2000 AD in Stages

Stage 07 - Post-Apocalypse

Progs 273-307: 1982-1983

In the previous stage, new thrills had formed multiple residencies in the prog and here they still form the starting line-up: Rogue Trooper, The Mean Arena, Judge Dredd, Ace Trucking Co. and Robo-Hunter. But what happens when they start to run out of steam?

Replacing The Mean Arena we get a new long-form one-off as we follow the adventure of Harry Twenty on the High Rock. When Ace Trucking Co. takes a break, we get a new anthology banner in Tharg's Time Twisters.

Prog 300 is celebrated with an eight issue prog 1 replica for us to cut out and construct.

Rogue Trooper
All Hell on the Dix-I Front closes out and provides a new string to the plot in the form of a poison that can render Rogue useless. Marauders (unfortunately making us choose between Colin Wilson and Cam Kennedy for best rendering of a Nort hopper) moves the central plot forward in the hunt for the traitor general and then the epic Fort Neuro is by turns fun and out of place (as Rogue goes disco dancing), but doesn't provide any forward momentum.

Schedule-wise, it is difficult as a reader to stick with the multiple artists on a storyline thing, especially when their designs are so far removed from one another. It's something very much of the era, though. Dix-I has three, Marauders has two and Neuro has two.

Fort Neuro drifts into the next stage...

[Agent Rat]: Trouble On Tree-World - An Agent Rat Adventure
This sees the return of Agent Rat from a Future Shock in prog 213. He's like a rat yujee, and he's an agent.
That's all we get from Agent Rat, which is perhaps just as well.

The Mean Arena
Starting out as a gritty sport drama, this eventually became mired in Halloween costumes. It staggers to a close here with a sort of Tron-like climax inside a giant physical realization of a video game.
This is it for The Mean Arena. Another strip named Mean Arena borrows the title in '93, but the two bear no relation apart from that.

Judge Dredd
Post-Apocalypse many of the tales explore the post-war effects on the city, whether it's chem pits in The Game Show Show (sic) or food shortages in The League of Fatties. This ends up being a strong sequence which includes Fungus, Destiny's Angels (resurrecting Mean Machine and freeing Fink), The Executioner, Shanty Town and Trapper Hag.
Dredd continues, of course, but there is a marked reduction in mentions of the war.

Tharg's Future Shocks
Usually one-off tales with a twist.
More in the next stage...

Ace Trucking Co.
This sequence gives us the superlative Too Many Bams (starring many of the comic's creators in Bam caricature), The Kloistar Run (or The Garp Who Would Be King) and then ends with Stoop Coop Soup.
Ace could have ended here as the characters are all imprisoned, but returns in prog 378 in '84

Robo-Hunter [in Brit-Cit]
The Killing of Kidd reintroduces Kidd from the Verdus storyline: now the star of a soap opera. Football Crazy riffs on the 1982 Soccer World Cup by introducing teams of robots from around the world (*cough* "Blakee Pentax" *cough*.) Then, like Buffy (in 2001's Once More, With Feeling), it was decided that a musical would be the thing to do and we get Play It Again, Sam.
Robo-Hunter returns in the next stage...

Tharg the Mighty
Alien editor deals with various assaults on thrill power.
More in the next stage....

Harry Twenty on the High Rock *NEW THRILL*
Alcatraz in space, as Harry Twenty tries to figure out how to escape the classic inescapable prison. Perhaps that old timer can help him...
It's one and done ... or, at least it seemed that way until some kind of meta-teaser in the 2015 FCBD prog.

The Great Detective Caper, Hemlock Bones - Who He?
Not quite fitting under either the Future or Time umbrella, this two-parter has a hapless actor mistaken for a supposedly real Sherlock Holmes by an alien race. Wait, that's Sherlock Holmes meets Galaxy Quest.
The tale is told in two parts, and requires no more.

Tharg's Time Twisters *NEW THRILL*
Rather than just being scheduling filler, these take up an almost permanent residency (for a while). They allow Tharg to expand the repertoire of bannered one-off stories so that they don't necessarily need to be of the future (or shocky) variety.
More in the next stage...

[Abelard Snazz]: Genius Is Pain - An Abelard Snazz Misadventure
Things continue to go badly for the large-brained guy who can't get along with anyone.
This is the last outing for the two-storey brain as Alan Moore has other things to occupy his time...


Another giant collectible poster is a celebration of all things Robo-Hunter: