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2000 AD #228, the first appearance of Rogue Trooper
|First appearance||2000 AD #228 (1981)|
|Created by||Gerry Finley-Day
|Publisher||IPC Media (Fleetway) to 1999, thereafter Rebellion Developments|
|Formats||Original material for the series has been published as a strip in the comics anthology(s) 2000 AD.|
|Publication date||1981 – Present|
|Editor(s)||Tharg (Steve MacManus - Matt Smith)|
|The Future of War||ISBN 1-905437-39-0|
|Fort Neuro||ISBN 1905437161|
|The Eye of the Traitor||ISBN 1904265529|
|To the Ends of Nu-Earth||ISBN 1904265804|
Rogue Trooper is a science fiction strip in the British comic 2000 AD, created by Gerry Finley-Day and Dave Gibbons. It follows the adventures of Rogue, a G.I. (or Genetic Infantryman, a genetically modified, blue-skinned, manufactured elite soldier) and his three comrades' search for the Traitor General. His comrades are in the form of biochips (onto which a G.I.'s entire personality is downloaded at the time of death for later retrieval) and are named Gunnar (mounted on Rogue's rifle), Bagman (on his backpack) and Helm (on his helmet). He is genetically engineered to be immune to almost all known toxins. He can submerge in strong acid unaffected, and is able to withstand a vacuum in his bare skin.
Gibbons left the strip early on, to be replaced by a succession of artists and writers who have taken the strip in several different directions over the years. Notable artists to have drawn the character include Brett Ewins, Cam Kennedy and Colin Wilson. This quest continued from 1981 until 1985, when the G.I. had his final confrontation with the traitor general and, after a brief further run set on the Planet Horst, Finley-Day ceased writing the strip. Simon Geller took over, reinventing the character as an intergalactic hitman attempting to end the war by assassinating key figures, but this new direction was dropped in 1989. John Smith wrote a 'flashback' story, "Cinnabar", set in Rogue's deserter days, before original series artist Dave Gibbons returned to write a much more radical revamp of the character.
In "The War Machine", Gibbons and artist Will Simpson created a different war, set on a different planet, starring a different Genetic Infantryman, this time called Friday. The bio-chips were dropped, and Gibbons concentrated on the politics and economics of war and the sinister nature of the genetic engineering involved. The story was a success. A new ongoing series featuring Friday followed, written by American writer Michael Fleisher, but this was less successful. In Fleisher's final story, "Scavenger of Souls", the bio-chips are reintroduced via an alien 'soul collector'.
Fleischer was replaced with Steve White, who made the military aspect of the strip more up-to-date and tried to reconcile the two versions of the character. He also reintroduced Venus Bluegenes (Helm's treacherous girlfriend from an earlier story who gained a more prominent role during the Simon Geller run) who had her own short spin-off run. His run on the character was also notable for the 2000 AD debut of artist Henry Flint. Despite White's valiant efforts, the two continuities never really gelled: his decision to add a galaxy-wide religious war into the mix may not have helped[original research?].
The character was rested after White's last story in 1996. In 1997 a related character, blue-skinned ambulance pilot Tor Cyan was introduced in the story Mercy Heights. In a later story[volume & issue needed] it was revealed he was cloned from the original G.I..
In 2002 the original Rogue was reintroduced, again in flashback to his days hunting the traitor general, written by Gordon Rennie. Artists have included Staz Johnson, Dylan Teague, Mike Collins, Simon Coleby and PJ Holden. In 2004 Rennie stated that he had intended to revamp the character yet again, but had been blocked by 2000 AD editorial. He also hints that any return to the Rogue Trooper universe will concentrate on supporting cast and not include the Rogue character. This can be seen in the new series The 86ers.
The story is set on the planet Nu-Earth, where a perpetual war between the Norts and Southers is being fought. During the war many forms of chemical and biological weapons have been used, poisoning the planet, and as a result the troops of both sides must live in enclosed cities, and only venture into the outside if wearing protective gear known as "chemsuits". Through genetic engineering, the Southers developed a race of warriors immune to the deadly atmosphere and will therefore be superior troops. The Souther High Command deploy the Genetic Infantry in an airborne assault, but a traitor has passed the secret of the G.I. to the Norts and they are massacred during the drop. This is known as the Quartz Zone Massacre.
Rogue, the only surviving G.I., goes AWOL in order to track down the Traitor General. Along the way he thwarts numerous Nort schemes, discovers and inadvertently destroys the only portion of Nu-Earth not contaminated by chemical weapons, and is betrayed by every female character he encounters.
Rogue is immune to all toxins, diseases, and acids with two exceptions:
- A new plant is discovered after permafrost is melted in an arctic zone, which renders him unconscious.
- In the flashback story "Cinnabar" a retrovirus is engineered specifically to target his immune system, making him susceptible to all other Nu-Earth hazards, ultimately forcing him to wear a chem-suit.
In a lighter moment during the Fort Neuro series, Rogue is shown to have difficulty breathing when in a staff car full of officers from the "Rom" sector, who in anticipation of a good night out with the neighbouring "Scan" sector, have applied too much aftershave.
The biochips are infected by a latent malady unknowingly contracted whilst passing through the Neverglades area of Nu Earth. The unnamed condition renders them susceptible to "Enzyme E disfunction", which causes their newly re-gened bodies to disintegrate, leaving only their bio-chips remaining.
Many elements of the Rogue back-story were inspired by World War II, the American Civil War and the Cold War. Norts (Northerner Unionists) fought against generally less-well equipped Southers (Southern Confederates), and several battles were referenced, such as the First Battle of Bull Run, which was retold as the Battle of Mek-Bull Run. The Norts appear totalitarian in nature. While their uniforms have Nazi connotations their dialect and names are mostly quasi-Slavic, as if they represented a futuristic version of the Soviet Bloc, although there is some usage of Germanic names as well, for example General Vagner, Admiral Torpitz. Their conduct and methods of waging war are also more barbaric than those of the comparatively civilised Southers. Although as the series develops the Southers are also shown committing comparably immoral acts as well. The Norts' protective suits show only the eyes while the Southers generally have see-through face panels which reinforce the Good Guy/Bad Guy delineation. "Genetic Infantryman" is a direct homage to the supposed "Government Issue" tag that American troops were nicknamed after.
List of stories
The original run, all written by Gerry Finley-Day, included:
- "Rogue Trooper" (with art by Dave Gibbons, in 2000 AD #228, 1981)
- "Nu Paree" (with art by Dave Gibbons, in 2000 AD #229, 1981)
- "Glass Zone" (with art by Dave Gibbons, in 2000 AD #230, 1981)
- "Doomsday Valley" (with art by Dave Gibbons, in 2000 AD #231, 1981)
- "Terror of the Decapitators" (with art by Dave Gibbons, in 2000 AD #232, 1981)
- "Raiders" (with art by Dave Gibbons, in 2000 AD #234, 1981)
- "Scum Sea" (with art by Dave Gibbons, in 2000 AD #235, 1981)
- "Ascent To Buzzard-Three" (with art by Colin Wilson, in 2000 AD #236-238, 1981)
- "The Rookies" (with art by Dave Gibbons, in 2000 AD #239-240, 1981)
- "Blue Moon" (with art by Colin Wilson, in 2000 AD #241, 1981)
- "Poison" (with art by Mike Dorey, in 2000 AD #242-243)
- "Fear of the Machine" (with art by Colin Wilson, in 2000 AD #246-248, 1982)
- "The Dreamweavers" (with art by Dave Gibbons, in 2000 AD #249-250, 1982)
- "The Buzzard" (with art by Colin Wilson, in 2000 AD #251-253, 1982)
- "The Petrified Forest" (with art by Mike Dorey, in 2000 AD #254-257, 1982)
- "War of Nerves" (with art by Colin Wilson, in 2000 AD #258, 1982)
- "Bagman Blues" (with art by Brett Ewins and Eric Bradbury, in 2000 AD #260-262, 1982)
- "The Body Looters" (with art by Cam Kennedy, in 2000 AD #265, 1982)
- "All Hell on the Dix-I Front" (with art by Colin Wilson, Cam Kennedy and Brett Ewins, in 2000 AD #266-277, 1982)
- "Assassination Run" (with art by Cam Kennedy, in 2000 AD #278-279)
- "Hats Off to Helm" (with art by Cam Kennedy, in 2000 AD #280-281)
- "Marauders" (with art by Colin Wilson and Cam Kennedy, in 2000 AD #282-289)
- "Fort Neuro" (with art by Brett Ewins and Cam Kennedy, in 2000 AD #290-310, 1982–1983)
- "Major Magnum" (with art by Brett Ewins, in 2000 AD #311-315, 1983)
- "Bigfoot" (with art by Cam Kennedy, in 2000 AD #316, 1983)
- "Bio-Wire" (with art by Cam Kennedy, in 2000 AD #317, 1983)
- "Milli-Com Memories" (with art by Cam Kennedy, in 2000 AD #318-322, 1983)
- "Vid-Vultures" (with art by Brett Ewins, in 2000 AD #323-326, 1983)
- "Eye of the Traitor" (with art by Cam Kennedy, in 2000 AD #327-332, 1983)
- "Frisco Phog" (with art by Boluda, in 2000 AD #333-334, 1983)
- "From Hell to Eternity" (with art by Brett Ewins, in 2000 AD #335-340, 1983)
- "Mega-Minefield" (with art by Boluda, in 2000 AD #341-342, 1983)
- "Gasbah" (with art by Cam Kennedy, in 2000 AD #343-347, 1983)
- "Timeslip" (with art by Boluda, in 2000 AD #349-349, 1983)
- "Colonel Kovert" (with art by Cam Kennedy, in 2000 AD #350-355, 1984)
- "You Only Die Twice" (with art by Cam Kenendy, in 2000 AD #358-365, #367-368, 1984)
- "Message From Milli-Com" (with art by Cam Kenendy, in 2000 AD #369-377, 1984)
- "Just Routine" (with art by Cam Kenendy, in 2000 AD #378, 1984)
- "Blind Terror" (with art by Cam Kenendy, in 2000 AD #379-380, 1984)
- "Death Valley" (with art by Cam Kenendy, in 2000 AD #381-383, 1984)
- "M For Murder" (with art by Cam Kenendy, in 2000 AD #384-386, 1984)
- "To the Ends of Nu Earth" (with art by Cam Kennedy, in 2000 AD #387-392, 1984)
- "Re-Gene" (with art by Cam Kenendy, in 2000 AD #401-406, 1985)
- "The Return of Rogue Trooper" (with art by José Ortiz, in 2000 AD #410-419, 1985)
- "Antigen of Horst" (with art by José Ortiz, in 2000 AD #422-426, #428-432, 1985)
- "Return to Milli-Com" (with art by Cam Kenendy, in 2000 AD #444-449, 1985)
- "The Hitman" (with art by Steve Dillon, in 2000 AD #495-499, 1986)
- "Hit One" (with art by Steve Dillon, in 2000 AD #520-531, 1987)
- "Hit Two" (with art by Steve Dillon, in 2000 AD #568-572, 1988)
- "Hit Three – The Violent Majority" (with art by Steve Dillon, in 2000 AD #574-575, 1988)
- "Through the Eyes of a Gun" (with art by Steve Dillon, in 2000 AD #589, 1988)
- "Hit Four – The New Moral Army" (with art by Steve Dillon, in 2000 AD #598-600, #602-603, 1988)
The "Hitman" story arc concluded in a winter special, written by Steve Dillon.
- "The Final Hit" (with art by Chris Weston, in 2000 AD Winter Special, 1989)
There was a flashback story written by John Smith before the Friday reboot took place:
- "Cinnabar" (with pencils by Steve Dillon and inks by Kev Walker, in 2000 AD #624-630 & 633-635, 1989)
- "Pray for War" (with art by Brett Ewins, in 2000 AD Annual 1983)
- "First of the Few" (with art by Jesus Redondo, in 2000 AD Annual 1984)
There were two one-off stories in sci-fi specials, both written by Gerry Finley-Day:
- "Milli-Way Sixty-Six!" (with art by Eric Bradbury, in 2000 AD Sci-Fi Special 1982)
- "The Droidonators" (with art by Boluda, in 2000 AD Sci-Fi Special 1983)
In a later sci-fi special Rogue Trooper appeared, written by Simon Geller:
- "Portrait of a Rebel!" (with art by Brett Ewins, in 2000 AD Sci-Fi Special 1984)
In another sci-fi special an illustrated text story appeared:
- "On the Rogue Again" (with art by Cam Kennedy, in 2000 AD Sci-Fi Special 1985)
Later annual stories were written by Peter Milligan and drawn by José Ortiz:
- "The Fanatics" (in 2000 AD Sci-Fi Special 1986)
- "Nort by Nortwest" (in 2000AD Annual 1987, 1987)
Rogue also appeared in crossovers with the new "Friday" series (leading up to the death of Bagman and Rogue in #949), all written by Steve White:
- "Blue on Blue" (with art by Henry Flint, in 2000 AD #928-931, 1995)
- "Mind Bombs" (with art by Edmund Perryman/Nick Abadzis, in 2000 AD #937-939, 1995)
- "Ascent" (with art by Steve Tappin, in 2000 AD #946-949, 1995)
(For the full series of stories featuring Friday, see Friday (comics)#Bibliography.)
After the new series finished, the original Rogue returned in a story set after his death, written by John Tomlinson:
- "Remembrance Day" (with art by Dave Gibbons, in 2000 AD Prog 2000, 1999)
The original Rogue later returned in stories set before his death, all written by Gordon Rennie:
- "What Lies Beneath" (with pencils by Staz Johnson and inks by David Roach, in 2000 AD #1301-1304, 2002)
- "Weapons of War" (with art by Dylan Teague, in 2000 AD #1305, 2002)
- "Overkill" (with Simon Coleby, in 2000 AD #1306-1307, 2002)
- "Lions" (with Staz Johnson (1308) and Mike Collins (1309), in 2000 AD #1308-1309, 2002)
- "A Visit to the Boneyard" (with pencils by Mike Collins and inks by David Roach, in 2000 AD #1310-1311, 2002)
- "Requiem" (with Simon Coleby, in 2000 AD #1312, 2002)
- "Angels" (with Simon Coleby, in 2000 AD Prog 2003, 2002)
- "Ghouls" (with Staz Johnson (1345–1347) and Mike Collins (1346–1347), in 2000 AD #1345-1347, 2003)
- "Realpolitik" (with PJ Holden, in 2000 AD #1380-1385, 2004)
- "Condor Six Down" (with Simon Coleby, in 2000 AD #1462-1464, 2005)
Gerry Finley-Day returned to the character after 25 years away, for the end of year special in 2010:
- "Dead Ringer" (with Staz Johnson, in 2000 AD Prog 2011, 2010)
In a short series of one-off stories called What If...? featuring alternative takes on popular 2000 AD characters, Rogue Trooper returned in a story written by Andy Diggle:
- "What If... Gunnar Survived the Quartz Zone Massacre?" (with Colin Wilson, in 2000 AD #1771, 2012)
The initial reprints of the 2000AD stories were printed by Titan Books. The most recent books are printed by Rebellion.
The original Rogue Trooper stories chronicling the hunt for the Traitor General are now collected in four publications by Rebellion
- The Future of War (collects 2000 AD #228-265, 160 pages, June 2007, ISBN 1-905437-39-0)
- Fort Neuro (collects 2000 AD #266-310, 192 pages, January 2007, ISBN 1-905437-16-1
- The Eye of the Traitor (collects 2000 AD #312-349, 192 pages, October 2005, ISBN 1-904265-52-9)
- To the Ends of Nu-Earth (collects 2000 AD #350-392, 160 pages, January 2006, ISBN 1-904265-80-4)
Also available in larger collections by the same publisher
- Tales of Nu-Earth 01 (collects 2000 AD #228-317, 400 pages, February 2010, ISBN 978-1-906735-34-0)
- Tales of Nu-Earth 02 (collects 2000 AD #318-406, 400 pages, May 2010, ISBN 978-1-906735-46-3)
- Tales of Nu-Earth 03 (collects 2000 AD #410-499, 400 pages, November 2012, ISBN 978-1781080689)
Additional stories have been collected into two more publications by Rebellion
- Re-Gene (collects 2000 AD #401-406, 410-419, 422-432, 444-449, 160 pages, March 2006, ISBN 1-904265-84-7)
- Realpolitik (collects 2000 AD Prog 2003, #1301-1312, 1344–1349, 1380–1385, 1462–1464, 1477–1479, 144 pages, February 2007, ISBN 1-904265-94-4)
IDW Publishing reboot
As of July 20, 2013 IDW Publishing announced that after the success of its adaptation of Judge Dredd from 2000 AD it would now champion Rogue Trooper with recoloured old issues as well as completely new stories.
"Following the success of Judge Dredd, IDW and Rebellion/2000 AD expand their thriving relationship with the addition of Rogue Trooper to their publishing slate! IDW will launch an all-new Rogue Trooper series in 2014, and also offer newly colored re-presentations of pastRogue Trooper comics, too."
On November 13, 2013 it was announced that the new series would be written by relatively unknown British fantasy writer Brian Ruckley and drawn by Alberto Ponticelli. Brian Ruckley acquired the position merely "by writing a pitch document that people apparently liked." He described his first challenge as scriptwriter as "I can now say from personal experience that writing comics is not straightforward or effortless!"
The new Rogue Trooper has a visually re-designed helmet, rifle and backpack which are the three main supporting characters in the legacy. The first episode was set to ship at the end of February 2014.
A range of Rogue Trooper material has been produced:
There are three novels based on Rogue Trooper:
- Crucible (Gordon Rennie, October 2004 ISBN 1-84416-061-0)
- Blood Relative (James Swallow, March 2005 ISBN 1-84416-061-0)
- The Quartz Massacre (Rebecca Levene, March 2006 ISBN 1-84416-110-2)
The Rogue Trooper Boardgame was released in 1987 by Games Workshop.
- Gordon Rennie interview, 2000 AD Review, June 4
- Prog 242
- Prog 300
- Lyons, Beverley (October 3, 2011). "Monster Success: Top comic writer Grant Morrison set to turn his novel Dinosaurs vs Aliens into a movie". Daily Record. Retrieved October 3, 2011. "Indeed, after he's put the finishing touches to the Dinosaurs vs Aliens script, a prolific Grant is creating a movie adaptation for Sam Worthington's company. Called Rogue Trooper, the project is based on a character from the popular British comic book series 2000AD."