Star Lord No 9: Beware the war droid in Kill-Frenzy! You have the fire power of a cruiser, Hammer-Stein! – use it – destroy your comrade Ro-Jaws!

This issue has a pretty good painted rendition of Hammerstein in kill-frenzy (as trailed in the next prog box last week) – though the war-droid’s legs are a bit dodgy – there’s a word balloon that could have been placed over them to cover them up. Spoiler, the scene in question won’t appear until right at the end of this week’s episode – that ‘next prog’ caption from last week would have been just as appropriate this week.

Mind Wars sees the Jugla war fleet reach Earth and the first place they attack? Miami! I’m pretty sure Redondo drew a MACH One story that started off in Miami, though could be wrong. Eventually they get around to attacking the Federal Capital – the largest city in the galaxy, though there’s no clue where on Earth it’s located – hint – somewhere bordered by mountains on one side, and not London or Berlin. The fighting largely takes place off-panel as the only reason for the ‘invasion’ is to allow Ardeni and Arlen to sneek in on the Solar Saint.

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Star Lord No 7: Into forbidden worlds… beyond the limits of man’s imagination! Battle for survival on Planet of the Damned

This cover is basically a rehash of the end of last week’s episode of Planet of the Damned, with Flint about to do battle with a black knight on the back of a mammoth in front of a fortress. This very red painting could have graced any Conan-esque fantasy novel of the last fifty years. Flint also looks a little like He-Man, though I think this is a few years before whichever toy company it was came up with that idea.

Starlord doesn’t have enough space this issue for a full Star Fax so has a narrow strip at the top of this week’s Mind Wars to tell us about the Hell Planet boardgame (and how he hasn’t finished writing the rules yet). If the last episode was inspired by Star Wars (with our protagonists approaching Mos Eisley to organise transport off world in a cantina) then the similarities continue, after a brief case of misinterpreted greetings. Tip – if an alien race looks like an apex predator then their greetings will probably look like an assault. The Solar Saint (Millenium Falcon) leaves Yu-Jubum just before it gets destroyed (Alderaan, anyone?) and is immediately pursued by Federal strike ships (Star Destroyers). Even some of the dialogue has parallels (even if the meaning is opposite). Compare and contrast: “The old Solar Saint was built to outrun local planetary space police forces, not a Federal battle fleet!”; “I’ve outrun Imperial starships. Not the local bulk cruisers mind you, I’m talking about the big Corellian ships now.” Anyway, the battle fleet attacks and the Lakam twins use their powers to hold out for a while, but in the end they have to be rescued by a Jugla suicide attack, just before they head off into trans-light drive (hyperspace).

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Star Lord No 6: Interstellar Federation invasion begins! You have been warned!

The cover of this week’s issue has a giant crab in battle with humanoids. Not much to say about it – it’s competent enough, though could have appeared on any number of pulp sci-fi novels from the 1950s onwards.

Mind Wars has Tilman attempting to kill the twins, but he is interrupted when Ardeni awakes. When she refuses to kill him to protect herself, the Jugla take control of her, though Arlen is under control and manages to deflect the beam as he shoots. Klee-Fang the shoulder-dragon gets to punish the Jugla who failed to control both twins while back on Yu-Jubum, things take a Mos Eisley turn, with the host natives unwilling to approach the sinful city, which smells like a sewer, has a spaceport and where deals to arrange passage are made with hairy pilots in bars.

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Star Lord No 5: This is gonna be a bad one, Hammer-Stein!

Kevin O’Neill depicts Ro-Jaws and Hammerstein surveying what looks like a spaceship crashing into a skyscraper (or starscraper, or whatever they’re called in Ro-Busters).

This week’s Mind Wars sees Na-Rutha control Arlen to force the ship to go to Earth. There’s a bit of confusion between artist and letterer at one stage, with the teddy-bear alien (Councillor Rashnik) seeming to say that he was given orders before leaving Earth to stop the twins from getting to the home planet, and that the ship would be destroyed before that happened – this was a conversation that Tilman had with Doctor Varn. Other than that, the ship under Arlen’s psychic control goes through an emergency ship division, which apparently all great human and Jugla warships are able to do, for some sort of safety and defensive measure. Despite all that safety and defence, the particular sub-division of the ship which Arlen, Ardeni, Tilman and Rashnik are on gets damaged during the division and they have to crash land. Fortunately the planet they touchdown on is on the planetary communications network. Unfortunately this means that Tilman can be given orders by Doctor Varn to kill the twins. I should probably have done this round-up in the fortunately-unfortunately game format…

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Star Lord No 4: Inside! Part One of a mind-stretching sci-fi game! It stars Strontium Dog… it’s called Hell Planet… it’s not for cowards!

Published on the same day as 2000AD Prog 67, this issue of Star Lord drops the numbering on the cover altogether and features Johnny Alpha shooting an alien, the two of them on something that looks very much like a chessboard.

In Mind Wars the twins face greater danger from their home planet than from the Jugla, though they can defend themselves until a weaponship from Earth can arrive. Tilman stops Ardeni from killing those in the pursuing ships and his internal monologue reveals that he hopes their powers can be turned to Earth’s advantage (as otherwise they’ll have to die). I can’t help feel that, being sent by Dr Varn, he wouldn’t have any hesitation in killing those who might affect the success of his mission. It seems his pacificistic tendencies managed to slip through training and his rising through the ranks.

Ro-Busters – Pat Mills and Carlos Pino bring us the second part of what I shall call The Red Mist in the Florida Swamp story – just about the time that 2000AD is finally giving all the stories titles, Star Lord is not differentiating stories in any way. It could be argued that Pat Mills is saving all his titles for 2000AD – compared to Ro-Busters (series title), running in the same week in the prog is Judge Dredd – The Cursed Earth, Chapter Seven – Night of the Vampire (series title – story title, chapter number – chapter title) – which one makes it easier to write about individual episodes? The best part of Ro-Busters is always the interaction of Ro-Jaws, Hammerstein and (sometimes) other characters – in this case it’s the children, Marvin and Mek-Quake who act as foils. Not for the first or last time, the robotic duo are on the verge of being destroyed by Mek-Quake before being rescued at the last moment by orders from above.

Continue reading “Star Lord No 4: Inside! Part One of a mind-stretching sci-fi game! It stars Strontium Dog… it’s called Hell Planet… it’s not for cowards!”