PROG: 30 – BEAUTIFUL WORLD
Art: Ron Turner
Letters: Peter Knight
Plot: A massive starship drops out of warp on the edges of a planet responsible for a failed attempt to destroy every other species in the galaxy. The crew take evasive action to avoid the debris of war and the still active missile defence system. A crew member ponders why the combined allies had not destroyed the source of such an evil genocidal race when they had finally defeated them..
Shock: The ‘most warlike species the galaxy has ever known‘ is the human race! The captain tells his crew, and the stare in amazed agreement at the planet, that Earth was the most beautiful planet and so paradoxical it should spawn such evil as humans.
Thoughts: A similar theme to both King of the World (Shock 1) and Food for Thought (Shock 2) of ‘man is a violent creature’ comes back and is nicely disguised by the alien species in the craft having a humanoid form, including a rather foxy blonde crew member in a 60s Star Trek style mini-dress, but, as revealed in the final panel, having rather lupine hairy forearms and claws which had been kept out of sight. That similarity of theme points to the ‘unknown author’ being Steve Moore however Peter Harris could also be a candidate due to the 50s Sci-Fi feel and the use of a non-relevant dramatic tension device (the attack by the missile system) making it strongly reminiscent of the previous Prog’s story Just Like Home. Either way the tale shares that story’s ‘classic golden era’ sci-fi feel although it lacks it warped nasty final imagery, instead going for a Gene Roddenberry preachy ending. Ron Turner’s art gives good space ship and even better Space- hottie; even if she is a wolf.
Shock’d? After a two page build-up of just how horrible the genocidal species have been it’s not a huge shock to find out it’s mankind; there is not a lot else it could be unless they discovered Santa’s home-world had gone homicidal. In addition the fact that our role as ‘the most warlike species ever’ and the crew’s non-human form are revealed in the last half-splash page tends to lessen the impact of each – the impact of the lupine claws is slightly diminished by the heavy prose and the huge central image of earth, even though they are front and central on the page. However like Just Like Home the story has a good visual dramatic tension with the missile fight so it works nicely as a story if not a particularly shocking one.