2000 AD Prog Slog

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Prog 1137 24/03/99

In Judge Dredd Banzai Battalion, a troop of tiny droids designed to destroy garden pests have to stretch the parameters of their original programming when their elderly owners are taken hostage by a group of nasty criminals. It’s another good example of how John Wagner works. He creates a whole new concept that most other script robots would think of as a thrill in its own right and then uses it as a short run, three part Dredd tale. During 2000 AD’s thirtieth anniversary coverage, I remember reading an article that commented on Banzai Battalion representing the aging interests of Dredd’s writer; originally it was anti-establishment and punk, now it’s gardening. But actually, Banzai Battalion reminds me of more old school thrills and isn’t any more comfy early Ro-Busters or Robo-Hunter.

In Anderson PSI Division Horror Story, Anderson and Rookie Judge Evayne encounter a powerful and apparently terrifying old enemy from earlier in her career that I don’t remember. I must be getting jaded by The Slog because the story, like most Anderson tales these days, pretty much just washed over me. The problem is that I’ve never understood the limits of the character’s PSI power so I’m rarely convinced by the jeopardy that she’s supposed to be in. Bad guy swaps body with Anderson and then Judges shoot dead the bad guy’s body? No problem, something I missed or not foreshadowed happens at the last minute and everything’s okay. I like Alan Grant, I like the character, I like the way Steve Sampson paints her, but there’s a fundamental flaw with the conceit which perhaps explains why Wagner refers to PSI Division in his Dredd stories less and less these days.

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  • Say, Paul, as you reach the mythical Prog 1188, I wonder if Tharg's occasional teases of thrills to come are having any effect on you, in regard to not knowing if they will appear before you leave?

    If I tell you that there is more Banzai Battalion to come, with the likes of Cam Kennedy an Ian Gison drawing it, will that tempt you to seek out further progs?

    By Blogger alexf, at 8:58 am  

  • I read the Banzai Battalion book, it was really good and definitely very old skool. I really likeed the characterisation and humour in it too.

    Have you decided if you will be passing on the poisoned chalice of the prog slog yet?

    By Blogger Victor Resistor, at 1:41 pm  

  • The Banzai Battalion's are a good read. I loved the series where the sarge thought he was human.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:16 pm  

  • Not really, Alex. I bought the BB collection published a few years ago, anyway.

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 5:44 pm  

  • Hi Victor. I have been thinking about it. I don't want to carry on, so any practicle ideas on how to hand it over would be appreciated. It might be just a case or redirecting visitors to another blog... I dunno yet...

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 5:47 pm  

  • I'm glad we're agreed, Rhino.

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 5:47 pm  

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