skjam: Skyler Sands as a UNIT soldier (Unit)
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Packed in with each issue of Judge Dredd Megazine (now available at Barnes & Noble!) is a smaller magazine reprinting strips from 2000 AD or the Meg itself. I thought you might get a kick out of last month's entry, "Death Planet."

Love that 50s B-movie poster look.

Four representative pages from different six-page chapters, originally published in 2000 AD #62-70, and bagged with Judge Dredd Megazine #321.

It is the 23rd Century, and Earth is heavily overpopulated. A few lucky people can get off the planet in colony ships, to populate other worlds. Wait, did I say lucky?

Commander Varn is, if I remember correctly, the first female co-star of a 2000 AD strip. (2000 AD being very much a boys' comic at the start, it tended heavily to male protagonists.)

Varn's experience in flying colony ships has left her cold-blooded and rather callous towards her "cargo." Rookie Herschal hasn't gotten to that point yet.

The plot kicks in when something goes drastically wrong with the trans-light drive, stranding the Eternity in an unknown space sector and heading directly for the nearest planet. Comander Varn has the leader of the colonists, Richard Corey, unfrozen. He's the rough and ready, doesn't like being ordered around type.

Corey and Herschal defrost as many of the colonists as they can before the crash landing. Once the survivors have left the completely unsalvagable ship, Varn and Corey get into an argument over who's in charge now. The raised voices attract some of the native lifeforms.

Many hardships and deaths later, it turns out the survivors of the Eternity aren't the only humans on the planet.

Screams for mercy go unheeded, for this is the space pirate captain Zeena Dra Gornik, old enemy of Commander Varn ever since Zeena was kicked out of the Guild of Starship Commanders for reasons never fully explained in the text. Turns out one of her minions was responsible for the sabotage of the trans-light drive deliberately to get potential slaves to the planet.

The crew and colonists that remain are soon captured and forced to work in Zeena's tri-berrylium (sic) mine.

That top row is the soppy romance section of the story.

Corey manages to take down Zeena by feeding both of them to the flying reptiles, and the other slaves are able to revolt. Commander Varn decides that once they summon help, she's staying on the planet to help Corey's colony in honor of his sacrifice.

There's also a backup feature called "Angel" about a test pilot who becomes fused with his onboard computer and gains superpowers. The special guest star is the U.S. president, who takes a liking to the man.

Your thoughts and comments?

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