Naughty Norty!

Relive the Rogue Trooper saga, the 2000AD story that pretty much defined the ‘future war’ genre. The thing which struck me was quite how many Rogue Trooper stories there were (and even so this guide sensibly gives up after the end of the original main plot – later stories with Rogue as a hitman or tooling about on an alien planet or rebooted entirely are ignored). The story was a simple one – Rogue Trooper is a super-soldier on an incredibly inhospitable planet called Nu-Earth (as I recall the idea was that Old Earth had colonised a planet specifically to decide their wars on – very civilised of them). The planet hosted an endless war between Southers (well-meaning, incompetent, good guys) and the Norts (invariably treacherous and murderous, very bad, probably Communist). Rogue was a Souther but had been framed for our old friend, the crime he did not commit.

Rogue Trooper has achieved a sort of classic status, but of all the ‘great’ 2000AD characters he’s probably the least broadly liked. Gerry Finley-Day’s writing didn’t make too many concessions to humour, and the war didn’t often make for a captivating backstory. You were left with a killer character design and the Greek chorus of Rogue’s “biochip buddies”, dead troopers whose personalities were stored on talking microchips slotted into his gun, helmet and bag.* It was never my favourite 2000AD story, but once you’d got into it it delivered to a very consistent standard – looking over this list of tales there are very few I remember as being rubbish.

The strip is now being turned into a computer game – as Alan points out this is probably the medium in which it can work most effectively. At the very least, a shooter featuring a gun that talks back is a nice USP.

*(In a staggering but helpful coincidence, the three troopers who ended up in these bits of kit had been known in life as Gunnar, Helm and Bagman.)