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.

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 Cliff 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!

Friday, 3 October 2014

The A.B.C. Warriors: 'The A.B.C. Warriors'

NAME
The A.B.C. Warriors: 'The A.B.C. Warriors'

FIRST PUBLISHED
2000 AD & Starlord Prog 119

DATELINE
30 June 79

PAGE COUNT
7

REPRINTS
A.B.C. Warriors Book 1, The Best of 2000AD, A.B.C. Warriors Mek-nificent Seven and A.B.C. Warriors The Meknificent Seven.

SYNOPSIS
Hammer-Stein, Joe Pineapples and Happy Shrapnel capture a Volg HQ.

FIRSTS & LASTS
The first The A.B.C. Warriors features the first appearances of Joe Pineapples, Happy Shrapnel and an as-yet-unnamed Colonel Lash.

INFORMATION
Volgow is a Volg city.

In the 21st Century, the ABC War is fought by robots able to withstand Atomic, Bacterial and Chemical weapons with their human officers some fifty miles behind the front line in underground bunkers.

A 'Sin' gun is a standard robot weapon. A 'Scrambled egg' grenade (S.E.G.s) scrambles a robot's brains and then they can attack their own side. Torc tube is a ground to air unit. A Lazer dagger can cut through armour. 'Cry baby' mortar fires cryogenic shells which create freezing flames. 'Balls' bazooka fires implosion shells, which suck their targets into balls of debris. Koroda gas is fatal to robots.

Synthi-Champagne is synthetic champagne.

HAMMER-STEIN
He has a sensor organ that provides him with a sense of smell. Sergeant of the A.B.C. Warriors. He is known to the Volg robots as Old Red Eyes. The rest of his squad are rookie robots. Hammer-Stein leads a mission to capture a Volg HQ. He puts a disabled robot out of his misery and in doing so transfers his pain to Rodney.

JOE PINEAPPLES
He doesn't talk much. He is armed with a 'Balls' Bazooka.

HAPPY SHRAPNEL
He has a sense of smell. He is armed with a pair of Kolt 45's he 'borrowed' from a Volg general.

OTHER CHARACTERS
RODNEY
Lieutenant. Hammer-Stein's superior officer. When Hammer-Stein puts a rookie robot out of his misery, the pain kills Rodney. He will be decorated with a medal posthumously.


DEATHS
At least twenty-four. Joe Pineapples kills two Volg robots with his 'Balls' bazooka. Fifteen rookies are killed by the gas and five more in mid-air. Hammer-Stein finishes off a robot in pain and in doing kills Rodney as well.

BEST LINES
Officer: "I say, Rodney...steady on with the old champers!"

WORST LINES
Volg Robot: "Smashing through the roof - Aaaah!"

CATCHPHRASES
Happy Shrapnel says "Bzzz!" (or variations thereupon) four times.

CONTINUITY & CROSSOVERS
Hammer-Stein first appeared in Ro-Busters and was seen to fight the Volgans in Hammer-Stein's War Memoirs, while Invasion! saw the Volgans invade Britain.

INFLUENCES & REFERENCES
Unknown.

MISTAKES
None.

RETROSPECT
None.

NOTES
None.

CREDITS
Script Robot: Pat Mills
Art Robot: Kevin O'Neill
Lettering Robot: Pete Knight

REVIEW
This intends to introduce three of The A.B.C. Warriors, but it's really only about Hammer-Stein. As a vehicle for him it works quite well. The art is wonderful and Rodney's death is well-earned, but the eclectic charm of Ro-Busters is sadly lacking here.

Next Prog: Retreat From Volgow!

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Judge Dredd: Alone In A Crowd!

NAME
Judge Dredd: Alone In A Crowd!

FIRST PUBLISHED
2000 AD Featuring Judge Dredd Prog 205

DATELINE
28 Mar 81

PAGE COUNT
6

This Prog also featured Tharg's Future Shocks, Meltdown Man, Return To Armageddon and Strontium Dog, some more of Tharg's Futureworlds Poster and a Meltdown Man cover by Dave Gibbons.

REPRINTS
The Best of 2000AD 6, The Complete Judge Dredd 19, Judge Dredd 19, Judge Dredd (Volume 2) 23, Judge Dredd Mega City Vice Book 2 and Judge Dredd The Complete Case Files 04.

SYNOPSIS
Dredd investigates a tap gang.

FIRSTS & LASTS
First Judge Dredd art by Steve Dillon. First Judge Dredd to portray law-abiding citizens as fearing the Judges.

INFORMATION
In Mega-City One, walkways get very busy and rush hour. The Vernon Cleaver Walkway is near Cleaver Street and the Rathole Eatery.

JUDGE DREDD
He attends the crime scene at Vernon Cleaver Walkway. He arrests Earl, who informs him of the rest of the gang. Dredd rides to the site of, and into, the Rathole.

OTHER CHARACTERS
EARL
Lookout for the Wessel Brothers' tap gang. Dredd shoots him in the shoulder and sentences him to seven years.

SLOPEY CHARLIE
Member of the Wessel Brothers' tap gang. Dredd arrests him after a chase.


ARRESTS
Presumably four. Dredd sentences Earl, a member of the tap gang to seven years. He gives the Rathole's chef five years for aiding and abetting. He arrests Slopey Charlie and presumably the surviving Wessel Brother.

DEATHS
At least one. Dredd shoots one of the Wessel Brothers dead.

BEST LINES
Unknown: "Don't get involved, nothing you can do!"

The repetition of this line is really effective.

WORST LINES
None.

CATCHPHRASES
A Wessel Brother screams "Aaeeeeee!", Slopey says "Drok"

CONTINUITY & CROSSOVERS
None.

INFLUENCES & REFERENCES
Unknown.

MISTAKES
None.

RETROSPECT
None.

NOTES
None.

CREDITS
Script: T.B. Grover
Artist: Steve Dillon
Letters: Tom Frame

REVIEW
The SYNOPSIS above doesn't do this story justice. This is masterpiece which invites us to despise a member of the Mega-City One public who doesn't help a victim of crime for fear that he will be next, on the first page. Then following Dredd's efforts to arrest the tap gang, the same anonymous member of the public attempt to avoid catching the Judge's attention, equally fearful of our hero.

Next Prog: Graffiti!

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Disaster 1990!, Part 21

NAME
Disaster 1990!, Part 21

FIRST PUBLISHED
2000 AD & Starlord Prog 139

DATELINE
17 Nov 79

PAGE COUNT
5

REPRINTS
Judge Dredd Megazine 332

SYNOPSIS
Savage takes on the Legion's trio of leaders.

FIRSTS & LASTS
The last Disaster 1990! is also the last appearance of the Squire, his sons, Razor, Martin, Sinclair and Smith.

INFORMATION
The great flood of 1990 was eventually frozen in a blizzard.

By 1993, Britain was back to normal.

BILL SAVAGE
He gets another shotgun. Savage and Archer lead an attack of Buckingham Palace. He discovers the attempt to bomb Squire Archer's victory party. He shoots a wine barrel above the fuse dousing it. He helps to bury the Squire before dawn.

OTHER CHARACTERS
SQUIRE
He and Savage lead an attack of Buckingham Palace. When it snow, he convinces Savage to halt the attack and round up the leader of the Greater London Legion tomorrow. He throws himself in the path of the knife Razor throws at Savage. He dies with his sons around him. He is buried before dawn.

RAZOR
He kills two men for their food. He, Martin and Sinclair attempt to bomb Squire Archer's victory party. He throws his knife at Savage, but hits Archer instead. He freezes to death in frozen floodwater.

MARTIN
He has styled himself as The Great Martin. He, Razor and Sinclair attempt to bomb Squire Archer's victory party. He freezes to death in frozen floodwater.

DR. SINCLAIR
He, Martin and Razor attempt to bomb Squire Archer's victory party. He freezes to death in frozen floodwater.

DR. SMITH
He apparently had no idea about Sinclair's membership of the Greater London Legion.

DEATHS
Two. Razor slits the throats of two men and steals their food.

BEST LINES
Savage: "Ice, eh? Doctor Smith...What's this going to mean for Britain?"
Smith: "Well, it's extremely interesting! The North Pole must be reclaiming its lost ice and I estimate that in a few years -"
Someone else: "Savage - look!"

WORST LINES
Archer: "Good shooting, Savage. Sure you were never a farmer?"
Savage: "No, Squire. I made my livin' drivin' and there's just one thing drivin' me now - my hatred for the Legion's leaders!"

CATCHPHRASES
None.

CONTINUITY & CROSSOVERS
Savage will return in Invasion! (and Armoured Gideon and Savage).

INFLUENCES & REFERENCES
Unknown.

MISTAKES
Finlay-Day.

RETROSPECT
There are no signs of any of the flooding by Invasion! in 1999.

NOTES
None.

CREDITS
Script: Gerry Finlay-Day
Artist: Mike White
Letters: Tom Frame

REVIEW
Disaster 1990! comes to a better than expected if welcome end. Why was it a prequel? Why did it feel the need to repeat so many beats from Invasion!?, how did Britain rebuild? All these questions and more go unanswered. The final part deals with the Legion's trio of leaders well, features some unnecessary showboating from Savage and heroism from another character who pays the ultimate price before being forgotten. It's business as usual.

The End.