Monday, August 24, 2009
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
This would be Ezquerras last Dredd for almost five years. Ezquerra would go back to drawing for Battle and would then go on to create 'Strontium Dog' with John Wagner for Starlord before coming back to 2000ad.
Dredd and another Judge observe this hideous act.
Suddenly, the perp they were looking for makes his play and starts gunning down guards at the robot show. Dredd and fellow Judge, Diablo, respond.
Their perp is a cripple in a robo-chair! The judges bullets can't penetrate the chairs shield. The perp is angry because the ransom wasn't paid and releases a poison gas into the air. Dredd manages to pull down his respirator but for Diablo, it's too late. To save the rest of the people at the show, Dredd blasts a hole in the showdome and the gas is let out. Mega-City's air purification system should take care of it.
But it's too late...
The perp had dropped a blanket in the confusion and now Dredd has a 'Police Bloodhound Robot' to take up the scent.
The bloodhound follows Dredds orders and informs Dredd that they'll intercept the perp in a matter of seconds but, disturblingly, asks Dredd in a proud way 'Am I not clever?' Dredd tells the machine to get on with it's job.
Dredd catches up to the perp and realising that he can't shoot through the robo-chairs shield...he can still shoot the robo-chair!
The robo-chair swerves off the road and crashes, killing the perp, and Dredd makes an astute observation.
A nice precursor to the first Dredd 'mini' Epic 'The Robot Wars'.
The Robot Wars signals the return of John Wagner to writing Dredd although this wasn't his first Dredd script. His first was 'Brainblooms' from Prog 18.
Typical early Wagner Dredd is Dredds comment to Diablo after they see the show robot melt...'I prefer old fashioned robots! Stupid things with no feelings. They cause no problems!'. Which probably goes a long way to explain Dredds 'relationship' with Walter.
The artwork on this strip is by Ron Turner. Turner is totally unsuitable for a Dredd strip and tries his best but it's not good...it's awful. He even manages to make Kevin O'Neills designs for the Heavy Metal Kids look dull and lifeless and that 'Bloodhound Robot' looks all kinds of out of place.
Turner is probably best known for his Rick Random:Space Detective strip, which is quiet good...but his Dredd...the less said the better.
What is he doing there? All is revealed on the second page...
Probe grabs one of the soldiers from the destroyed vehicle and gets the information he needs...the whereabouts of the Professor. As he's getting the information, he sees the reflection of another soldier about to 'sneak' up behind him.
Probe spins around and despatches the guy with a hyper-powered bitch slap!
MACH 1's computer brain reminds him of the seriousness of his mission. He must get to the scientist before he can develop a home-made atomic bomb and trigger World War Three!
Probe sneaks into the Black Mosque and breaks into the vault where Nansen is in hiding. After killing the guard with a hyper-powered chop to the neck, he strangles Nansen until he falls into a mild coma, throws the professor over his shoulder and makes his escape!
But it's not going to be that easy. Nansen managed to get a call out to the military, and now three tanks are blocking Probes way. They tell Probe that they will blow him away if they don't let the Professor go. Probe, realises that even he can't fight three tanks...but his computer brain gives him an idea. He puts Nansen in one of the jeeps. Nansen is still out cold. A countdown has begun for Probe to hand over the Professor, but MACH 1 is having none of it. Initially having trouble to start up the jeeps...everything falls into place and Probe goes on the offensive.
As the jeeps reach 70mph, Probe slams one of the jeeps into the pillar causing it to destroy the three tanks...
...and Probe makes his getaway, with Nansen unconscious, in the second jeep.
Run of the mill stuff for MACH 1. I liked that he was back in Turkostan because it adds some sort of continuity to the strip.
His banter back and forth with his computer is getting more interesting for me. He seems to be always reming his brain that he's human and has a right to get angry, tell jokes etc. The machine is constantly reminding him that he can't consider himself human anymore because of his hyper-powered body and mind.
One thing does puzzle me though...why would the tanks fire on Probe if Nansen is so important? Oh well, it didn't spoil my enjoyment of the strip...just struck me as odd.
The script is by the ever reliable John Wagner and the art is by John Cooper. Again, Coopers art is fantastic and really suits the MACH 1 strip.
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
Dare whispers to Monday that he was playing the Biog Mind and Monday agrees to surrender on behalf of all his crew. The Biog Mind is pleased. Meanwhile while the Odyssey is being attacked by Biogs...
Dan orders the Odyssey to stop firing and when he gives the word they are to warp themselves off planet asap! Commander Milton tells Dare that they tried warping out before but the ships hull won't take it. Finally with himself and the landing party onboard, Dan tells Milton to feed all the ships power to the warp drive including the power for lights and airsystem etc.
The Biog Mind, betrayed, screams in pain as the Odyssey warps (burns) its way out of the Biog Mothership!
Milton congratulates Dare and Monday...he thinks the worst is over and done with as a mass fleet of earth starships arrive. But it's only the beginning of a bigger battle and Dare and crew are caught in the middle.
So ends another craptacular episode of Dan Dare.
The Biog Mind is one dumb alien. Why didn't the Mind have some Biogs escort Dare to and on the ship to make sure he complied with the Minds wishes?
Again the crew refer to Dare as DD. Way too casual and they take orders from him even though Monday is their commanding officer. Monday has been relegated to being Dan Dares bitch!
And is that a shower head that Rodann is using on Milton? Weird!
One cool thing from this progs strip is The Living Axe waiting in the wings to be called to his masters side. That was cool...a shame the axe didn't follow Dare back onto the ship. It would have been great to see it pop up now and again in future Dare stories.
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
Meanwhile the Heroes have arrived back in the States and are given a fantastic welcome home by the people of Harlem. They even have a flying kid escort. Giant wonders how the kids can afford those jet-packs and he gets his answer...Ulysses Cord!
Cord had bought the superliner for the Heroes and now he's equipped the kids of the ghetto with jet packs so they can welcome their aeroball stars in style. Giant is a bit uncomfortable whenever Cord is around.
Cord lays on the patriotism real thick as he congratualtes the Heroes on beating the 'hordes of Soviet Russia!'.
He tells Giant that he has a ten million dollar side bet with Cyrus Teegarten, a millionaire rancher and owner of the 'Montezuma Mashers' that the Heroes will win their next game against Teegartens team.
Two days later...the Heroes are getting ready for their game.
Giant gives Hairy a brief history of Cyrus Teegarten and how he created the Ancient Order of Aztecs when he found out that his ranch lay on the site of an ancient Aztec temple. Now the stadium is a trendy site for the filthy rich to hang around in. They're so rich that they decorate their masks (masks used to protect their faces from stray aeroballs) with with gold and jewels.
Artie Gruber has disguised himself using one of the face masks and takes his place among the crowd as the 'Montezuma Mashers' make their entrance.
The Heroes can't believe their eyes at how 'zany' the Mashers uniforms are. Zack says that they look like 'armoured Turkeys, just askin' to be plucked!'
In typical eccentric millionaire style, Teegarten offers his team a thousand dollar bonus for whoever gets the most airstrikes against the Heroes.
The game starts and Artie makes his move.
What an entrance by one of my favorite early 2000ad villians - Artie Gruber. Artie doesn't even bother to stop and chat. He's got a one track mind...Destroy the Harlem Heroes!
Nice episode. The story seems to be gathering a bit more pace. Arties intro is hilarious because he doesn't even stop to find out where he is, what's going on etc...he just has murder on his mind. The medics that revive him seem to be total idiots. They never asked who wanted Artie revived, why does the mysterious person want the Heroes dead?...and now they could be accessories to murder.
Artie is so whacky that he wears a face mask to sneak into the stadium but then, once inside, discards it. What was the point of wearing one in the first place?
I like how Tully writes about Teegarten..the guy is so filthy rich that he sets up his own 'Ancient Order' and in complete showboating of how rich he is...he offers a huge bonus to any player that gets the most airstrikes. I love how the stadium is so built for snobs that the outside temple steps are actually elevators into the stadium.
Nice writing and great artwork by Gibbons. I love Artie Grubers overall look and design.
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Meanwhile, not so far away...Reagan, Claw and Joe hear the tryanno horn. Claw thinks it's another tryannosaur but Reagan recognises the sound as that of the 'Dino-Express'. They come out of the clearing to see passengers walking around outside the train. Reagan can't believe it...he yells at the tour guide to get them back on the train.
Orville tempts fate...
Back in the pit where Old One Eye was left to die...she was too big to fall fully to the bottom and, hearing the Tryanno Horn, she's incensed that another female tryannosaur might be moving in on her territory, she manages to climb her way out of the pit.
She makes her way towards to train.
The passengers get back aboard the train as more Tryannosaurs, attracted to the trains horn, join Old One Eye. Carver takes charge...
With everyone back on board and Claw holding them off the train takes off with Reagan in the drivers seat. The Tryannosaurs can't catch up to the train.
In her frustration, Old One Eye lashes out with her tail causing a rockslide. The avalanche covers the tracks in front of the train and there's no way the train can barrel through them. The train comes to a grinding halt...
The tyrannosaurs have caught up...and Old One Eye will have her feast!
This episode seems to be more of a cautionary tale. The annoying brat kid, Orville, gets eaten in the end and his abusive father gets eaten before he can get back on the train. (Well, I'd like to think that was him getting the chomp!) I fully believe that if Old One Eye didn't eat the little prat then Claw carver would definitely done something to put the kid in his place.
Again, we have Reagan being a complete moron by not checking that Old One Eye was dead. Then again, he's not the only one...Carver should have checked too. I get he feeling that it's one time too many for Reagans screw-ups and it's eventually going to return to haunt him.
I also can't figure out how Old One Eyes tail could cause an avalanche, and an avalanche in front of the train with the train already speeding away from her. Creative license, I suppose.
And am I the only one to think that a time travel holiday like this one is a really, really bad idea!
The art by Boix is really good. I love the image of Carver firing the guns from the train. That would make a great T-shirt image. Top notch stuff.
Monday, April 20, 2009
Silk was an ex-army officer and he was trained in underwater demolition. He tells Savage that he can't join the party because he doesn't have the necessary skills.
Later, at the docks, with The Volga approaching, Silk and his team dive into the water. Savage watches from a distance. He has a plan just in case Silk and his crew fail to sink the ship.
As Silk and his frogmen approach the Volga, the Admiral onboard has been informed that six frogmen are approaching their vessel. He gives the order to use the ships sonic weapons.
Silk is the only survivor. He is taken onboard the ship for interrogation. After witnessing Silks failure, Savage executes his own plan. Using the cranes on the docks...Savage and his men swing into action. As Savage sweeps the deck clear of Volgans. The Admiral makes himself scarce and hids below deck. Savage swings aboard his special cargo...oil! This should take care of everything. Savage orders his men off the ship and he ignites the oil. Mission accomplished!
Fairly run-of-the-mill Invasion story. Nothing much to say here. Although the Bil Savage saying 'Hello Sailor...' is all kinds of disturbing!
The art by Carlos Pino is serviceable but kind of forgettable.
Thursday, April 16, 2009
The car pulls into Krilz Kars Auto Market...as Krilz appears he notices Judge Dredd walking towards the building. He shouts for the doors to be shut...but Dredd uses a high explosive and blasts the doors apart. He enters and tells Krilz that he's under arrest. Krilz orders one of his men to shoot Dredd with his 'plastic skin spray-gun' Dredd is blinded and Krilz men move in for the kill, but before they do, they want Dredd to remove his helmet...Dredd obliges, to the shock and horror of Krilz and his gang.
With the gang in shock...Dredd guns them down. He removes the plastic from his helmet, puts it back on and pursues an escaping Krilz!
Outside Krilz is on a high speed 'walk-eezee' (A moving sidewalk)trying to escape Dredd. He shouts at Dredd that he'll never catch him. Dredd has other ideas and orders the walk-eezee to go in reverse. Dredd gets his man.
This is the worst Dredd story to date. Dredds quip at the end about the law should never be put in reverse just made me groan out loud. This was Charles Herring's only Dredd story and thank Grud for that. This was simply horrifying. Herring only wrote one more script for 2000ad and it's a MACH 1 script in Prog 12....my money is on it being really bad too.
The problem with the script is...everything! Since when is grand theft auto a 'art' crime? Doesn't make sense, and then we have Dredd take off his helmet to reveal his face. I think at this time they were toying around with the idea that Dredd is a cyborg or an alien or something that makes his face so shocking for people to look at. Really stupid idea. It's not the first time Dredd would remove his helmet but the other times make more sense than this idiotic one.
It seems that Mills was scraping the bottom of the barrel to run this story. He must have sighed a huge sigh of relief when Wagner returned with 'Robots' in the next prog.
Art wise, it's horrible too. Not Belardinellis best work and it looks totally unsuitable for Dredd. It's so lifeless and stale. You can tell that Belardinelli was trying his hardest to imitate McMahon in some of his Dredd poses. It just didn't work for him.
Probe asks again where the girl is. He tells Probe where they are keeping her. Probe knocks him out. (Although, it looks like he's breaking the guys neck in this panel...maybe they decided to censor it and have John just 'put him to sleep for a while' instead.)
MACH 1 then disguises himself as the bike rider and drives up to the villa passing a guard on the way. But not everything is going to work out the way he wants it. Two guards ahead of him flag him down. They want to know if he got the money. Probe doesn't stop and drives right past them. The guards now know he's an imposter and open fire.
Inside the Villa the rest of the kidnappers hear the shooting outside. Pilar, they're leader, has Maria by the hair and holds a knife up to her throat.
Probe is going to have to move fast...
and he does...
The bike crashes on top of the gunmen. Pilar is all that's left. Pilar tells Probe to back off or she'll cut up Maria's face so badly that she'd look beautiful in comparison. Probe is having none of it. He tells her to go ahead and while she's carving up Marias face to take note of what he can do to her when she's done. He lifts up the motorbike he crashed into the villa with and crushes it with his bare hands in front of her.
With Pilars surrender and Maria saved, Probes 'mission' is over.
This episode was a tough one to leave any artwork out. John Coopers pages are so dynamic and action packed. He did a really fantastics job at making the story flow at a breakneck speed. His page layouts are fantastic for this five and a half pager.
It's a fairly straight forward MACH 1 story. Although, I wonder what happened to the guards that were chasing Probe before he reached the Villa. Seems like a loose end that didn't get tidied up.
No real advancement of Probes character here, it's not the first time that Probe has done a mission for 'personal' reasons, and it's a basic 'paint by numbers' plotline. It's Coopers artwork that really makes this average story shine.