Star Lord No 19: Mek-Quake kill 99% of all known robots!

I suspect the Lipsmackinthirstquenchinacetastinmotivatingood buzzincooltalkinhighwalkinfastlivinevergivincoolfizzin PEPSI advert must have been shown a lot in the 1970s – not only was there an ad for 2000AD a few months ago but this cover has a strapline of Circuitsmashingpiperippingmetalcrunchingdroidddestroying… MEK-QUAKE!!! It isn’t the only modification to a then-current advertising campaign, with ‘Reaches parts of the galaxy other sci-fi mags cannot reach!’ parodying Heineken (warning, the linked 1978 advert features a rather dated blacked-up actor playing an Australian aborigine).

In Mind Wars it takes until the end of a full two pages for Ardeni Lakam to get naked, this time for a decontamination shower along with Tilman. When it comes time to get dressed Kareela la Borzac – an old enemy of Tilman – appears and burns Ardeni’s clothes. If not for a few interjections from Tilman, the conversation between Kareela and Ardeni would have passed the Bechdel-Wallace Test (the conversation was about clothes). Meanwhile the Jugla Empire are on the lookout for humans on conquered worlds who match the general description of the deceased Arlen Lakam, so that, through surgery, he can be made to look exactly like Ardeni’s dead brother. Meanwhile meanwhile, Ardeni, Tilman and their Lenarthian friends are in a Lenarth prison cell though Ardeni has just been knocked unconscious by poisoned food, provided by Kareela.

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Star Lord No 18: I can invade minds, stop time, warp space… I have the power!

Another cover from the anonymous airbrush-style artist, this time of Ardeni Lakam and Tilman.

Inside, Ardeni’s escape involves something to do with combined energy feedback which threatens to destroy the bridge of the Jugla warship and Ardeni granting powers to Tilman (which go to his head in more ways than one). I’m not too sure what the actual threat of being in an anti-matter field was supposed to be if she can use powers through it anyway. Good Redondo art on this episode but the plot probably doesn’t bear too much thinking about.

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Prog 51: You are fast, Dare — but it will take more than clever swordplay to beat the Killing Star! You are as good as dead!

As predicted, Dan Dare gets out his laser broadsword to deflect the Dark Lord’s Killing Star, which has an autopilot function. While Dare deals with that, the Dark Lord takes the opportunity to escape in an Eagle craft where he orders an Armageddon Missile to destroy the Space Fort and all ships surrounding it (including Starslayer ships). Unaccountably he doesn’t get out of the way of the missile first, and dies in a massive explosion. Over the page we wrap up the sixteen-episode story – the Starslayers surrender, the Starslayer’s Empire is renamed the Star Alliance, which will be directed by the insectoid Drones and policed by the Grawls. In all the excitement the credit card got missed off again – ironic considering that Dan Dare was initially the only story which did credit the artist.

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Prog 48: Those escort ships will never fight again… but half the Starslayer fleet’s closing in on us, Dare!

This week’s cover harks back to that of prisoners staked on stars and left to die in orbit around Starslay, though this time it’s the Starslayers who are floating dead through space. Dare drags the captured Dark Lord before the vid screens in an effort to free all the slave races of the Starslayers’ Empire. I’m not convinced that the Starslayer’s would obey Dare just because he caught their leader. In fact, I’d have expected that leadership of Starslayers wouldn’t be compatible with being caught. Though the Dark Lord does manage to escape by using a nifty flying star.

Frank Hart, the Visible Man, also manages to escape, though his escape route is through lying in bed for three days and hitting a doctor when they come in to see what the problem is.

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Prog 47: Give the order — commence the staking of the prisoners!

Dare on the cover for the second week, though seeing the Dark Lord in colour means we can see his green skin. Which makes Dare’s disguise as a Starslayer a bit more… interesting… than it was last prog when we’d only seen a Starslayer on a vid-screen.

The Visible Man makes his debut next – this is one of the stories which was bumped from Prog 1. Starting quite bizarrely – the logo takes up around half of the entire first page – the first episode reads like a Future-Shock, with the last page being the tradition one-panel reveal that ends the story. This story isn’t available on its own these days, but can be found in 2000AD Presents Sci-Fi Thrillers.

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