Friday, 10 October 2014

Judge Dredd: The Mega-Rackets, Crime File: 1 - The Body Sharks, Part 1

NAME
Judge Dredd: The Mega-Rackets, Crime File: 1 - The Body Sharks, Part 1

FIRST PUBLISHED
2000 AD Featuring Judge Dredd Prog 209

DATELINE
25 Apr 81

This prog also featured Tharg's Future Shocks, Meltdown Man, Return To Armageddon and Tharg The Mighty.

PAGE COUNT
6

REPRINTS
The Best of 2000AD 31, The Complete Judge Dredd 20, Judge Dredd's Crime Files 3, Judge Dredd Mega City Vice Book 1 and Judge Dredd The Complete Case Files 05.

SYNOPSIS
A examination of the victims and perpetrators of body sharking.

FIRSTS & LASTS
The first of The Mega-Rackets, a collection of two-parters highlighting different facets of organised crime in Mega-City One. The first mention of bodShampaine (not yet Shampagne) and the first Judge Dredd by Colin Wilson.

INFORMATION
Mega-City One's Pellmell Street has a Ratner body outlet. There is a Xyklobs factory in the Mega-City. Sedgewick, Hedgewick, Fuster & Frome is a Mega-City One law firm.

Homes for the semi-dead place the dying in suspended animation so their last few hours can become years. The patient is injected with cryogenic drugs and quick frozen with liquid nitrogen. Cut-price homes for the semi-dead, such a Ratner's Rest Home, offer this service on a budget and often have a sideline in body sharking.

Body sharking is the illegal dealing in the bodies of living humans. In 2103, it has the highest growth rate among Mega-City One's organised crime rackets. Statistically one in four of Mega-City One's citizens will have dealings with a body shark during their lifetime. Body sharks will lend money take a living person as security and charge astronomical interest rates.

Shampaine is a beverage often drunk in celebration. A flying forklift is a heavy lifting apparatus that flies.


JUDGE DREDD
He catches the Mungo brothers attempting to rob a bullion van.

OTHER CHARACTERS
MR HEINZ
He wants a job at the Xyklobs Factory and is willing to have his wife frozen in exchange for 5000 credits to bribe the foreman into giving him the job. He is later mugged by another unsuccessful job applicant.

REMINGTON RATNER
He controls most of Mega-City One's body outlets. He lends the Mungo brothers 100,000 credits to finance a heist, but wants them to pay back double by the end of the week. He is represented by Sedgewick, Hedgewick, Fuster & Frome.

THE MUNGO BROTHERS
Three brothers. They borrow 100,000 credits from Ratner offering their elderly widow mother as security. They buy a case of Shampaine to celebrate and hire a flying forklift to do the job. The bullion van they intend to steal is heavier than expected and the forks gets jammed. They are unable to escape and are caught by Judge Dredd. He kills one, Vince, and arrests the other two.

ARRESTS
Two. The two surviving Mungo brothers are arrested by Dredd and sentenced to twenty years.

DEATHS
Two. Dredd shoots Vince Mungo dead during the heist. Ma Mumgo's body is later found on the Mega-Way.

BEST LINES
Heinz: "When I get the job I'll work like mad, Hilda! I'll have you back home in a year - three at most. It'll all be for the best, you'll see."
Hilda: "You've explained it all to me before, dear. Don't forget to water the plants."

WORST LINES
Job applicant: "Bash their thieving heads in!"

CATCHPHRASES
None.

CONTINUITY & CROSSOVERS
None.

INFLUENCES & REFERENCES
Unknown.

MISTAKES
None.

RETROSPECT
None.

NOTES
None.

CREDITS
Script: T.B. Grover
Artist: Colin Wilson
Letters: Tom Frame

REVIEW
This is fantastic. The artwork is great and the narrative balances the plight of Citizen Heinz, the greed of Ratner and the stupidity of the Mumbo brothers brilliantly.

Thursday, 9 October 2014

The ABC Warriors: 'Mongrol', Part 2

NAME
The ABC Warriors: 'Mongrol', Part 2

FIRST PUBLISHED
2000 AD Featuring Judge Dredd Prog 122

DATELINE
21 Jul 79

PAGE COUNT
6

REPRINTS
A.B.C. Warriors Book 1, A.B.C. Warriors Mek-nificent Seven and A.B.C. Warriors The Meknificent Seven

SYNOPSIS
Hammer-Stein attempts to recruit Mongrol, fights with Mongrol, fights Volgs with Mongrol, then recruits Mongrol.

FIRSTS & LASTS
First appearance of 'Monkey' Bombs and Lara from beyond the grave, as well as the first mention of Deadlock.

INFORMATION
Volg Kommandos are sometimes armed with Atom-Mek 'Monkey' Bombs, so named because once they land on individuals and "you never get them off" before they explode. Volg Deathdozers are large vehicles

Allied forces use Battle Cannons, Cry Baby Mortars and Moleks.

HAMMER-STEIN
He has heard of Deadlock. Hammer-Stein finds Mongrol breaking out of an allied supply dump. When Hammer-Stein mentions Lara, Mongrol attacks him, but when a group of Volg Kommandos attack they fight them together. He saves Mongrol from a pair of Volgan deathdozers. The Volgan forces flee and the weapons dump is saved. Mongrol is not grateful, but Hammer-Stein convinces him that he must join the ABC Warriors to pay off his debt.

HAPPY SHRAPNEL
He and Joe Pineapples initially don't fight as Hammer-Stein takes on Mongrol, but they join in when the Volgs attack.

JOE PINEAPPLES
He and Happy Shrapnel initially don't fight as Hammer-Stein takes on Mongrol, but they join in when the Volgs attack.

OTHER CHARACTERS
MONGROL
He feels no pain and can smash through walls. He breaks into an allied supply dump to steal weapons for his one-man war against the Volgans. He mounts the guns upon his body. When Hammer-Stein mentions Lara, Mongrol attacks him, but when a group of Volg Kommandos attack they fight them together. Hammer-Stein saves him from a pair of Volgan deathdozers. He is not grateful, but Hammer-Stein convinces him that he must join the ABC Warriors to pay off his debt.

HAMMER-STEIN'S SUPERIOR
The mysterious human officer contacts Hammer-Stein after he has successfully recruited Mongrol. He orders that the fifth member of the team is to be Deadlock

DEADLOCK
The Grand Wizard of the Order of Knights Martial.

DEATHS
At least six. An MP is killed by a 'Monkey' bomb. Mongrol smushes a Volgan and the two deathdozer drivers are killed when their vehicles crash. There are at east two more bodies on the ground.

BEST LINES
Happy Shrapnel (indicating his gun): "C'mon Volgs, this'll bring tears to your eyes!"

WORST LINES
Volg Deathdozer driver: "Ha! We have some sport with this animal!"

CATCHPHRASES
"Mongrol smush" twice, "Bzzzz!" once.

CONTINUITY & CROSSOVERS
None.

INFLUENCES & REFERENCES
Unknown.

MISTAKES
None.

RETROSPECT
Here we see that that Lara has made an even larger impact on Mongrol than Part 1 implied.

NOTES
None.

CREDITS
Script: P. Mills
Artist: M. McMahon
Letters: Pete Knight

REVIEW
Part 2 achieves a huge amount in just six pages and the battle sequences are great.

Next Prog:- Meet Deadlock!

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

The ABC Warriors: 'Mongrol', Part 1

NAME
The ABC Warriors: 'Mongrol', Part 1

FIRST PUBLISHED
2000 AD & Starlord Prog 121

DATELINE
14 July 79

PAGE COUNT
6

REPRINTS
A.B.C. Warriors Book 1, A.B.C. Warriors Mek-nificent Seven and A.B.C. Warriors The Meknificent Seven.

SYNOPSIS
Hammer-Stein reads up on Mongrol.

FIRSTS & LASTS
First appearance of Mongrol and Lara.

INFORMATION
Zarnhem is a Volgan settlement. During the war it was subject to an airborne assault by robo-paratroopers.

Military Police, abbreviated to MP, have been nicknamed 'bogies by robots, and drive flying vehicles accordingly dubbed 'Bogey Buggies'.

Robo-Paratroopers' heads have special armour plating to protect them.

The Volg Secret Police use electro-raks to torture robots.

SERGEANT HAMMER-STEIN
He has been provided with a file on Mongrol and ordered to recruit him. He is determined to recruit Mongrol alone.

HAPPY SHRAPNEL
He listens to Hammer-Stein reading Mongrol's file.

JOE PINEAPPLES
He drives Hammer-stein and Happy Shrapnel toward Mongrol's location.

OTHER CHARACTERS
MONGROL
A Robo-Paratrooper. He participated in the airborne assault on Zarnhem. His plane was destroyed and he fell to Earth. His parachutes failed to open and his body was destroyed by the fall. His head remained functional and he lay in agony for a week. Lara rebuilds him using robot remains, but his electric motor won't start. Unable to move he is discovered by the Volg Secret Police and tortured on the electro-rak. The rak starts his motor and he kills the Volg police. When he discovers that they killed Lara, he buries her and set on a course of action: to kil Volgs and avenge her. The allies were afraid of Mongrol and tried to kill him.

He escapes, but is captured by Military Police. Mongrol destroys the police vehicle and allows the MPs to flee.

LARA
Her mother and father were shot by the Volgans for resisting. During the Volgan War she was a Battle-Comber. She and her aunt discover Mongrol's head following the airborne assault on Zarnhem and her aunt hopes to sell it to the Volgans. She rebuilds him from robot remains.



DEATHS
Six. The Volg Secret Police are all presumably killed by Mongrol, after they themselves killed Lara and her aunt.

BEST LINES
Happy Shrapnel: "Now lt's get this- Bzzz! - right, Sarge... Our new human officer wants you to form a special squad of ABC Warriors for a highly dangerous mission..."
Hammer-Stein: "That's right..."

WORST LINES
Ally (off): "Kill the metal freak! It's too dangerous to live!

CATCHPHRASES
Happy Shrapnel says "Bzzz!" and "Bzzzz!", while Mongrol says "Mongrol smush!" twice.

CONTINUITY & CROSSOVERS
None.

INFLUENCES & REFERENCES
Unknown.

MISTAKES
None.

RETROSPECT
None.

NOTES
A drogue parachute is designed to be deployed from a rapidly moving object in order to slow its descent, to provide control and stability, or as a pilot parachute to deploy a larger parachute. It was invented by Gleb Kotelnikov in Russia (1872-1944) in 1912.

CREDITS
Script: Pat Mills
Artist: Mike McMahon
Letters: Peter Knight

REVIEW
The art is mostly stunning, particularly Lara in death, but the story feels somewhat rushed.

See The Taming Of The Beast Next Prog!

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Judge Dredd: The Problem With Sonny Bono

NAME
Judge Dredd: The Problem With Sonny Bono

FIRST PUBLISHED
2000 AD Featuring Judge Dredd Prog 208

DATELINE
18 Apr 81

PAGE COUNT
6

REPRINTS
The Complete Judge Dredd 20, Judge Dredd's Crime Files 3, Judge Dredd Paperbacks Monkey Business & Judge Dredd The Complete Case Files 05.

SYNOPSIS
Sonno Bono Block declares independence and Dredd puts down their rebellion.

FIRSTS & LASTS
None.

INFORMATION
Mega-City One designates certain citiblocks as Problem Blocks and moves in problem families, ex-criminals, rent dodgers and known troublemakers.

Sonny Bono Block and Patsy Ann Noble Block are neighbours. Mega-Vit Synthi Foods have a store nearby.

Two weeks after it was designated a problem block, Sonny Bono Block was vandalised and covered in wallscrawl. Two months after it was designated a problem block, Sonny Bono Block was designated a slum. Three months after it was designated a problem block, Sonny Bono Block declares independence from Mega-City One. It transpire that the Citi-Def from neighbouring Patsy Ann Noble Block turned a sonic wave gun on Sonny Bono Block in the hope it would crumble and be condemned. The sonic frequencies at work are blamed for affecting the behaviour of the residents of Sonny Bono Block.

Synthi-Pie is synthetic pie.

A scanalysis is a combined scan and analysis.

JUDGE DREDD
He attempts to rescue Mayor Grubb from Sonny Bono and put down the rebellion. He discovers that they didn't have the Mayor hostage. He oversees the arrests of the entire block and their release when it transpires that the neighbouring Patsy Ann Noble Block's Citi-Def are responsible. Dredd sees that the relevant housing officer is fired.

OTHER CHARACTERS
MAYOR GRUBB
Sonny Bono Block claims to have him hostage, but instead he was at his club having a Skwidge bath and they were holding a pizza deliverer.

PRESIDENT DOG-EAR FITCH
Leader of Sonny Bono Block's campaign for independence. He is arrested by Dredd and later released.

ARRESTS
One entire block and another's Citi-Def. Sonny Bono Block are arrested for their attempt coup and kidnapping, the charges are later dropped.

DEATHS
None.

BEST LINES
'Gard': "You here to negotiate, Judge?"
Dredd (as he lands on them): "Negotiate that, creeps!"

WORST LINES
None.

CATCHPHRASES
Dredd says "Drokk" twice.

CONTINUITY & CROSSOVERS
Sonny Bono Block was previously mentioned in Unamerican Graffiti, which also saw the most recent appearance of Mayor Grubb. Some graffiti in Sonny Bono reads "Don Uggie Lives", a reference to Don Uggie Apelino who first appeared in 'The Ape Gang'.

INFLUENCES & REFERENCES
Patsy Ann Noble Block is named after Patsy Ann Noble, an Australian singer and actress who appeared in Columbo, Buck Rogers In The 25th Century and Star Wars, Episode III: Revenge Of The Sith. A piece of graffiti in Sonny Bono Block reads "Cher and Cher alike", a reference to Sonny Bono's wife, singer and actress, Cher.

MISTAKES
None.

RETROSPECT
None.

NOTES
None.

CREDITS
Script: T B Grover
Artist: Emberton
Letters: Tom Frame

REVIEW
A nice mix of comedy and social commentary, which sees Dredd being surprisingly forgiving.

The Body Sharks Are Looking For You - Next Prog!

Monday, 6 October 2014

The A.B.C. Warriors: Retreat From Volgow

NAME
The A.B.C. Warriors: Retreat From Volgow

FIRST PUBLISHED
2000 A.D. & Starlord Prog 120

DATELINE
7 July 79

PAGE COUNT
6

REPRINTS
A.B.C. Warriors Book 1, A.B.C. Warriors: Mek-nificent Seven & A.B.C. Warriors: The Meknificent Seven.

SYNOPSIS
Hammer-Stein must defend Chateau Volgski against the Volgans.

FIRSTS & LASTS
First contact between Hammer-Stein and his new superior. First mention of Mongrol.

INFORMATION
Chateau Volgski is two miles north of Volgow. The Old Guard are Volgan robots that were deemed too brutal and switched off by their own generals. They have since been reactivated. The Volgans use Kossack Hell-Bikes.

HAMMER-STEIN
His Hammer-arm is being serviced. He is forced to defend Chateau Volgski without the benefit of tanks and without his Hammer arm. He fights Old Horney. He is appointed by his new human superior officer to lead a new team. His next task is to tame Mongrol.

JOE PINEAPPLES
He is in the bath when the Old Guard attack Chateau Volgski. He is still armed.

HAPPY SHRAPNEL
He dresses up in drag.

OTHER CHARACTERS
OLD HORNEY
The first Volgan war robot. He is programmed to enjoy killing. It leads the attack of Chateau Volgski. He fights Hammer-Stein, who ultimately kills him.

HAMMER-STEIN'S SUPERIOR
Human officer that cancels the tanks defending Chateau Volgski. He is impressed by Hammer-Stein and appoints him to lead a team and tame Mongrol.

DEATHS
Three. Joe Pineapples kills a Volgan robot that interrupts his bath. Old Horney kills one of Hammer-Stein's robots. Hammer-Stein stabs Old Horney with a sword.

BEST LINES
Old Horney: "I was putting ABC Warriors to the zabre while you were still in wrapping paper, child!"

WORST LINES
Hammer-Stein: "He's knocked the sword out of my hand!"

CATCHPHRASES
Happy Shrapnel Bzzz's three times.

CONTINUITY & CROSSOVERS
None.

INFLUENCES & REFERENCES
Happy Shrapnel sings 'Happy Feet' by Cab Calloway.

MISTAKES
None.

RETROSPECT
None.

NOTES
None.

CREDITS
Script: P. Mills
Artist: Brendan McCarthy
Letters: Pete Knight

REVIEW
This strip ups the ante and the violence. We learn nothing about the motives of Hammer-Stein's new superior officer, but his actions paint a picture. So far the team has three members, but only one of them has any real personality. It doesn't seem that there is any room for further members.

Imagine A Robot Ten Times More Horrifying Than Old Horney And You're Getting Close To Mongrol! Meet him Next Prog!

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Judge Dredd: Unamerican Graffiti, Part 2

NAME
Judge Dredd: Unamerican Graffiti, Part 2

FIRST PUBLISHED
2000 A.D. Prog 207

DATELINE
11 Apr 81

This appeared alongside Tharg's Future Shocks, Meltdown Man, Return To Armageddon and Tharg the Mighty with a Tharg cover by Dave Gibbons.

PAGE COUNT
7

REPRINTS
The Best of 2000AD 15, The Complete Judge Dredd 20, Judge Dredd Chronicles Book 5, Judge Dredd 27, Judge Dredd Paperbacks vs The Midnight Surfer, Judge Dredd (Volume 2) 23 and Judge Dredd The Complete Case Files 04.

SYNOPSIS
Chopper meets his match.

FIRSTS & LASTS
None.

INFORMATION
The White Cliffs of Dover have been imported to Mega-City One from abroad. It costs 50 creds to view them and 150 creds for a cliff walk.

A victim of graffiti can be charged under the public nuisance act unless they clean up the graffiti. Y.P. is an acronym for Young Perp. Named Judges: Judge Lord.

JUDGE DREDD
He is present at the Statue of Judgement when Marlon Shakespeare is arrested.

OTHER CHARACTERS
MARLON 'CHOPPER' SHAKESPEARE
He scrawls his tag on the White Cliffs of Dover and the underside of a Judges' hover wagon. Chopper accepts the Phantom's challenge to scrawl the Statue of Judgement. They meet on the side of the statue and are caught together. He sprayed the Statue of Judgement's badge with heat-sensitive paint that reveals a smiley face as the sun warms it the next day.

'THE PHANTOM'
A city painting droid who challenges Chopper to scrawling the Statue of Judgement. They meet on the side of the statue and the Judges' searchlights reflect off its metallic casing and they are both caught. It commits suicide leaping off the statue rather than be reprogrammed.

ARRESTS
One. Chopper is arrested.

DEATHS
One. The Phantom commits suicide when caught.

BEST LINES
Churchill: "You've got to admire their cheek in a way. They're kids with a lot of determination and guts-"
Dredd: "They're lawbreakers, Churchill - don't forget it! They're issuing a direct challenge to us. They must be stamped on hard!"

WORST LINES
None.

CATCHPHRASES
A Judge says "Drokk!"

CONTINUITY & CROSSOVERS
None.

INFLUENCES & REFERENCES
Unknown.

MISTAKES
Not necessarily a mistake, but the importer of the White Cliffs of Dover says he got them from England, not Brit-Cit or the Brit-Territories.

RETROSPECT
None.

NOTES
None.

CREDITS
Script: T.B. Grover
Artist: Ron Smith
Letters: Chopper Mk II

REVIEW
Even if Part 2 were awful, Part 1 would still be an absolute classic. Thankfully, the second part builds beautifully on the first. The White Cliffs of Dover make for a brilliantly barmy blank canvas, the revelation that the Phantom is a robot is very nicely handled and the parallel that Chopper sees with his own life are great, but the heat-sensitive paint gives us a fantastic image that means Unamerican Graffiti can have its cake and eat it. One thing is for certain, the reader is invited to root for Chopper and the strip would never be the same again.

The End

Saturday, 4 October 2014

Judge Dredd: Unamerican Graffiti, Part 1

NAME
Judge Dredd: Unamerican Graffiti, Part 1

FIRST PUBLISHED
2000 A.D. Prog 206

DATELINE
4 Apr 81

This appeared alongside Tharg's Future Shocks, Meltdown Man, Return To Armageddon and Strontium Dog with a Judge Dredd cover by Mike McMahon.

PAGE COUNT
7

REPRINTS
The Best of 2000AD 15, The Complete Judge Dredd 20, Judge Dredd Chronicles Book 5, Judge Dredd 27, Judge Dredd Paperbacks vs The Midnight Surfer, Judge Dredd (Volume 2) 23 and Judge Dredd The Complete Case Files 04.

SYNOPSIS
Mega-City One is plagued by a wallscrawl craze and Chopper is determined to be King Scrawler.

FIRSTS & LASTS
First appearance of Marlon 'Chopper' Shakespeare.

INFORMATION
Mega-City One Cityblocks include Sonny Bono Block, Huck Widney Block. 87% of the population is unemployed, in preparation unemployment is a compulsory subject in Mega-City One schools. Wallscrawl has become a competitive endeavour in Mega-City One as Scrawlers attempt to get their name most prominently featured. The Atlantic Wall is popular with Scrawlers.

The minimum penalty for juvenile offenders caught wallscrawling is six-months in a juve-cube. Judges perform gatesearches at the entrance and exit to schools. Named Judges: Judge Churchill

JUDGE DREDD
He has been put in charge of the wallscrawl clean-up campaign by the Chief Judge.

OTHER CHARACTERS
MAYOR GRUBB
He appeals to the Chief Judge to sort out the city's wallscrawl problem.

MARLON 'CHOPPER' SHAKESPEARE
The son of Bert and Ruby Shakespeare. He got an F in Unemployment. He is a prolific wallscrawler, his tag is Chopper with a smiley face in the 'O'. He sprays it along the full height of Huck Widney Block.

BERT SHAKESPEARE
Ruby's husband and Marlon's father. He claims to be the only man in Mega-City One to head egg into a bucket.

RUBY SHAKESPEARE
Bert's wife and Marlon's mother. She washes up, she dirties the dishes and washes up again, continuously.

SATCHMO
Nickname for a wallscrawler.

'THE PHANTOM'
Wallscrawler. Sprays "Chopper is a ninco signed The Phantom" above Chopper's name on Huck Widney Block.

ARRESTS
At least eight. We see at least eight Juve

DEATHS
None.

BEST LINES
Ruby Shakespeare: "Washing-up is so worthwhile, Marlon. I have a box of dirt here, and when the dishes are clean - why I just dirty them all over again!...Then I was them, and dirty them. Wash them and dirty them. Life can be so boring if you don't have an interest, Marlon..."

WORST LINES
None.

CATCHPHRASES
None.

CONTINUITY & CROSSOVERS
The graffiti in a opening splash references Judge Cal first seen in Crime And Punishment, The Fear That Made Milwaukee Famous, Ratty in The Fink , Judge Death, Who Killed Pug Ugly?. Mayor Grubb returns, first seen in The Day The Law Died.

INFLUENCES & REFERENCES
The title is obviously a play on American Graffiti (1973). Sonny Bono Block is named for Salvatore Phillip 'Sonny' Bono (1935–1998) the American recording artist and producer, who came to fame in partnership with his second wife Cher. Satchmo's nickname was shared by jazz musician Louis Armstrong (1901-1971). Shakespeare was a writer.

MISTAKES
None.

RETROSPECT
At this point, it's impossible to anticipate the impact that Chopper will have on Judge Dredd and the wider Dreddverse via his own strip.

NOTES
None.

CREDITS
Script: John Wagner
Artist: Ron Smith
Letters:

REVIEW
This is fantastic. Almost Dreddless, but expertly invites readers to want to Chopper to succeed and question their previous loyalty to the Judges. The artwork and the script are wonderful. A classic in the making.

Next Prog: Scrawl War!