Saturday, 20 September 2008

‘Rogue Trooper’ – ‘Re-Gene’ and ‘Realpolitik’

My journey through the blasted landscape of Nu-Earth has been a bit of a mixed bag, at best, and I’ve been left with the feeling that I would have been better off following this in 2000AD back in the day. It’s all coming to an end though, for me at least, with the ‘Re-Gene’ and ‘Realpolitik’ collections and it’s nice to end things on a bit more of a high...

‘Re-Gene’ picks up the tale with Rogue and his friends back on the Milli-Com space station and trying to make a new life for themselves now the Traitor General has been dealt with. It’s interesting to see how Rogue copes with his new environment, after having been in the warzones for so long, and to see Gunnar, Helm and Bagman in their new bodies (although it’s hard to tell one from another as they have cloned bodies...) Things take a turn for the worse though (well, they have to really...) as a hitherto unforeseen medical condition causes the new clone bodies to disintegrate and Rogue must search for a cure on the planet of Horst where alien life re-enacts it’s own Nort/Souther war...

The ‘Horst’ storyline has a lot going on in terms of cliff-hangers, twists and all out war and makes good reading for anyone who’s into Rogue’s adventures and what he will do for his bio-chipped friends. However, it does fall into the trap, that previous volumes have suffered, where the episodic nature gives rise to a ‘villain of the week’ that has to be bigger and harder than the last one. This formulaic approach can drag after a while.
What’s more interesting though is the introduction of a ‘third party’ of aliens that have their own designs on the black hole that is the cause of the Nu-Earth War. This throws the plot off in a completely different direction which promises interesting developments to come.

After this twist it is a surprise to see ‘Realpolitik’ take Rogue’s story back in time to fill in the gaps arising from the mission to track down the Traitor General. I don’t know if this was strictly necessary, as the story seemed to work fine as it was, but the quality of the stories in the collection more than make up for it. The primary stories concern a Souther hunt to find Rogue (before a genetic condition kills him) and the political fallout around a Nort War Marshal’s obsession with revenge on the man who killed his son (you can guess who that is...) There’s lots of intrigue and action in these stories, and the rest, along with some fascinating side stories that tell us a little more about the war and the people fighting in it. The artwork shows a definite step up in quality as well.
I’d say that this is the best collection, in the series, yet.

The ‘Rogue Trooper’ books have been fun but maybe not as inspiring as I thought they would be (having remembered reading odd bits when I was a child). If you’re a fan and your old comics are falling to pieces then I’d say that they’re worth getting hold of. If you’re not a fan then see if you can borrow them off a friend first...

‘Re-Gene’ – Seven out of Ten.
‘Realpolitik’ – Nine out of Ten

No comments: