Robin Smith’s cover (sort-of) appeared in the sci-fi special on a Nu Earth newstand. Nu-stand? Without checking, this has to be the largest portrait so far on the prog?
The Nerve Centre contains news that – not content with five zarjaz stories – Tharg has programmed a laser scan (but can’t remember who it’s of). Tharg teases a reader with the idea of a sticker album (we’ll eventually get collectable cards, but never stickers, as far as I’m aware). Probably more honestly, Tharg assures another reader that Robo-Hunter will be returning very soon. Not this prog but we’ll see how soon ‘very’ soon is. In the corner is a misplaced Jokes for Pranksters advert, which looks like it should have been in a children’s comic, rather than young teen, or whatever 2000AD officially was at this time.
Enough of all that – on with the stories! Anderson Psi Division: Revenge by Grant/Grover and Brett Ewins. Possibly for the first time that we’ve seen, the citi-def units across the city are being put on alert. This happened during the Apocalypse War, but I’m pretty sure the citi-def units were already fairly alert already – the ones which weren’t subject to block mania. I’d question whether teleporting in to the middle of a citi-def meeting is a good move by the Dark Judges but they don’t seem to have any problems (not the kinds of issues they’d have if, say, they appeared in the Grand Hall of Justice). Speaking of which, peeved by the latest arrival of judges to their locale, they head off to the Grand Hall of Justice. Anderson has not taken a whole lot of notice of McGruder’s putting her on suspension and instead headed off to Tek-Division to check out their attempts at replicating dimension jump technology – unfortunately for them they’ve only managed to come up with jumps that take the user to dimension voids – empty dimensions. Which is where she is when the DJs turn up. Though she did bully Tek-Judge Jordy into getting to work on half a dozen Justice Department dimension jumps, with limpet mines fitted.
That laser-scan makes an appearance and it is, of course, the Glyph. Largely to put ‘lest we forget’ on a memorial statue (wouldn’t make any sense as nobody would remember to construct a statue of them – but worth it for the joke).
Star Shadow continues the reprint of the Dungeons & Dragons advert, originally run in Prog 388.
Sláine: Time Killer by Pat Mills and David Pugh. Pat rolls out the puns and word play, as light els and dark els turn out to both be macrobes (like microbes, but existing in the macrosphere and affecting life in the way that microbes can affect health). Sláine and Murdach get transported by Pluke through a wormhole to Cythrawl where they crash and encounter orgots (organic robots, as Pluke explains, though how Sláine knows what a robot is is not explained). While Sláine and Murdach get to work fighting the orgots, we see a bit of Murdach’s jealousy of Sláine.
Advert page and it’s all for 2000AD stuff – the sci-fi special, the Eagle Judge Dredd reprint (Bolland radsweeper cover) and 2000AD Monthly (DR in Hollywood, probably also Bolland) and finally a teaser panel from the next Ace Trucking Co story.
Judge Dredd: Casey’s Day Out by T.B. Grover and Ron Smith. I didn’t think I remembered this one though from the first panel when a prisoner is released from a twenty-stretch I figured it would end with the perp reoffending and being sentenced to another twenty years. Though Dredd is assigned to escort the freshly-released prisoner to a rehabilitation block and they talk about how a gangster formerly called Shampagne Charlie (I did spell that correctly – it’s fake – sham – champagne) is now called Cyborg Charlie, and that ignited a few memories. Still on the first page but predictions / remembrances are that Charlie will depart to get an alibi in place, multiple hit attempts will be foiled by Dredd, something about escaping in to the sewers and the former perp will probably beg to be put back in iso (if they don’t even attack Dredd to force the lawman to re-arrest them). Yep – all that happens except for the sewer bit, I must have remembered that from another story. A good, neat, self-contained story. I don’t think we’ll ever see Cyborg Charlie again, but it wouldn’t have been bad if the Nero Narcos storyline had Charlie instead. I guess the Mega-City’s big enough for more than one cybernetic crime boss though.
Rogue Trooper: Antigen of Horst by Gerry Finley-Day and Jose Ortiz. I’m not entirely convinced about Ortiz on this story, but it is good to see the European style more familiar in comics such as Metal Hurlant in the prog. According to Bear Alley, Ortiz did appear in Heavy Metal (the English-language US version of Metal Hurlant). Anyway, there’s a few glimpses of that style here. On with the story, Rogue takes his first break for ages and while he rests the chips slag him off (saying he regards them as just bits of bioware, despite having deserted twice for their sakes – talk about ungrateful). While he sleeps, the boys ward off a Nort squad of fifty rhino-headed aliens (think the Juddoon from Doctor Who), proving to themselves that they can still operate without Rogue’s help. It’s something involving strobing lasers scaring off superstitious rhino-aliens.
Strontium Dog: Big Bust of 49 by Alan Grant and Carlos Ezquerra. This opens with a view of the Keeler Mine from the top of a nearby hill, giving a view of the area. Johnny reveals his secret weapons – bottle guns capable of creating vacuums, using magnetic forces and catching ectoplasts like Xen. With use of alpha vision he manages to quickly find Xen the Brainwraith, hiding out in the head of the cook. They clear the ‘chow hut’ of miners and confront Xen in cook’s body. This is, of course, the moment that Darkus and the Howlers choose to attack. Johnny and Wulf leave Middenface to keep an eye on Xen. That can’t go wrong, can it? (I know it does as a forthcoming scene is about the only panel I can remember from this story).
And on the back cover we have the traditional advert, this time for Transformers, presenting Thrust, Dirge, Ramjet, Starscream and spy cassettes (Ravage, Frenzy, Laserbeak and others).
Grailpage: I was tempted by a few of Ron Smith’s pages, but I’m ending up going for Brett Ewins’ final page of this prog’s Anderson, showing the Dark Judges showing up at the Grand Hall of Justice with Anderson instantly detecting their arrival.
Grailquote: Pat Mills, Murdach (thought bubble): “I’ve never seen a warrior as good as Sláine! How can one many have such power? And why isn’t it ME?”