The sole survivor of a massacre that saw his kind eradicated. He is a soldier whose duty drives him to find the traitor responsible even if that means deserting his post. He wanders through the poisoned wasteland of Nu Earth, haunted by the voices of his dead friends. He is the last of the Genetic Infantrymen. He is the “Rogue Trooper“.
He is freaking awesome!!!
In case you haven’t picked up on the clues, this is one of my all-time favorite characters. Created thirty-three years ago by the team of Gerry Finley-Day (arguably one of 2000 AD‘s great writers) and Dave Gibbons (yes, that Dave Gibbons) he is making a triumphant return to the shelves thanks to IDW Publishing. Even if they were only reprinting the classic tales for a new group of readers to enjoy I would be excited. But like their recent jaunt into the world of “Judge Dredd” they aren’t stopping there. IDW is bringing “Rogue Trooper” back to us with brand new adventures, reimagined for a new millennium.
Don’t let the word “reimagined” frighten you because this new incarnation is being handled in the most loving of ways. The writing comes from newcomer Brian Ruckley, an established fantasy author and admitted 2000 AD fan from the very beginning, who, in the first issue, brings the right amount of reverence for the original material and skillfully blends that with his own desire to see a wonderful idea pushed to become something greater.
The art, by Alberto Ponticelli, is reminiscent of the standards set by Gibbons and the others who followed in his footsteps with only minor changes meant to update the Rogue Trooper’s look and perhaps give Mr. Ponticelli a chance to leave a bit of his own mark on the character.
The biggest change, and a startling one at that for some, is what Stephen Downer is adding to the story…color. Unfortunately I can’t say that I’m one of those that this startles because, and I’m embarrassed to admit this, apparently I had completely forgotten that the originals were all in black and white. When I heard that IDW was bringing Rogue back I immediately dug out my stash of far from mint issues and was shocked to see that they weren’t in color. So unlike some of the diehard fans who might find the addition of color an unnecessary affectation of an HD world, I am looking forward to seeing if Mr. Downer will bring these characters to life with anywhere near the same vibrancy already accomplished by my own imagination.
With only the first issue in my hand it is too early to tell if this latest rebirth of “Rogue Trooper” will stand the test of time. Although I am encouraged by the way Ruckley added to the moral ambiguity of Rogue Trooper’s situation by giving the readers, at the very end, new characters on the side of right to root against. If he can continue to exceed the already high expectations of the fans and give us something new, possibly even improving on the original, then I think this may become one of the titles I can’t wait to see on the shelves each month.
Obviously, coming from a fanboy like myself, you won’t be surprised that I recommend adding this book to the others you pick up on Wednesdays. I only ask, why aren’t you a fanboy too?
Oh and one other thing, who does a blue, genetically engineered, super soldier have to sleep with to get a movie deal in this town?