Programme 46 (7-Jan-78)


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!

Thrill 1 – Dan Dare (Finley-Day/Gibbons/Gibbons)

With everyone but Dan under the spell of the shining star he has no choice but to be dragged before Dark Lord’s throne in Starslayer City, the capital of planet Starslay.

Yeah, they should have put more work into that. Although it leads me to wonder if Starslay City has any suburbs… schools… apartment buildings. Is there a Starslay county PTA?

Once they’ve been brought before the Dark Lord the villain releases them from the Shining Star’s influence, just so that they can enjoy the full horror of being space-crucified. This proves to have been a poor plan on the Dark Lord’s part, since the earthmen are able to cause enough of a struggle that Dan’s able to switch outfits with a Starslayer captain.

Yup, Dan’s amazing plan is to hide amongst the Starslayers, despite the fact that their helmets don’t have obscuring visors, and he has neither a characteristically flat SS face, or pointed teeth. And yet I’m guessing it’s going to go very well.

Thrill 2 – Future Shock (Lock/Sola/Knight)

A man builds a time machine that’s supposed to take him a million years into the past, but after turning it on he looks out the window, and finds that everything looks normal, so he smashes it.

Ready for the twist?

Yeah. Lame. Who destroys a machine a second after it doesn’t work? He’s never heard to testing and repairs? Also, a million years ago you’d be hard-pressed to find a tyrannosaur or a pteranodon.

Seriously, though – how was the machine supposed to work? He built it in a third-floor apartment and turned it on there. Was it just supposed to move the room? The building? Him? Why does he need to look out the window to confirm it didn’t work – and why does seeing a street out there confirm that it hasn’t?


You know, there’s not enough content here to really comment on, so I’m just going to post these, because come on, it’s a three panel gag strip by Kevin O’Neill. What’s not to love?

Thrill 3 – MACH 1 (MacManus/Sola/Potter)

Tired of waiting for Probe to subdue MACH 0, Sharpe sends a team of marines in to kill the rampaging giant. Luckily this common foe is just the thing Probe needed to convince Zero that they’re on the same side. With the marines unconscious or dead Zero finally believes that Probe is just trying to help him, and heads off in an ambulance to be cured.

Or so Sharpe claims – in point of fact the plan is actually to roll the ambulance down a cliffside path and then have a tank blow it apart.

Seems like overkill to me, but I’ve never tried to kill a MACH man, so what do I know? This betrayal is the last straw – Probe no longer believes that he’s working for the good guys, and suspects that there may even be a MACH 2 waiting in the wings to take him down should he prove troublesome! Which is actually a pretty reasonable thing for the government to do, actually – other than his annoying attitude Probe has been a very successful project, so why wouldn’t they build another one?

But that’s beside the point – what we really want to know is what’s Probe going to do with this new information? Sadly we’re not going to find out next week: Probe’s taking some time off so that a new strip ‘The Visible Man’ can have a slot!

And maybe it’s time someone did, if this is the level of art that they’re going to be offering in MACH 1-

Yes. Those arms are 18 meters long.

Thrill 4 – Judge Dredd (Wagner/Bolland/Jacob)

Continuing this comic’s love affair with hating Howard Hughes (and industrialist billionaires in general, it’s time for Dredd to have a showdown with C.W. Moonie! He also brought Walter along. I don’t remember why, and I’m not going back to check. They rush into his office and see him sitting at the top of a flight of stairs… or do they?

No, they don’t. Also, what’s going on with ‘Lunar Projection’ and how does it differ from a Hologram? I’m guessing it doesn’t. And holograms were commonplace in the Harlem Heroes’ time, fifty years earlier in the same universe.

In Dredd’s subsequent trip through Moonie’s museum to himself we finally discover how he built his empire. It seems that the government (of the world?) had, in 2016, offered a ten million credit prize to the first person who discovered life on the moon. He did, and used that money to get started in buying the moon!

So what was the life he found? A horrible virus!

Yes, it is.

Now that he’s revealed his master plan (to own the moon through evil!), it’s time for the obligatory attempt to kill Dredd. He does so by sealing him in a glass tube and draining the air out – luckily Walter is there to use hypersonics to shatter the glass, and Dredd can take Moonie in.

Yes, take him in. Once again, Dredd has made it through an entire story without killing anyone, stalling that death count at 45. So how does he catch Moonie? Anticlimactically!

You saw that. His head is so heavy that when he tried to flee it caused him to fall over. This isn’t exactly the standard for villainy, is it?

Thrill 5 – Invasion (Finley-Day/Clough/Knight)

So Rosa’s back, and she’s got a plan to take care of Savage, Silk, and Prince John! But just what is that plan? It seems we’re going to have to wait to discover, because she spends this week dicking around for no good reason.

She sends some teams out with cameras so she can observe their attempts to capture him – Savage escapes one team by driving along something called ‘Solway Firth’ just before a huge tide sweeps across the road.

A second team is ready to snipe Savage’s truck, killing the hell out of all of them, but Rosa detonates their camera – it seems she wants Savage caught using her clever plan, and is willing to kill anyone who gets in the way of that, including her own men! Is Savage finally up against a villain worthy of him?

I’d be more convinced of that concept if last time around she hadn’t been defeated in a mud-wrestling competition by a sideshow freak.

Just saying.

Thrill 6 – Inferno (Tully/Belardinelli/Frame)

The Heroes (sorry, ‘Hellcats’) are in a holographic entertainment arcade, about to be pummeled by solid imitation meteorites! With huge pieces of stone ricocheting everywhere around the room things look pretty grim for Giant and company – until Moody Blu, their ‘Cave Man’ remembers that it’s his job to catch giant pieces of metal rocketing at his head. He grabs one of the meteors and throws it into the cannon, destroying the entire setup!

They chase Cullen (the arcade’s manager) back into the ground of the Crystal Maze, which has been evacuated of all the paying customers while the Hellcats were busy being attacked. This leaves Cullen free and clear to play his trump card – in addition to all of the innocuous attractions in the Crystal Maze, for some reason Cullen also maintains an army of killer robots, which he’s dispatched to kill the Hellcats!

I’m sure that they’re going to be defeated rather easily next week, but right now let’s just marvel at the wonderful insanity of those robot designs. Who’s your favorite? Scissorsteinhands? Wheelarm? I’m personally rooting for good old Skateboardfeet.

Final Thoughts

Best Story: Judge Dredd – I’m not a fan of Dredd’s continuing insistence on not killing people, but I am a fan of C.W. Moonie’s design. In fact, let’s get another look at that.

Worst Story: Future Shock – It was like four panels long, and still managed to pack a crazy amount of stupid in.

In other news, a new card game starts this week! I’ll let you know when all of the pieces have been printed out, and put out a printable version of it for everyone, like we did for the Flesh! game all those weeks ago.

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