We return to Dreddworld now with a haunting tale of death and destiny as Marlon "Chopper" Shakespeare, a once youthful and rebellious Sky Surfer, returns to compete in "Super Surf 11" which is taking place in Megacity 2. Sky Surfing is exactly as described, surfers travel through the air on flying surfboards and Super Surf takes place around the globe each year to find the best of them. On the run from the Justice System he escaped in Megacity One, Chopper has been living the the Australian "radback" where he had ended up after escaping Dredd at the end of Supersurf 10 and making friends with and re-racing Jug who he lost to in Supersurf 10 (he wins the rematch and gets a new love interest called Charlene too). He stays in the radback, and when circumstances combine to encourage him to take part in the event, it turns out this Super Surf will be a little different from the others. Bankrolled by a blind bilionaire called Stig, there will be bullets, snipers, spikes, rockets and lasers all pointing at the competitors. Signing up will mean almost certain death, but the reward for winning is a huge amount of cash and glory. Will Chopper embrace his destiny in taking part? Or will he bow out like his friend and the current world champion Jug? On writing duties is John Wagner and Colin McNeil is on art chores with a less painterly look than his later works at least at the start, it gets more painted as it goes on. This story ran in 1989 round about the time Necropolis was being teased with the likes of The Deadman, as well as the third book of Zenith in which whole parallel worlds were being destroyed left, right and centre, giving the comic at the time quite a doom laden feel.
Out in the radback, Chopper broods on his surfboard. A newpaper advertising Supersurf 11 has made it out to him. His friend, an disabled aborigine called Smokie grumbles at him at the food he's caught for them, saying a city boy like him is no help.
Later while the eat, Smokie spies the newspaper and asks if he plans on going. Chopper answers in the negative but Smokie says he should:
Smokie: "You have the wind dreaming. You too dumb to know. But I know. You follow your songline. Song bring you. Song take you away".
Chopper reiterates he's not interested and wants to stay and look after Smokie, who says he's dying soon. And next day Chopper indeed finds him dead. Sadly Chopper buries him, says a few words, then leaves to join the other Oz surfers going to the Supersurf.
|Chopper reunites with Charlene.|
Washed and dressed, Chopper meets up with the rest of the Oz surfer continginent who are all very cheerful and friendly. They tell him there's a boy from Brit-Cit who is a real contender. Charlene notes that Chopper seems distant from the rest. Chopper says he's just "following the songlines."
As they travel with the other surfers to Megacity Two, Chopper tells Charlene that he doesn't really understand it but Smokie says each person is descended from an ancestor which gives them their dreaming. Smokie's was a wombat, but Chopper's is the wind. So he's a "child of the wind" says Charlene. Chopper agrees and says he has nothing better to do so why not follow the songline? And they snog.
Chopper: "It's all a circus... once it was just a race... no money, just man against man and that was enough. Now everybody's out to screw what they can."
He's speaking to Dora, Jug's girlfriend who admits Jug's "off the boil". He drinks and barely practices. He's trying to pretend it isn't over.
Chopper muses that he didn't race the real Jug MacKenzie then and Dora says she guesses not. Chopper was in the cubes during Jug's top form in Supersurf 8 and 9. Then a Judge comes in to their room asking for Chopper. He says Megacity One won't press for Chopper's arrest as long as Chopper doesn't try to go back to Megacity One. "Fat chance" says Chopper.
|A message from MC1|
The surfers all gather in a giant hall. The Brit-Cit kid "Sonny Williams" is pointed out to Chopper. He keeps to himself, Charlene thinks he looks lonely. Then Stig gives a bizarre speech to them. He tells them that the public want blood, that together they'll "paint a masterwork of carnage across the sky".
Stig: "And when it is over, one of you will be a hero - a true hero. Forged in the heat of battle! Be the most famous person on this Earth! Is that not worth making sacrifices for?"
Stig's assistant takes over and confirms that there will be snipers and guns along the route. The surfers are angry and ask about the fireworks and she says the matter has been investigated by the Judges to their satisfaction.
The form to sign up will absolve Stig Inc. from death and injury caused before and during Supersurf 11. Jug rips it up saying he'll have no part in this. For a moment it looks like all the other surfers will join him, then Sonny signs his, and after a long pause and to Charlene's horror, so does Chopper.
|The race is on.|
Next day Chopper is out practicing, he is having difficulty adjusting back to city surfing after being in the country so long. He has a chat with one of the other surfers who says seventeen have signed up now. Then he finds Sonny Williams and rides his slipstream for a while looking for a weakness, but Sonny doesn't show him one.
The competitors gather and check out where the various guns are going to be. Stig has one of his own despite being blind, "he reckons he's going to feel us out" says one. Chopper thinks to himself that he isn't sure why he's doing this. Maybe because Stig called them cowards, maybe because he didn't beat Jug at his best, "that need to be number one. An unquenchable fire still gnawing away inside him".
|Chopper starts practicing.|
The action jumps forward to four days before the event and now twenty-nine surfers have signed up. During practice a watching woman drops her baby off one of the sky scrapers. Chopper and Sonny both dive to rescue it and Sonny gets there first. Then it's two days before. Another surfer has died in "Porcupine Alley" the tunnel of spikes and Stig has offered a one million cred donation to charity for every surfer killed.
|Charlene tries to walk out on Chopper.|
Charlene: "All right Chopper... you win. I won't run out on you. I'll be here. I'll stay with you, and I'll love you, and I'll pray for you. And then I'll bury you."
Race day and a drunken Jug has decided he wants to compete saying he's been called a coward. Chopper gently shows him into the cupboard and locks him in it. He then leaves to prepare and Charlene says "got a spare cupboard Dora?"
The surfers all line up ready. Chopper has a flashback to just before the race. He saw that Sonny Williams was actually terrified so he provoked him to rile him up and get him ready for the race. The starter's gun goes off and away they fly. Two surfers decide at the last moment not to compete and another two are immediately chewed up by gunfire, four down and the race has barely begun.
The surfers fly into another barrage of gunfire and a big name "Dallas Williams" is killed, her head blown apart. Blood rains down on the spectators. Two more are taken out and Chopper picks up an injury that takes out his left arm, most likely shrapnel from Dalla's shattered head.
|Badly injured right at the start.|
Another surfer is killed and falls knocking Sonny off his board. But he is attached to it via a cord and is able to pull himself up and get back in the game. Chopper flies over and kicks the sniper who had targeted Williams, knocking him out. Chopper is now in the lead by quite some margin even with that detour.
Then it's through "Death Canyon" and another surfer is vaporised leaving only his feet behind. There is chaos of napalm and death and another four surfers are gone. Jug, Charlene and Dora are watching on TV in utter horror. This is "flamin' murder" says Jug.
|Several surfers wipe out together.|
Chopper enters the alley as the back end of the surfer group is wiped out by the napalm. He carefully negociates the spikes, although he gets gashed by one he makes it through... only to be struck multiple times by bullets on the other side. Charlene lets out a cry and runs out to go to the stricken Chopper. He's down but still on his board.
But he's blasted to bits by the same guns that got Chopper. One of the machine gunners has a live grenade for an earring as the race commentators admiringly comment on. Sonny Williams has managed to pull himself off the spike he's impaled on and lying on his board flies it out of the tunnel. Before the machine guns can get him, Chopper surprises one of them and uses his gun to kill the other one but not before Sonny is mortally wounded.
|Chopper takes out two gunners.|
The toll the race has taken is incredible. The commentator reports thirty-one dead, three alive but seriously injured and four withdrawn. The commentator declares Chopper the "greatest Sky Surfer who has ever lived!". But there is one obstacle left. He falls from the board, but painfully climbs back on and lies on it for a while.
|Chopper exacts explosive revenge.|
Then Chopper turns and heads for the finish line. He feels numb now, and running through is head are the words of Charlene calling him selfish and he realises he was dumb now. He collapses to his knees as the finish line comes into view.
Narration: "Darkness closes in again. Enfolding him. The windsong rises and falls in his ears... calling him back to the ancestors."
He slumps forwards saying he's coming Smokie and just inches from the finish line his board comes to a halt. Charlene stands underneath it and can only look up in despair as blood trickles down his arm and lands on her tear streaked face. The camera pans out. The race and the story is at an end.