Programme 41 (3-December-77)


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

Thrill 1 – Judge Dredd (Wagner/Bolland/Jacob)

Oh god-damn it. This is Brian Bolland’s first-ever Judge Dredd issue. Pardon me if I get a little emotional here, but this is the beginning of the greatest ever comic book artist’s longest run actually working on a regular comic, so believe me when I say that it’s taking all my self-control not to just reproduce the entire story here.

So, anyway, where were we? Right. Biker race.

Perspective, action, anatomy – there is nothing that Brian Bolland does not do perfectly. But we’re not here to worship Brian Bolland. I mean, obviously I am, but as a group we’re here for the review. So let’s continue.

The Judges chase the remaining bikers through a snooty restaurant, which includes a comic interlude where the biker knocks a manager’s face into a cake – he comments that this kind of thing wouldn’t happen if a Judge were around – and then Dredd knocks him all the way into the cake!

See, it both works as comedy, and points out that the Judges aren’t the most positive force in people’s lives! Go, Wagner, go!

The race is wrapped up quickly when Dredd smashes one biker’s face in with a nightstick-

And then Giant crashes his own bike into ‘Harvey’s, jumping clear at the last minute. ‘Harvey’ lands just inches from the beacon that marks the end of the race, and presumably expires.

Apparently he didn’t, though, for reasons we’ll get into in a later issue. But for right now, let’s just take another moment to appreciate Bolland’s art.

There’s going to be a lot more of this, in all likelihood.

Oh, and in a final note, ‘Harvey’ was put in quotes in his first appearance, and ‘Spikes’ is put in quotes this time. I’m stinking with assuming that ‘Harvey’ is the nickname, though, because that’s more future-y and hilarious.

The Judge Dredd Kill Count reamins at 42 once again, because we’ve got no idea whether Dredd personally killed any of the bikers.

Thrill 2 – Invasion (Finley-Day/Pino/Frame)

The boys have reached Balmoral, the Scottish home of the royal family. They can’t stop to relax, though – because a Volgan hunting party is out poaching royal game! They find the boys tracks, and chase them deep into the woods!

What the Volgs don’t know is that Bill, Silk, and the Prince are armed, and manage to put up a good fight. They’re outnumbered and outgunned, though, so when they run out of bullets they retreat into a cave behind a waterfall. Inside they find a cache of shotgun shells, but they’re only blanks – what can Savage do with those? Nothing, unless he also employs the Stag’s skull he found earlier…

With the Volgs dead the boys head off once again, likely to another adventure!

Thrill 3 – Future Shock (Steve Moore/Wright/Knight)

Oh, so I guess that line about the space-reptile yelling ‘mother’ last week wasn’t a cliffhanger after all. That was just the really poorly-conceived end of the story. Huh.

So on to this week’s story. Space-rats climb aboard a space freighter. They interbreed and eat for three years while the crew is in hypersleep. When they get to Earth they’re capable of eating anything, and they almost destroy civilization-

But then they eat too much, and die from burst stomachs.

Sorry if I did a crappy job of recapping this particular episode, it’s just that I was really a continuation of the last story, and this one was kind of mediocre.

Oh, except for this great image of the races of man ‘surrendering’ to the rats.

That’s a little on the funny side, I suppose.

Thrill 4 – Dan Dare (Finley-Day/Gibbons/Gibbons)

The space fortress is hiding in an asteroud belt, desperate to stay clear of the StarSlayer fleet. This plan is almost undone by the machinations of Bear, who’s still suffering from SS hypnosis. The crew manages to stop him from firing the ship’s engines until the danger has passed, though.

You’d think they’d just lock him in the brig or something…

The space-fortress then lands on the planet Drone, where they find an SS occupation force. After sneaking down to the planet they meet the insectoid alien race that lives there-

After that initial misunderstanding Dan is able to convince the bugs to join in their planned rebellion!

Meanwhile the Dark Lord is busy making his plans – he’ll lay traps for the humans on the next few slave worlds, so that Dare will be walking into trouble!

He sets an odd deadline for the project, though – he announces that ‘before ten moons have passed’ Dare will be dead! Which sounds nice and all, but isn’t that the better part of a year? Sure, it’s possible that on the Dark Lord’s planet the moon’s cycle is faster, but it certianly doesn’t sound that way…

Thrill 5 – Thrill 5 – MACH 1 (Hebden/Lozano/Canos/Potter)

When we last saw Probe the death ray was aimed right at his experimental spacecraft. As this episode opens it fires, blowing his ship apart! Probe survives because of his spacesuit, but he’s stuck out there until the Russian spacecraft slides over towards him.

It turns out that the Russians were responsible for the death ray after all, and one of their cosmonauts goes on a spacewalk to finish Probe off with a speargun.

Seriously, a spear gun.

Probe snaps the guy’s air hose and then tosses him off into space, then breaks into the capsule. He kills one cosmonaut, then questions another – and finds he’s got one hell of a problem. Probe’s able to send the death ray into the atmosphere where it breaks up, but now he can’t land! The ship he’s inside doesn’t have manual controls – it’s steered and landed from the Russian space center!

If that’s not bad enough, one of the nuclear subs that was put on alert when the satellite was blown up has had a computer error. They don’t know the war isn’t going to happen – so they’re planning to launch a cruise missile at their assigned target… the very space centre that Probe is about to land at!


Okay… they just wanted candy. Why would you make the candy look like people? Why? And why were you keeping it such a secret that you were controlling them with sugar?

I also don't know why this would ruin the possibility of using the horned beasts as labour, either - as long as you'd killed all the aliens that actually ate human, couldn't you go on feeding the rest jelly babies?

Thrill 6 – Inferno (Tully/Belardinelli/Nuttall)

When we return to the story the trial of the Heroes has already ended with the case against them having been ‘not proven’ to the satisfaction of the ‘controllers’. It seems that half-assed verdict isn’t enough to clear the Heroes’ names in the public’s eye, however. Yup, the whole city of Washington is might pissed about losing money on that game.

Again, I can’t stress how unbelievable it is that any of those bets for (or against) the Wolves were honored. A man clearly sabotaged the entire team and was then blown up. No bookie would ever pay off someone who’d bet on the other team.

The Heroes are desperate to clear their names and get back into the Inferno league… although I’m not entirely sure why. I get wanting to clear their names and all, but they only just started playing Inferno, and fifty percent of their games have ended in a mass slaughter.

Seems like they’d be better off finding another sport.

Still, they wind up deciding to find a team in the only place that makes sense: Slums.

There they find a wildman biker named ‘Rip Venner’, who apparently used to be one of the ‘Justice Judges’! Which I guess were the previous incarnation of Mega City 1’s Justice Department, before the great holocaust. Rip considers their offer, and then the Heroes head back to the Harlem Aerodrome, hoping to see if it could be converted into an Inferno stadium. While there the team is waylaid by a mysterious flying figure!

Although, based on the exposed brain I’m guessing this might be Louis the floating brain’s new body.

Final Thoughts

Best Story: Judge Dredd – Well obviously. It’s Brian Bolland. How could it be anything but the best?

Worst Story: Inferno – Seriously, I don’t care how far in the future this is set, the basic rules about how bets are made wouldn’t be changed this much.

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