Programme 28 (3-September-77)


Now, despite the Dive Mistress’ claims of safety, this picture is the exact reason why I won’t go scuba diving.

Thrill 1 – Invasion!

The battle of Glasgow has started, with wave after wave of Scots rushing the Volgs and engaging them in hand to hand combat. A local homeless man runs up to help-

Ah, it’s our local themed character. Anyone wants to lay bets that he’ll sacrifice himself heroically before the story’s done? No, I didn’t think so.

The story quickly moves that way as the mad dogs rush to cut off the Volgs at the old Football stadium. They spin the floodlights around and shine them on the approaching Volgans, blinding the troops as the mad dogs open fire.

It’s a decisive victory, except for a final attack by a Volgan mortar team. Savage is shocked to see a huge ‘globe grenade’ rocketing towards him and Silk. Just then Jock Steel runs in to kicks the mortar shell away.

I’m not sure that’s how mortar shells actually work, but at least he had the opportunity to put the old cleats back on. Inspited by Jock’s sacrifice, the Scots quickly rout the remaining Volgs, much to the chargrin of their commander. He’s so angered, in fact, that he decides to crack open the local maximum-security prison and send them in to kill their fellow Scots.

Thrill 2 – Judge Dredd

Picking up where last week’s (largely missed) story left off, this one also concerns Dredd’s final training of a Cadet. Here’s a shocker that I missed in the lost pages last week – the Cadet is named Giant. And he’s the son of Giant, the main character of Harlem Heroes! So this confirms that both those stories are taking place in a single, coherent universe. That’s a bit of a surprise.

When their latest call takes Dredd and Giant to the old Harlem Heroes stadium to break up a kidnapping, Dredd decides to let the kid go in and handle things on his own. Which he’s more than capable of doing, given that he’s the blaxploitation judge! Yeah, seriously, that’s why he exists.

There’s one perp left, hiding in the rafters with a kid and a bomb on a short fuse. Giant handles it according to family tradition, by strapping on a jetpack, grabbing the kid, and throwing the bomb into the goal-post. Dredd congratulates Giant on a job well done, and we move immediately to his graduation ceremony, where an important fact is revealed:

Yeah, the original giant really, really didn’t age well. I mean, I know he’s got to be around 80, but wow, father time really took a bat to that guy, didn’t he?

Judge Dredd Kill Count (31)

Thrill 3 - Shako

It looks like things are finally coming to a close for the old Yogi – the hospital massacre has drawn enough attention that the Americans have finally gotten their act together, and grabbed some spears to keep Shako cornered until they can find guns. Unk, Shako’s little buddy decides this would be a great time to ruin everything, though, and shatters the window behind Shako with a rock, giving him a chance to escape.

Miraculously Shako doesn’t immediately eat Unk, and instead wanders off into the night, looking for less sympathetic prey.

He finds it in two oilmen, Frenchy and Dan, who think being high atop a pipeline will save them from Shako. Haven’t they been reading this thing? Shako quickly piles up enough snow that he can clamber up to the top of the pipeline, and the men scatter in fear.

Shako captures and cripples Frenchy very fast, then tries to track Dan down. He finds the oilman cowering inside a pipe too narrow for Shako to enter. While this might have seemed like a good idea at the time, Shako doesn’t take being foiled well, and elects to fill the end of the pipe with snow, so Dan will run out of air. Then he turns back to Frenchy, and devours him alive.

The triumph of Shako’s victory is somewhat hampered by a cutaway to some of Unk’s deeper thoughts on the situation.

Two things – I find it a little odd that he doesn’t consider himself an American (he’s like 10, and Alaskan statehood was like 25 years earlier). More importantly, though, this is another issue with a damaged page, so I’m not exactly sure how Shako escaped the village and made it to the pipeline. So it’s possible that he killed Unk on his way out of town. We may never know. But we’re only going to be counting the deaths I’ve got evidence of.

With Dan being suffocated to death, one of the slowest arctic deaths there is, that brings the total number Shako’s victims to have died ‘real slow’ to 2 out of 24, or roughly 8%.

Thrill 4 – Dan Dare (?/Gibbons)

Dan Dare’s back! That wasn’t a very long absence, was it? It seems that the head of Dan’s Space agency needs him for a vital mission – he has to explore… the lost worlds! A mysterious section of space full of unimaginable horror. Ships have tried to map it, but none have ever returned!

You know, Dan would probably have an easier time with this mission if he had a better weapon than a hand-blaster. I don’t know, maybe some kind of a living axe?

Dan immediately agrees to the mission, but only on condition that he get to pick his own crew. He doesn’t want a bunch of military officers, he needs survivors who have seen the worst space has to offer and survived it. So where’s he going to find them? Certainly not Mos Eisley.

What’s Dan’s plan? He heads to the diviest bar and picks a fight with the nastiest son of a bitch there. The target is a giant Russian named Bear. Dan picks a fight with him, beats him up, and then tells everyone else in the bar that if the near wants to settle things, he should come to the spaceport. He pulls the same confrontation/recruitment thing with ‘Hitman’, a guy whose gun got fused to his hand when he was caught in a vacuum, and ‘Pilot’, the world’s greatest taxi driver (he also used to be a starship pilot).

The three of them show up at the spaceport at sunset, and find out that Dan had pissed off dozens of other men as well. A starship lands right in front of them, and Dan pops out and offers them all a place on the ship – for the best paying, most dangerous job they’ll ever have. Absolutely everyone joins up just as quickly as Dan did, which gets the setup out of the way in a single issue, meaning that it’s time to set a course for adventure!

Thrill 5 – MACH 1

The recap is nice enough to let me know about the story we missed last issue. Probe is co-piloting the new shuttlecraft into outer space, along with Tex, a spy! Of course, Probe doesn’t know that yet.

He is suspicious, though, even moreso when something goes wrong with the shuttle and Tex suggests that he go out and check. Probe gets confirmation of his fears when Tex fires up the shuttle engines with him still outside. Tex isn’t aware that his would-be citim is hyperpowered, though, and able to hold on with no trouble.

When the shuttle arrives at a Russian space station Tex unloads his troopers and attacks it, shutting down the Russians’ early warning system. Their plan? Fire a rocket into the heart of Russia, setting off World War 3!

Not if Probe has anything to say about it! He drifts out of his hiding place and starts slashing away at his opponents’ suits, condemning to the horrible death of having the air sucked from their lungs by vacuum.

Probe kills most of the terrorists, but Tex proves more tenacious than most – he even drops a hint that he’s more special than he may have appeared. He radios to his partners on earth that the warning system is down – so now they can launch ICBMs whenever they want, obliterating the Russian defenses! This puts Probe in one hell of a pickle – how can he stop a missile from being launched thousands of miles away?

Find out next time!


Who’s up for another supercover?

Why do people insist on genetically engineering mosters with giant claws? Aren’t blobs of undifferentiated muscle mass good enough for science any more?

Thrill 6 – Future Shock

It’s the year 5000 and war has been going on for as long as anyone can remember – one side is robots, the other side… genetically engineered animals! Which is the twist. Also there’s a reference to the fact that humans may have gone extinct at some point, which makes this story the profoundly sad tale of robots and animals still fighting a war that they didn’t start and have no real reason for continuing.

Oh well, at least they’re adorable, right?

Final Thoughts

Best Story: Judge Dredd – What can I say? Blaxploitation + Judge Dredd = Quality entertainment. You heard it hear first.

Worst Story: Nothing. This was a completely competant week of 2000AD. Invasion moved, Harlem Heroes is over, Dan Dare is now being drawn by Dave Gibbons… all is right in the world, I guess is what I’m saying.

1 comment:

busterggi said...

I don't do the ocean either but that's because I read Charleton's Gorgo comics when I was a kid.