Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Prog 9 - Flesh

To stop the kid from being further physically abused by his father, and to stop the father from being further mentally abused by his son...Slick Parsons, the tour courier, steps in to diffuse the situation. He takes the brat, Orville, to the drivers cab in the front of the train so he can see how the train is run. But Orville is still running his mouth off. Arrogant punk!The driver shows Orville the Tryanno Horn, the horn bellows like a huge female tryannosaur and causes the other dinosaurs to panic and stay off the tracks. Of course, the driver lets Orville try it as the train comes to a stop so the 'tourists' can get off and stretch their legs as well as get snapshots of the dinosaurs. Bad idea!

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

Prog 9 - Invasion

Silk tells Savage that he has a surprise waiting for him when they return to their base. The surprise is a Royal Navy Underwater team. They have scuba gear and limpet mines and they're going to blow The Volga out of the water.

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

Prog 9 - Cover

A classic 2000ad cover.
One of my favorites. Everything about this cover just screams cool for me. Dave Gibbons art just pops from the page. A definite stand out on the newsstands.

Prog 8 - Bonus

How cool is it to have one of your own designs fully drawn out by Kevin O'Neill and published in a comic book for all your friends to see?

Another reason why 2000ad is the Galaxy's Greatest Comic.

Prog 8 - Flesh - Bonus

Artwork for the 'Flesh' game cards!

Prog 8 - Judge Dredd

Dredd gets the call from HQ just as the car drives past him. Dredd turns off his lawmaster lights, switches on his infra-red night sight on his helmet and follows at a distance behind the stolen of art. It's not the first car 'Art theft' in that sector and he wants to get to the Mr. Big and his cronies behind the crimes.

The car pulls into Krilz Kars Auto 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 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.

Prog 8 - MACH 1

Probe sets off to hand over the ransom. His contact arrives on a motorbike. Probe asks where the girl is and the contact tells him that he has only one thing for him and he pulls a gun. But Probe is quicker than his would-be assassin...
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.

Fantastic stuff.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Prog 8 - Dan Dare

Ziggy has incapacitated the Shepherd and she takes control of the ship by plugging the ships controls into her head! She closes all the airlocks, crushing and stopping the Biogs from entering the ship.
She wonders how long they can hold out before the Biogs break through. Meanwhile, Dan and the rest of the Jupiter survey party have seen the Odyssey get swallowed whole by the Biog ship and Dan decides to follow them, even though a member of the crew wants to cut and run.

They enter the Biog ship and embark to find the Odyssey. As they make their way to find the ship, they are 'attacked' by the Biog ships anti-bodies.
They are taken to what looks like a vast junction of's the ships brain! The 'blobs' dissolve and a huge voice booms in the 'spacers' minds..."Hear me. intruders...I am the mind of the are at my mercy.." Dare is obstinate...the 'mind' lashes out.
Dare asks the 'mind' what does it want. It responds..."FUEL!". It tells Dare that if he can get the crew of the Odyssey out of the ship that he will reward him with 'everlasting life'. Monday is amazed that the 'mind' has displayed a human characteristic...Betrayal.

To the crews amazement, Dare thinks it's a good idea. Hmmm...Seems that after last issues coolness of the Living Axe we've gone back to mediocrity. Oh well. Only Belardinelli's funky cosmic art is saving this strip at the moment.

Prog 8 - Harlem Heroes

Giant has saved himself from a deathly fall. Holding on to a Siberian Wolf he manages to grab hold of the aeroball between his legs and score an airstrike. As he scores, he lets go of the player and falls again...but this time Slim has maneuvered himself underneath Giant and Giant is saved again!
The Umpire allows Giants score to stand even though it was highly irregular. Giant calls a time-out so he can get a replacement jet-pack.

At the relaunch of the game, it's becoming obvious that the Heroes are tiring. Each Russian players is a fresh subsitute and it's having it's toll on the Heroes. The Wolves smash through the Harlem defence but Giant kicks the ball out from the opposition players hands, it slams agains the recoil-surface and falls into the hands of Slim...who puts it away for another strike!
To the Heroes relief the time-up buzzer goes off and they have won the game 3-1! They've booked themselves a place in the second round!

The team fly down to the pit crew to change. Giant asks one of the crew what was wrong with his jet-pack. The crew member tells him that there was nothing wrong with it. Giant chalks it down to dirty fuel but King interjects that it wasn't dirty fuel. That Giants hunch about the team getting bumped off is true. First it was the road crash, then the faulty jeptpack...Giant now knows that something else is coming down the line.

They leave the Russina Aerodrome and head back Stateside.

Another great early 2000ad villain is about to make his entrance...Artie Gruber!
Gruber is a murder crazy cyborg lunatic that hates the Harlem Heroes and Giant in particular. I'm really looking forward to reading the next part of the Harlem Heroes. Gruber was always one of my favorite villains and one who I had fond memories of. Lets hope when I re-read this story, he has lived up to the hype of those memories.

Again, really good storytelling by Tully and Gibbons. We also get confirmation from the last couple of panels that Louis and Giant aren't paranoid. Someone is out to kill off the Heroes!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Prog 8 - Flesh

Reagan pushes Carver aside and rushes to try and help the doc. Carver tells him to leave him, that he's only dead weight. Reagan kills the snake but for the's too late.
The 'somethin'' coming through the jungle is none other than Old One Eye. She has picked up the humans scent again.

Reagan, Carver and the three rangers that are left hop on a raft and start to make their way across the river away from Old One Eye...but...
The raft is too heavy and it's not going fast enough. Old One Eye is going to catch them unless they do something. Carver obliges by pushing one of the rangers into the water claiming it was accidental...that he 'slipped!'

One human down, four to go.
Reagan has had enough of Carver's treachery but Carver tells him to 'Quit beefing and let's go...we can travel faster now!'

But there is another threat to Reagan and company. A Phobosuchus flips the raft over. The men try and swim for the shore.

Another man gone, three to go!
Joe helps Carver, who can't swim, reach the shore safely.

Meanwhile, Old One Eye and the Phobosuchus turn on each other.
The battle is short. Old One Eye wins and continues her pursuit of the hated humans.

Meanwhile on the far side of the swamp, Carver thanks Joe for saving his life and hopes to return the favor some day. Reagan is sick and tired of Old One Eye hunting them down...there has to be a final reckoning. Carver taunts him...

Reagan tells Carver to put his money where his mouth is. He has a plan. There are some spike plants in a pit up ahead. While Old One Eye is feasting on the prehistoric crocodile, he's going to cover the spike plants and then, hopefully, Old One Eye will fall into his trap. They get everything prepared just in time as Old One Eye approaches.

Old One Eye stops in her tracks. Something doesn't look right to her. Hidden,Reagan, Carver and Joe watch from a distance. Carver tells Reagan that it's not going to work. She's suspicious.

Reagan breaks cover. maybe if Old One Eye catches sight of him...
Reagan is right. Old One Eye has fallen into the trap.
Good episode.

The death count for Flesh must be pretty high by now. Three people bite the dust in this installment and not all of them by Old One Eye. You get the sense from this strip that death can come for you at any time and no-one is safe...not even Reagan, Joe or Carver.

Now that Reagan has caught Old One Eye...what's next?

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Prog 8 - Invasion

Savage and a small convoy of buses are stopped at the entrance to the airport by Volgan soldiers. A soldier tells Savage that civilians aren't allowed into the airport. Savage tells him otherwise...
After shooting the Volgan in the face, Savage goes full throttle towards the Concorde MkIII. His second in command, Silk, and the rest of the Mad Dogs are onboard the bus...they smash the bus windows and fire on the Volgan troops.

Silk thinks Savage is crazy to try and hijack the Concorde because the concorde is Marshal Vaskhovs personal plane and it is heavily guarded. No problem for Bill...he swerves the bus right into the guards.
With the guards gotten rid of, Savage starts unloading the buses and ushering the refugees onboard the Concorde. Their destination is Canada. A refugee tells Savage that he'll give the 'King across the water' his regards.

One of the refugees is a trained pilot. He tells Savage that once they get airborne, nothing can stop them from getting to Canada.

The concorde is ready for take off. Savage and his men get back aboard a bus and make themselves scarce before more Volgans arrive. As they leave the airport they see overhead...
Savage tells Silk to forget about the refugees and enjoy the fireworks. Silk is outraged...He thinks that Bill is a cold hearted swine, that the refugees will be massacred!

The Volgan jets launch their heat seeking missiles. The concorde looks doomed but...
Another decent episode of 'Invasion'. I like Savages inventiveness here. It shows that he's not just all brawn and we are given another glimpse of the reason Savage fights and why he fights so hard.

It is interesting to me that people keep underestimating Savages intellect. The brigadier did when he first joined the resistance and now Silk has. Savage just seems full of surprises. It's like he was born to cause mayhem. I find a lot of similarities between Bill Savage and Marvel Comics Punisher 'Frank Castle'. They seem to be both cut from the same cloth.

Gerry Finley-Day has turned in a good script and Mike Doreys art suits it perfectly.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Prog 8 - Cover

What a shame! We've had two good covers in a row and we end up with this one. It looks kind of slapped together for me. And they really should have tried to get Sola to do the cover and not Boix. Sola's dinosaurs look so much more menacing!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Prog 7 - Flesh - Bonus!

An ad for next issues 'Flesh' game. Obviously this was filler. The cartoon gags look completely out of place for 2000ad and more suited for 'Buster' or 'Monster Fun'.

Prog 7 - Judge Dredd

A gang of muggers are working over a victim near the Statue of Judgement until Dredd arrives.
Dredd kills one, another surrenders and the last member makes a run for it. The gang member that surrenders asks Dredd to let him go because he was forced into going along with the gang. But Dredd isn't buying it "and they forced you to take your share of the loot, too? Don't make me sick!"

Dredd has the regular cops take the criminal way. Meanwhile, the escaped gang member, Ringo, has hijacked an 'air' taxi, basically a flying cab, and starts shooting up the city. Ringo hates the Judges and "all they stand for".

Dredd takes his lawrifle from his lawmaster. Ringo is raining down bullets on Dredd...but Dredd is calm.
He goes to the top of the Statue of Judgment, takes aim, and blasts Ringo out of the sky. Ringo falls...impaling himself on the Statue of Liberty.
And we end with typical Dredd humor.
Very straightforward Dredd story.

It features the first appearance of The Statue of Judgement and it's appropriate that it towers over the Statue of Liberty.

This must have been drawn before Ezquerras cityscape was done because it looks like the buildings were added in later into the background on the splash page. We have police officers show up to take away the lawbreaker. The police weren't phased out that this stage.

Also of note is the criminals comments that "He ain't a robot - he's human! I think!" The reason is that the further Dredd develops...he seems more machine than man.