Last month, I did a review of IDW Publishing's latest refurbishing from the storied 2000 AD catalog. They have been successful with their Judge Dredd renderings. But with Rogue Trooper, they took a stab at the all blue, all fighting, all bad assed, genetically engineered super soldier who is searching for answers within the planet he has been bred to not only survive at, but thrive as well. Rogue Trooper is a highly beloved character of the 2000 AD universe and IDW "blew up" the first issue, making it one of my favorite titles last month. I couldn't heap enough praise on it. But that was one issue last month. Could the creative team manage to muster that same awesome mojo they had in the first one? Or did they hit the nitrous too early making for a slow "comedown" from the pinnacle of awesomeness that they now find themselves? My answer is Yes! and No! Though I think that it would have been damn near impossible to hit the same adrenaline charge that permeates the first installment, I do think that Brian Ruckley, Alberto Ponticelli, and company hit a decent stride in Issue #2 that will not disappoint, and maybe even add a little substance to our boy in blue as we get to see quite a bit of interaction with him, his dead peers, and other human types.
Brian Ruckley returns to Issue 2 right where 1 ended. Our Rogue is escorting an inexperienced Souther fighter of whom he rescued back to his base. Once there, Rogue gets to recharge, refuel, and reload as the superiors of the dilapidated and outdated Souther base welcome him and show a great deal of empathy to their perfect weapon. The same cannot be said of the Souther brass up in space who have sent a crack team of soldier assassins down to put an end to Rogue's insubordination. Oh yeah, the Norts are still out there too, ready to strike a kill blow on the Southers and take this godforsaken mineral rich hellhole of a planet.
Ruckley's working on the script is a nice practice in precision. He does a good job in depicting Rogue’s interactions with everyone. He blends a nice element of humor and seriousness that works well as you get a deeper look into the psyche of Rogue and his fallen comrades who are now in chip form. You see a man who is destined to remain on this godforsaken mineral rich hellhole of a planet. But that's okay because he actually likes it there. The indoors are the hard place for him.
Alberto Ponticelli continues to take care of business on art. He draws the landscape of Nu Earth in a brutal light making you feel the intensity of the whole place. The interesting touch though is that through his artistic renderings, you see Rougue as a softening feature against the brutal reality. Rogue is a man perfectly at home amongst the desolation.
Though I wasn't as blown away with this issue as I was the with the first, Ruckley and Ponticelli still managed to maintain a strong story and a strong character for a classic 2000 AD icon. This issue is definitely worth the price for admission and the future looks quite promising for the reader in regard to future issues.
Writer: Brian Ruckley Artist: Alberto Ponticelli Publisher: IDW Publishing Price $3.99 Release Date: 4/2/14 Format: Ongoing - Print/Digital