Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Prog 10 - Cover

Nice cover by Carlos Ezquerra. Dredd facing off against Call-Me-Kenneth.

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.

Prog 9 - Flesh - Bonus

More artwork for the 'Flesh' game!

Prog 9 - Judge Dredd

Our story opens up at the 'Robot of the Year' show. An onlooker comments that the robot looks like it's crying tears. The salesman confirms it. Yep! It's crying's a new model of robot that's almost human! It can think, it can feel, but most of it obeys!

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'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.

Prog 9 - Mach 1

MACH 1 is back in the thick of the action in Turkostan, which is in the middle of a bloody Civil War.

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

Prog 9 - Dan Dare

Dan has agreed to betray his comrades. Monday doesn't take to kindly to Dares sudden betrayal and proceeds to strangle the life out of him by using the ancient Martian art of Vi-Kin. Dare's Living Axe watches on waiting to be called by his master as Monday holds Dare in a Death-Lock!
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.