Programme 27 (27-August-77)


Yikes. That’s just… unsettling…

Thrill 1 – Invasion!
This week Bill’s traveled to Glasgow (remember how he destroyed the wall blocking Scotland? It seems no one repaired it). All the glaswegians have been walled up in a small section of the city where they fight like animals for the scraps of food the Volgs throw in. I’m sure Bill will have something to say about that.

Ambushing a Volgan care on the way to Glasgow, Bill discovers that an extermination order has been planned for the entire city! There’s only one solution – Bill heads into the ghetto to train the townspeople into a guerilla army in the few hours before the slaughter begins.

You’ll note that this plan hinges almost entirely on the Volgs not just gassing the city the way they did New Town. We’ll see how that works out next time.

Thrill 2 – Harlem Heroes (?/?)

Now it’s time for the big reveal – Giant explains that the whole equipment theft was faked. In a legitimately good plan of Louis’, the Heroes created a weakness for Cord to exploit, rather than wait for him to make one. That way they’d know what to expect – giving them a chance to find the damage to the jet packs and have them repaired before the match.

Isn’t that in Sun Tzu somehwere? If you don’t present your opponent with a weakness they’ll find one on their own?

Okay, it would have been a better scheme on Cord’s part if it didn’t rely on the world’s greatest Aeorball team not having their equipment checked out before the biggest game of their careers. But still, it’s an actual plot where advance thought went into the thing, so I’ll give them a little credit.

Well and truly caught, Cord reveals his motive – he was worried that the heroes were too sportsmanlike in their conduct. If playing by the rules got too popular the game would be too boring to watch! So naturally, he tried to murder the team. Of course.

With the plot over with the Heroes quickly win the championship and decide to quit Aeroball. It’s a little abrupt, but what the hell, I’m happy this is over.

Also, and I don’t know when this happened because I stopped paying attention a while ago, but it seems Dave Gibbons isn’t drawing this any more. Or if he is, he’s doing a really bad job.

Thrill 3 - Shako

After hiding below the hospital until dusk, he decides it’s time for another brutal slaughter. He sneaks up on a nurse – that’s right, the 11-foot, 1-ton bear is now making a regular habit of sneaking up on people. Inside buildings with solid floors. Then he kills a nearby orderly and accidentally pushes an old man out a window. Startlingly no one hears any of this, allowing Shako time to slide into the old electroshock therapy room. Which apparently they have in the hospital.

Even nurse not-Ratched’s (see, it’s different because her name is Hatchett!) quick use of the electro shock panels doesn’t slow him much. In a few short moments he’s gutted both her and the two orderlies. The elderly patient’s fate isn’t addressed, so I’m not counting her.

Still, Shako went absolutely nuts this week, bringing his total number of kills up to 22, with only 1 dying ‘real slow’, or less than 5%.

Thrill 4 – Future Shocks and Thrill 5 – MACH 1

Sadly, my copy of this issue is missing whole bunch of pages, so I can’t adequately cover these stories. The Future Shock involved aliens landing in England, but without the twist ending it’s meaningless, and the Mach 1 story was the start of a new serial about Probe going into space – hopefully by reading next week’s issue I can figure out what I missed.

Far more tragically, I may never find out what was going on with that supercover.

Thrill 6 – Judge Dredd (Wagner/Gibson)

Dredd is also missing critical pages, but I’ve got to cover the story a little, because it introduces some key information about the world. Also, there’s a cheeky credit nod.

Yup, that’s the writer and artist just below Dredd and Hunt. This episode is mostly about explaing the world of the Judges in a little more detail. We discover that Judges are sent off to the Academy at 5 and graduate at 20 (since Dredd graduated in 79, this makes him 40 years old!). Until they graduate Judges wear white helmets:

And no, the Cadet isn’t talking nonsense, he’s referring to a Futsie (few-t-see), someone suffering from Future Shock, i.e. the crazed fast-paced world of tomorrow has driven them to go nuts with an axe. It’s almost always an axe, see:

Really, though, since they’re living in the future, doesn’t that make it ‘Present Shock’? Guess ‘Pretzie’ doesn’t have the same ring to it.

I know this issue has been pretty much a wash, but I’m going to go ahead and guess that Dredd gunned the Pretzie down, and award him the kill. If I find out differently, I’d adjust the count later.

Judge Dredd Kill Count (30)+1=31

Final Thoughts

I’m not going to award any titles this week, since I wasn’t able to see enough of the issue. Although I think we can all agree it’s good to be rid of Harlem Heroes. Too bad the ending promised an imminent return…

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