01/06/2010. Contributed by Geoff Willmetts
pub: 2000AD/Rebellion. 400 page hardback graphic novel. Price: £15.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-906735-46-3.
check out websites: www.2000adonline.com and www.rebellion.co.uk
The continuing adventures of 'Rogue Trooper' brings out a lot of surprises with the second volume story 'Milli-Con Memories' where an injured delirious Rogue discloses events leading up to their landing on Nu-Earth. We actually see what the bodies of his former comrades look like. Actually, they look just like him. Even the females do plus the usual feminine equipment. Gunner is revealed to be a touch trigger-happy. Helm a little love-sick. Bagman a little too inquisitive discovering what the early GIs looked like and their failures. In each case, Rogue sorts it out and recovering realising the problems that disunity would cause pulls an interesting twist. Now, if they will only explain why he got the Rogue moniker when he's a natural team leader? This is a great way into characters lives and with incredible depth for doing something so simple.
'The Vid-Vultures' shows a different perspective when a roving floating reporter sphere monitors Rogue as a news item which our soldier clearly resents, especially as it gives his position away to the enemy. It also gives them something different to talk to and resent and Rogue's twist at the end.
The traitor general is back in 'The Eye Of The Traitor' showing how ruthless he is and looks like a constant re-occurring nemesis for Rogue. Considering how Rogue doesn't leave many people standing after an encounter, this tends to make for a worth adversary.
Just as you think the stories will just keep roving around on Nu-Earth, Rogue is convinced to meet Colonel Kovert, in the story of the same name, to do a covert operation off-planet in exchange for information, especially for the whereabouts for the traitorous souther general. Things don't go too well and without giving too much of a spoiler, Rogue potentially has another enemy at the end. If anything, this particular story is a turning point indicating that developments can happen and often in unexpected ways.
Gunnar gets a body back in 'You Only Die Twice'. Obviously, it doesn't last but this upgrade imbues his chip with limited telekinesis that allows the rifle a bit more latitude than it had before. Not that this helps much in a later story, 'Rank And Vile' which as a multi-parter carries one of 'Rogue Trooper's more complex plots and tends to illustrate neither side is particularly pure at heart.
After the resolution of one outstanding nemesis, all three chips are re-housed in new clone bodies but after a situation that an infection sees them disintegrate, Rogue is one the run again to seek their cure. But that's for the next volume.
'Rogue Trooper', despite its war conditions, is all about survival and cunning than war. The fact that creator Gerry Finlay-Day dimensionalises the characters so much you can't help but feel for Rogue and his chip-companions on a continuous run. He also builds up the detail and in a book-length such as this you can see how clues for future plot development are laid in and later used to see if you are paying attention. A real lesson in comicbook writing. This book and character is worth spending time with. Synth-out.
Add SFcrowsnest.com daily news updates to your own web site or blog - just cut and paste the code below...
Stephen Hunt's novels - USA