There is no denying that I have thoroughly enjoyed this run of “Classics” of the legendary 2000AD character Rogue Trooper. Each issue has been a renewal for me of a character that I had dug on pretty seriously back in the days when I wore a younger man’s clothes. Along with Judge Dredd, Rogue Trooper was one of those pillars of the 2000AD stable that hit the themes of futuristic doom and gloom with an all too human element of heart and soul. Though genetically engineered to be the ultimate fighting machine, this blue man during prog after prog in 2000AD always was able to show a level of humanity that many of his human counterparts never did. The same rang true for Rogue’s fallen comrades Gunner, Helm, and Bagman who were once Genetic Infantry (GI) too, but were killed. Before they were fully dead, Rogue was able to implant their life forces into disk to be reunited with another body when the time comes. With these “Classics”, now in their final issue, I believe that IDW Publishing did things right and captured a character that can appeal to old farts like me as well as younger readers. It has been dead on in its presentation. And I know that I find myself feeling loss now that this last issue has been released. Just because this is the last issue though, don’t for a second think that these tales lighten up. Up on the slate here, we reach the conclusion of the multi episode “All Hell on the Dix-I Front” and the smaller two-part story of “The Assassination Run”. Regarding “Dix-I”, Rogue has hit every corner on the front and has left a pathway of destruction along the way, mostly in the form of dead Nort soldiers. Making this story interesting are the many layers of people encountered along the way, especially a small village in the Ozarks area of Dix-I that has been untouched by the war and all of its collateral damage. Within this issue, the war comes to them and we get an intense and really genius wrap that shows that old Rogue isn’t just a mass of maraud ring muscle. But a soldier that thinks on his feet as well. The same rings true for Rogue’s fallen comrades who are rushed back to the forefront and the ending of this story. It all makes for one thoroughly entertaining reading that can be read alone or altogether with the previous issues.
With the “Assassination Run”, the biggest happening with this two-part tale is Rogue’s second encounter with Mr. Brass and Mr. Bland, two “collectors” of discarded debris from the war. Another solid side story that begins in the war zone, but eventually reaches all the way to the top of the Nort command once all is said and done. But of course, Rogue has bigger fish to fry in his quest, namely, the Traitor General. We end where we begin back on that quest. Which is a nice way to end this eight issue run.
I know that I have spoke to it before, but Gerry Finley-Day’s writing is perfect for the title. Like war itself, things happen and Finley-Day writes in a style that reports the action and reacts accordingly with proper response. By the end of “All Hell on the Dix-I Front”, Finley-Day has evolved Rogue into being the character that he was to become. This was a fitting story to place in these “Classics”.
With the art, we once again have a committee at work with Brett Ewing on the top side of the “Dix-I” Front and Colin Wilson on the back-end. Wilson’s art has been one that I have really enjoyed during this run as he is probably one of the lesser known artists on Rogue Trooper compared to the likes of Cam Kennedy or the great Dave Gibbons who started the run. But I have found his shadowy style of Wilson to be appealing that really nails the putrid hell hole that is Nu Earth. He rocks it along with Kennedy’s work on “The Assassination Run”. I haven’t been as much into Ewing’s work as he has more of a “comic booky” feel. But, Ewing is ample in his portrayals and all three artists represented here work their art well with Finley-Day’s tight writing.
I am starting the call right now IDW…Please, Please, PLEASE make sure that in 2015 we see more of these Rogue Trooper Classics. This has been one super eight issue go that really wowed me all the way through, even though I have seen these before in other print. The style is perfect and I think Rogue Trooper’s essence has been captured. I am definitely hoping for more in the future.
Writer: Gerry Finley-Day Artists: Brett Ewing, Colin Wilson, and Cam Kennedy Publisher: IDW Publishing Price: $3.99 Release Date: 12/10/14