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Invasion continues to suck. But I finally worked out the "Volgans" are meant to be the Russians.
Dan Dare came back and the first few stories were passable, then back to suckville.
Mach 1 is really, really bad.
Judge Dredd continues to shine. I was thinking about this, it's one the few stories where characters are fairly realistic (yes a futuristic city with a hard as nails Judge is a little out there, but it's actually believable) and well written.
Harlem Heroes was passable, but you can see within the story the brilliance that "Mean Team" will be. Harlem Heroes finished up, with a new story Inferno. This was okay, as long as you totally ignored the plot and just enjoyed the artwork.
Shako. This was crap. It's about a intelligent polar bear who swallows a capsul containing some top secret poison gas the CIA is making. Then the CIA trying to hunt him down, but he kills everyone after him. Then the Russians get involved. Bah, pure crap. The biggest problem was it was impossible to have any empathy for any of the characters. The bear was killing innocents, the CIA wanted the nerve gas. Just a mess.
The other great introduction to the series is "Thargs Future Shocks". Starting from around issue 22. These are one off stories, that do two things. Give new writers & artists a chance to prove themselves and pack a quick twist punch. No hugely memorable stories, but fairly good.
A sneaky addition as well is the cover doesn't reflect any of the comic stories, but instead is a brief couple of paragraph story on the letters page. Prob to help sell copies, but I'd prefer the artwork of one of the stories on the front.
And finally from Prog 36, they finally put the credit of the Writer, Artist and Letterer on each comic. And while it's a bastard thing to say, 30 years later, apart from John Wagner (Judge Dredd), I've never heard of the other writers again. Most of the artists though, I've read many, many comics with their style (Bellardini, Gibson & Ezquerra).
EDIT: Well I looked up who wrote Mach 1. Amazingly it was Pat Mills, whose work on Slaine, Nemesis the Warlock and ABC Warriors I loved. And who also wrote Invasion, which again I do not like. And Shako, which sucked. Fuck, thankfully he gets better as the years roll on
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