain gives chase on a bike-buggy. The geologist doesn’t have enough air on his bike-buggy but the captain catches up just as he runs out. With his dying breaths he reveals what the mechanic did wrong – can you guess? He forgot to refill the captain’s spare air-tube – so the captain’s going to die too.

Your planet needs you! Pretty sure we’ve had this Robin Smith-drawn half-page strip followed by two reservation coupons before.

Strontium Dog: Big Bust of 49 by Alan Grant and Carlos Ezquerra. We get a few vignettes of other bounty hunters catching or killing their quarries and have it highlighted that Darkus and the Howlers are bad types (killing those who have surrendered). I’ve got to admit, I can’t remember where this tale is going to go from here. Our trio have arrived at a cantina where Stonegrind and his wives offer them hospitality. Meanwhile Middenface is looking after the mobile gaol as the Howlers turn up. So it could go a few ways – as in Helltrekkers the people running the cantina could be more hostile than they seem. One of them could be playing host to the Brainwraith (though I’d expect we’d have seen one of them eating something if that was the case). I’m going to guess the Howlers aren’t going to cause trouble this early on, as they want to find out what leads Alpha has on the six million bounty.

Heavy psi: next prog gets advertised through a preview of a Brett Ewins panel (showing what Anderson would look like on Titan). Below that is another Battle Action Force advert – it can’t be doing too well as it has another free gift (comics with healthier distribution, such as 2000AD, don’t need free gifts to try to convince people to buy them). This time it’s stickers.

2000AD Combat Scan: Rogue Trooper Horst the New Frontier. Technically it’s been abandoned by Souther forces so it’s the old frontier. Picture of Rogue by Jose Ortiz in hand-to-hand with a bat-alien.

Grailpage: Glenn Fabry takes grailpage for a second week, this time for an amazing portrait of Myrddin unleashing bloodfire upon the cythrons.

Grailquote: Pat Mills, Ukko: “I think I’d better have one of these leysers!” Nest: “You can try, Ukko. But even with the lode-stones, the gun still depends on how much earth-power warps through you…” “…just a trickle, I’m afraid.” Ukko: “Wish I was a maniac like him!” (pointing at Mogrooth) “No offence!”

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