“See? See? The wrath of the devastator that sears your sky’s on each and every evening- and twice on Friday’s!”

Well, its been a great month for sci-fi fans so far- X2, The Matrix Reloaded, Enter The Matrix, The Animatrix, Blake’s 7 dvd release (err yes, greatu and to put a nice cherry on top- a new 2000ad audio prog. Well, its number ten, and it’s the second appearance of good old mutant bounty hunter Johnny Alpha- Strontium Dog! Firstly, it’s a really nice break from Dredd- don’t get me wrong the future lawman is great, but after eight audio’s with him on the cover it’s a nice change of pace to have a different character in a starring role. Firstly the story. Fugitive con man Oswald Mega has fooled a very gullible group of people on the forbidden desert planet Muspel into believing he’s a godly prophet. Alpha, partner Wulf Sternhammer, fellow SD agent Middenface McNulty and a timid alien creature named the Gronk are on Mega’s trailU Along the way the team visits university planet Midgard, pick up a snotty student tag along, are involved in a bar brawl (sort of) and are attacked by several hundred fanatics. Normal day then.

The script (another from Jonathan Clements, who deserves extra kudos for his great work here and on every other play he’s written) sparkles with hilarious by play between the main cast, ensuring Johnny, Wulf, Mc Nulty and the Gronk all get their fair share of the spotlight. He makes Alpha the brooding and deadly hero we all know, while Wulf had me in stitches, as did Mc Nulty, whose Scottish cadences were perfectly adapted for audio by Clements. The Gronk actually plays a pivotal role in getting the team out of the frying pan at the finaleU.

Director Briggs marshals his cast with skill- Simon Pegg (of Spaced fame) gives a great performance of Alpha, while BF stalwart Toby Longworth applies his great comic timing to the character of Wulf. Mark Mc Donnell as Mc Nulty sounded most like I expected him to- I could easily visualise Mc Nultys angered bumpy features after timid student Barley (Philip Woolf as a sort of intergalactic Richie Richard from Bottom) spills his pint.

Overall the production is top notch, the cast is great, the music is jazzier and more exciting than Dredd and the script is the best yet. However, Clement’s one failing is that Mega is a very lightweight villain, who is given a few nice lines but is far too easily defeated. Normally this would be a big problem, but the main five characters are written so well that Mega doesn’t need to be in the play too much. Oh one more niggle, is BF suddenly into cults and mass religious chanting?? The last few audio’s I’ve received (Doctor Who tales Nekromanteia, The Dark Flame and this) have had cults and religion involved. Please no more!!!

ANY GOOD?: Lightweight villain, heavyweight everything else. This is another (can they keep being this good?) stand out play. If only BF could do a Dredd one month, an SD the next? It would keep me happy! Oh well, this will do for now, brilliant, easily equal to the best Dredd’s so far. But more would be nice!!!


Next Up: Judge Dredd: 99 Code Red! (Another Johnny Clements! YES!)


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