Prog 257 from March 1982, a happier gentler time when progs were 16p and all was right with the world (well apart from the fact that we were about to go to war with Argentina). As ever I picked this one up on a jaunt to Orbital comics in central London after stopping off to see the exhibition at the Cartoon Museum first.
Cover is by Jesus Redondo and it’s a stunner with Spider-Nemesis hauling Purity Brown up into his web of despair. Ian Gibson might have had this at the back of his mind when he did his beautiful Halo Jones Tarantula cover on 466. American comics with mostly black covers tend to show their age with every little crinkle or blemish distorting the dark gloss. No such problem back in the bog-prog era so this one still looks great. And there’s a cover speech bubble to add to the fun.
Inside the letter page includes some awesome alliteration from Jim Alexander in Ayrshire. Wonder if that’s the same chap who would go on to write Calhab justice?
Ace Trucking Co by Alan Grant, John Wagner, Massimo Belardinelli and Steve Potter.
It’s the great Mush Rush and Ace and his crew are involved in a huge space assault course race to see who wins a lucrative mail run service. Thank goodness the Royal Mail would ever get involved in something so totally illogical or madcap, or would they?. It’s mayhem all the way with Fatty Arkl pulling the short straw to distract the mighty Titan of Peem so the rest of the space luggers can deliver a letter in a dangerously sited location. Ace Garp can always be relied on for some space laughs and this episode is no exception with Belardinelli’s wonderful art stealing the show.
After an Airfix advert it’s on to.
Future Shock: The Wages of Sin by Alan Moore, Bryan Talbot and Tony Jacob.
One of the classic future shocks from Moore’s planet sized brain, back when he used to be a funny guy. This witty tale of an ordinary bloke’s training at a school for super-villains is beautifully drawn by Talbot and it is one of the most memorial future shocks printed in the history of the prog. It doesn’t quite hit the heights of his Time Twisters ChronoCops or Man Reversible The but it is still marvelous. If only the wizard of Northampton could give us a few of these now and then while he’s working on those 1000 page novels.
Anthrax caught monologuing.
Judge Dredd by Wagner/Grant, Carlos Ezquerra and Tom Frame.
Apocalypse now! Chapter 13 of one of Dredd’s defining epics and it’s the battle of Dan Tanna junction. Every episode of this story is packed with classic moments and this one is no exception. Dredd on his Lawmaster, Stub guns overheating, and Judge Souster’s famous sacrifice play as he takes out the last road links with his Stubby while plummeting to his death. Poor Souster, someone should write a short story about his last moments for the forum competition.
Honestly it is exhilarating to re-read this prog. King Carlos’ art is just lovely to behold, quite how he kept up this level of quality for 25 weeks is beyond me. Top thrill.
Nemesis the Warlock by Pat Mills, Jesus Redondo and Steve Potter
The final episode in Nemesis book 2 delivers pretty much everything we saw on the lovely cover. Torquemada is suitably creepy with his mind transplanted into a spider of Shelob proportions who carries Purity off to his web while Nemesis goes sword to sword with Baruda. There is a little bit of magic hand switching with swords jumping from right to left and back again but it’s all lovely to behold. This old prog goes from strength to strength.
A full page ad for the all new Eagle next with Doomlord, the Mekon, and that silver space spinner to lure us in.
Rogue Trooper by Gerry Finely-Day, Mike Dorey and Bill Nuttall
Bit of strangeness to finish the prog as Rogue is hunted through a forest along with some slave apemen, one of whom tries to finish our hero off but Gunnar saves the day. Not a top installment of Rogue but Tharg was always allowed one slightly sub par strip out of five. However the rest of the prog is sadly lacking in circular Whittle panels but Rogue Trooper saves the day with no less than five!
Pick of the prog is really tough with any of the first four having the right to claim the prize. Dredd just edges out Moore and Talbot for the win. Ah those heady days