War Machine – Rogue Trooper re-boot gets a US release this month! – spoiler light

Writers:
Dave Gibbons, Michael Fleisher

Artists:
Will Simpson, Steve Dillon, Kev Walker

Cover Artist:
Henry Flint

Letters:
Bambos, Tom Frame, Annie Parkhouse

Previously published in 2000AD Progs 650-653, 667-671, 683-687, Rogue Trooper Annual 1991, 2000 AD Yearbook 1992.

Rogue Trooper was created by Gerry Finley-Day and Dave Gibbons

Due for release in North America on 18th June 2013 and available to pre-order on Amazon

Rogue Trooper was a big hit with me. This, not so much.

Reboots of films are one thing, reboots of a comic strip is another, I couldn’t see why it was required. I loved Rogue and his dead buddies, I found Friday an uninspiring pale copy. I grew to like Friday well enough, but he was never Rogue to me.

However when looked at as a complete story Friday’s introduction works much better as a Graphic Novel than it did for me in weekly installments. Perhaps it may go down well in USA presented in this way.

There are three stories presented in this volume. The title story was serialised in 2000AD the other two were included in the Rogue Trooper Annual 1991 and the 2000AD Yearbook 1992.

War Machine

There are no weekly titles or credits reproduced on these pages. The story is allowed to flow uninterrupted. I think it is possible to see some of the links between episodes, however that isn’t an issue. The story is paced better when read as a whole .

The art is great, I particularly like the predominance of blue used in the flash backs. In the first fight scenes blues and greens depict out hero and his brothers with war and it’s affects in yellows and reds.

This is a stripped back approach to the origin of the GIs and how Friday goes Rogue. compared to the original Rogue. No Traitor General, no Bio-Chips. Just a senseless battle in a senseless war and the Officers, from the Elite social class pulled out and the grunts abandoned. No mystery, this Rogue Trooper knows who has deserted him.

It still isn’t my Rogue. But on looking at it with fresh eyes it is a well put together story with a good set of themes; loyalty, betrayal, revenge.

Bio Death

Black and white art reminiscent of boys war comics from two decades earlier. We learn more about the nameless backwater planet we were introduced to in War Machine.

The story is standard Rogue Trooper action. Friday finds some enemy soldiers in trouble. Tells them the war is over and helps out. The results of this kind of thing rarely go as either Friday or Rogue would have wanted.

The Arena of Long Knives

Friday encounters a lone enemy soldier scavenging a crashed vehicle. They team up to fend off other scavengers but the enemy soldier turns on Friday.

Below the surface of the planet two factions of survivors of the indigenous species elect Friday and his enemy as Champions in their yearly contest that is a continuation of eons of war for their species. One fight, two combatants.

Friday doesn’t like the idea.

Interestingly I find Kev Walkers art in the second act of this story makes me think of Slaine. A distinct style choice between the [parts of the story set above ground and the part below.

Let’s hope that the USA are ready for an anti-war story disguised as a war story.

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