10.5.19

Programme 49 (28-January-78)

Cover:
This whole ‘cover story’ thing isn’t going to continue after Dan Dare’s storyline wraps up, is it? Because it would kind of suck if it didn’t.

25.4.19

Flesh... The Game!

As promised, here's a PDF featuring the full-resolution images of the Flesh Game, along with the rules!

Simply print out the images, sized so they'll fit on a standard playing card (or cut bristol board). Paste the images to the cards on top of the faces so that you'll be unable to identify which card is which when placed face-down.

Then you're ready to play a game of Flesh!

9.3.19

Programme 46 (7-Jan-78)

Cover:

Well, that’s a horse of a different colour. It seems 32 pages wasn’t enough this time around, and they had to expand the first story to the cover. It’s pretty common to keep things going right to the back cover, but this is just strange.

I’m not an enemy of strangeness, though, and the space-crucifixions are just a striking image. Also, I like the weird alien face on that rightmost corpse.

And hey, look, there’s going to be another game!

Programme 45 (31-December-77)

Cover:

Well, I’m guessing that’s officially it for Supercovers. Sad, isn’t it? I know Supercovers had their highs and lows, but it was an extra story every single week for six months, and they were certainly fun while they lasted.

But yeah, largely they weren’t great.

12.1.19

Programme 42 (10-December-77)

Cover:

Alien zoo? Alien casino? Shrunken-down people? Who can say?

Programme 41 (3-December-77)

Cover:

Ah, monsters who enjoy humans as food. Does a more solid sci-fi premise exist anywhere?

Programme 40 (26-November-77)

Cover:I know what the secret of the Microverse is. It’s that it was drawn by Kevin O’Neill. And then ripped off by Marvel.

9.1.19

Programme 39 (19-November-77)

Cover:
Is it just me, or are the SuperCovers quickly becoming the best part of this comic? Not their stories of course, which invariably disappoint, but the covers themselves are just wonderful.

Although I’ve got to ask – just what is that Alien looking at?

Programme 38 (12-November-77)

Programme 38 (12-Nov-77)

Cover:

It’s a rock that’s also a dragon. In space. If you don’t understand why that’s great, then what the hell are you doing here? There aren’t any words you could have mistyped that would have brought you to ‘Vardulon.com’.

21.12.18

Criminal Minds 924: Demons

Part 2, y'all!

We get a look at the carnage in and around the diner as the gunfight continues. Esai's friend the sheriff was shot in the head! Reid's badly injured, but sees the real killer, Anders, walking calmly along the sidewalk, because the guy's too dumb to worry about stray bullets! Naturally he finds this peculiar, but is he too injured to share his suspicions?

Derek - who was only hit in his vest - shakes off the cobwebs and helps JJ shoot at the preacher. Who runs out the back door of the diner, because no one bothered circling around the building!

Jeanne goes to check on Reid, and notices that he's losing a lot of blood from his neck wound! She tries to hold his attention and convince him to stay awake, but it doesn't work! This might have something to do with the fact that she calls him 'Ethan', which is not his name.

Is that like a pet name that she has for him that I've forgotten about, or is she conflating him with someone else who she lost in a tragedy? Whatever the reason, it's super-weird.

JJ and Derek have a foot chase with the preacher, eventually following him into an abandoned building and killing him! Despite the fact that they're both wearing ear radios and microphones, they don't update the cops on their position as they race through backyards and hovels. Despite this oversight, the cops still manage to rush into the room with them less than ten seconds after they kill the preacher.

In the ambulance Reid start babbling about a tea kettle, but then he loses too much blood pressure and starts to crash. Was he trying to send a message, or was it just rambling?

Also, I'm not a medic, but shouldn't they have cut that vest off of him to ensure better access to the whole wound area, rather than just removing one strap? It's held on with elastic straps and velcro, you could get it off in like three seconds with your clothes scissors.

Notably, when Derek also demands that Reid 'stay with him' he uses Reid's actual last name. Will that prove more effective? Hopefully we'll find out after the credits!

1.12.18

Criminal Minds 923: Angels


Somewhere on a back road, a woman pleads for her life from the back seat of a car! Who is the driver? We're not shown... just yet! Once they've reached a suitably woody patch, the killer drags her out of the car and shoots her in the back of the head as she tries to crawl away!

Well, that's certainly a dramatic opening.

At Quantico - which gets a proper establishing shot this week - everyone has gathered in the middle of the night to hear about an emergency case. Also, Esai is there! I was wondering what had happened to him - it was starting to feel like the team didn't have a boss again.

The show seems to understand how weird it's been, and hangs a lantern on it, having Esai announce that the team is so good at their jobs they don't need supervision! Ugh.

Here's the rundown! A killer murdered two prostitutes by cutting strange symbols into their backs with a razor, then shooting them in the back of the head! Also he killed a guy and dumped him outside of a spot where hookers are known to congregate.

The interesting thing? Each of the murders happened six months-ish apart! The first killing was 11 months ago, the second six, and the victim from the opening was last night. Which brings me to my point - why is this a 'middle of the night' kind of case? Did people really need to be dragged out of bed and have their schedules interrupted for this one? The pattern suggests you have at least 149 days until the guy takes his next victim. Maybe just brief the team when they come in to work tomorrow?

Also, the team agrees that it was probably a 'forensic countermeasure' that the bodies were dumped in different counties. Although if you're looking to have people not know that the bodies are connected, maybe just don't dump the bodies in public? And if you're going to dump the bodies in public, maybe don't have the super-specific M.O. of slicing open the small of their back with a razor while doing no other damage.

In Texas, a group of sex workers doesn't want to go out, since two of their number have been killed! Their madam is having none of this talk of 'worker safety', and threatens to harm them if they don't make money for her!

I don't know why they're so worried - the guy has a months-long cooling-off period, after all!

I'm kidding, of course, this is Criminal Minds, where even if every killer doesn't start out as a spree killer, they magically transform into one the moment the team gets on the case, whether they know they're being hunted or not. It's like a Quantum Entanglement phenomenon, where the killers instinctively know to go into overdrive the minute the team finds out they exist.

So yeah, the killer drives by the very women who didn't want to go out working! Will they survive? Hopefully we'll find out after the credits!

16.11.18

Criminal Minds 922: Fatal

The episode opens with thrilling action, as a man runs into the police station, demanding protection! He's received a note saying that he'll be dead within 24 hours, and there's no way to prevent it! He's obviously a little worried, and when the cop smells booze on his breath, he immediately dismisses the guy's concerns.

Personally, if I got a note like that, I'd rush to a hospital, assuming that I'd been poisoned, but that's only because I saw DOA at a very young age.

After being told to leave, the man vandalizes a trash can, forcing the cops to arrest him, so he'll be safe in a cell overnight! When he's pinned to the ground, I notice that he's got a wedding ring on. Could his wife be the killer?

Probably too early to be making predictions, really.

The next morning the cops go to check on the paranoid guy, only to find him lying in a pool of blood! I guess it was poison, after all!

Over in Quantico - which the show introduces with an establishing shot of Washington D.C.:

Even though that's 50 kilometers away. Because it's Season 9, and no one who works on this show cares even a little.

-Greg is nervous about talking to his son's class about being in the FBI. Due to that one occurrence where a guy murdered the kid's mother because Greg was chasing him. Really, isn't it kind of insensitive to get Greg to give a presentation? I mean, the kid goes to school in Chevy Chase, one of the other parents must have a similarly important DoJ job, right?

Garcia runs down the case: Wayne Campbell (!?!) is the name of the dead guy, and that scene was set in Long Beach, CA. A week earlier a woman had also received a similar note and then died the next day - both of them with lethal levels of arsenic in their bodies! Between poison and notes, they jump to the conclusion that a woman probably did it - although it's a myth that women poison more often than men.

Also, not for nothing, putting in wacky joke character names is another sign that writers have checked out emotionally and are trying to make their own fun.

JJ thinks that it's super-weird to warn victims before killing them, but Reid points out that there was an episode about a killer that made fake 'missing' posters of his victims before killing them. It seems Reid remembers the show even better than I do! Was that the episode where they get one of the victims on the phone, and send the cops to get her, but can't be bothered to stay on the phone with her until the cops arrive, so she gets kidnapped anyways? If so, that was a terrible episode.

Then we head over to an auto-parts store, where the freaked-out proprietor confronts his friend about the murder threat he received! The friend claims to know nothing about the letter, and the proprietor is immediately struck with severe stomach pains. Now that's timing!

The friend leaves before the guy collapses, though, giving his customer a chance to walk in, see that the guy is dying, and then leave a peace of string on the body, because I guess he was the killer!

Also, was that Kevin from The Office? Perhaps we'll find out after the credits!

6.10.18

Criminal Minds 921: What Happens in Mecklinburg

So no, the next episode doesn't start with them catching the Jason from last week, so I guess the team just sucks at their jobs? At least the Jason probably didn't kill that couple - after all, he was oddly directed for a Jason, and only killed people specifically related to the target of his vengeance. Or, you know, cops who were trying to catch him. So, what's up for this week?

It's late at night, and two college students are leaving a grocery store when a car blocks them in - could it be a kidnapper, or are we in in for yet another misdirect?


No misdirect - the killer zaps both of them with a stun gun, and is also wearing a pig mask! Is this because Jigsaw was in last week's episode?

The next morning, Derek and his lady are just waking up when he gets a call - she's disappointed to learn that he's got a case in Memphis! Which is weird for him to already know, since generally their texts just say 'come into the office'. It's almost like Greg gave him more information than usual just to precipitate this specific fight!

The girlfriend is extremely disappointed because her parents are coming into town to meet him, and Derek offers to let her break up with him over it, which she calls out as super passive-agressive. Way to go standing up for yourself, doctor lady!

According to Garcia, the killer has grabbed three people in two nights, all from grocery store parking lots! Turns out that the first two victims were men, one middle-aged, one younger, and of the two college students from last night, he only grabbed one of them, leaving the other woman behind!

Sadly there's no other information in the opening sequence, other than some random theories, because they haven't found any bodies yet. The absence if proof doesn't count as evidence, though, since the victims could either be alive or simply thrown in a ditch somewhere that no one has randomly stumbled across!

While the team might be in the dark, we discover that all of the victims are still alive - also in the dark, as luck would have it, chained to the ceiling in a basement somewhere! The pig-masked killer arrives to menace them, and then it's off to the credits!

At just six minutes, which is also very quick for this show! I wonder why they're changing up their format?

1.9.18

Criminal Minds 920: Blood Relations

For the second episode in a row, we open on a crying woman, stumbling through the woods! I'd ding them for repetition, but the difference this time is that it's the past (1955), and in black and white!

Seriously!

So, is this another Gubler episode, or is another director willing to do something visually interesting?

Anyhoo, a killer in rubber boots walks up behind her, and then we cut to the present, in West Virginia. Which is probably where the B&W sequence was set as well, but the show didn't actually make that clear.

In the present, a low-rent hunter returns to his trailer with a gun and cooler full of varmints, but before he can grab a beer to reward himself for a good night's work, he hears someone lurking around outside. He heads out to check, and winds up with a noose wrapped around his neck - apparently the killer is strong enough to lift him right off his feet, but lithe enough to move around on the roof without making any sound!

Oh, then the killer murders the guy by turning his head a hundred and 180 degrees around. So obviously we're dealing with a Jason situation here. Or at least a Madman Mars.

Then it's right to the briefing, where the characters get confused about basic terms! Joe points out that it's basically impossible to form barbed wire into a noose the way the killer has, because it doesn't have enough tensile strength. Reid thinks that it is possible, as long as the killer is strong enough!

And he's supposed to be the smart one. Seriously, the point here is not that barbed wire is hard to bend - it isn't, the stuff is shipped in coils, after all, but rather the kind of tight winding you have to do in order to make a noose would presumably cause it to snap, irregardless of the killer's strength.

But let's not get sidetracked - the killer also built a bear-trap-launcher that fired a bear trap wrapped in barbed wire from a tree into the face of another hunter.

There's no way the rest of the episode is going to live up to this awesome beginning, is there?

The team immediately head to West Virginia! I wonder if they'll just drive? We, on the other hand, cut over to a shake where our killbilly, a surprisingly slender man for the feats of strength we've seen him accomplish, sits in front of a fire, tearing the head of a doll using barbed wire!

This just gets crazier and crazier, doesn't it? Hopefully it will keep going nuts after the opening credits!

10.8.18

Criminal Minds 919: The Edge of Winter

It's night, it's the woods, and, you guessed it, a woman is screaming for help as she flees for her life! Because, you know, Criminal Minds. A helpful Chyron lets us know that it's 2013, but since I'm not super-clear on when this episode originally aired, I'm going to guess that's fairly recent, like the year before the episode's present day.

Could I find this out in slightly more time than it takes to type this sentence? Sure. But that's not my brand, so...

The lady runs out of the woods, and is immediately hit by a car! Was it a super-effective killer, or just a preposterously-timed accident?

In the present day, we head to an institute for the mentally unstable in New York State! Derek has arrived to help prep the victim before the trial! The doctor working the case is surprised to see a profiler doing that, but he explains that profiling is only 10% of what they do, and trial prep is an important part of the job.

While I'm sure that's closer to true in the real world, if it was a part of the team's job, I'm sure it would have come up more often in the past 200 episodes. We're expected to believe that in addition to solving 25 serial murders a year they're also flying around the country - individually or in groups - to help out local DAs? That seems like a stretch.

The victim is playing solitaire when Derek arrives, and she looks to be in pretty solid shape, so I suppose the truck impact wasn't too severe! Nice to know that someone's obeying the speed limit on a dirt road in the middle of the night.

Derek wants to prep her for cross-examination by going over all of the details of the case, both her experiences, and the things they've turned up in their own investigation over the past year! Wait, are we expected to believe that the team continued investigating the case after catching the guy, because that's absolutely not their MO. Let's just assume he meant 'we' in the 'all law enforcement' sense of the word.

Specifically, they're going to go into more detail about what happened to 'Ben', who she saw being carried out into a field by two goons, beaten to a pulp! Time for a flashback to fill us in on some of that backstory!

He was turned into a human scarecrow. Ick. The victim thinks she should have done more to stop the murder. Was she one of the killers? If not, I'm not sure how she would have.

Then it's over to the team who (in the past) are getting the details of the case! It seems three victims were stabbed to death with farm tools and dumped in public, all within the last ten days. So it's off to New York.

More present day stuff, as the victim sets up another flashback! Wait, whose flashback was that scene in the office? It seems like the show is so desperate to keep to its standard format that they're just throwing out the whole 'Derek coaches a victim' concept whenever they feel like it.

Anyhow, in the victim's flashback, another victim has stolen a key from the killers, and they break out after the villains have gotten drunk. But they make too much noise, and as they flee across a field, the other lady is shot in the back! The victim keeps running, though, because really, what can you do when the killer has a rifle and you don't?

Let's see how the flashbacks continue after the credits!