Rogue Trooper: Tales Of Nu-Earth 03 Review
An Action Packed Collection With Striking Imagery And Wonderful Sci-Fi Elements
Written By: Gerry Finley-Day, Simon Geller, Steve MacManus, Steve Dillon
Art By: Steve Dillon, José Ortiz, Chris Weston, Brett Ewins
Published By: Rebellion
As the battle between the Norts and Southers rages on the war torn planet, Nu-Earth, the Genetic Infantryman known as Rogue Trooper continues his mission to seek out an anti-gen which will restore his bio-chipped brethren to life. The key to regenerating his fallen comrades, Bagman, Gunnar and Helm, lies somewhere on this hostile planet, but with aggressive life forms including winged aliens and crab soldiers patrolling the land, Rogue Trooper’s journey will be anything but simple.
Published in the same format as the best-selling Judge Dredd Case Files Series, Rogue Trooper Vol 03 collects together the original black and white strips from 2000AD Progs 410-603. With artwork by Steve Dillon (Preacher), José Ortiz (The Thirteenth Floor, Eerie), Chris Weston (Swamp Thing, The Invisibles) and Brett Ewins (Judge Dredd, ABC Warriors) and stories by Gerry Finley-Day, Simon Geller, Steve MacManus and Steve Dillon, Rogue Trooper 03 is an action packed collection with striking imagery and the wonderful sci-fi elements we have grown to expect from 2000AD.
Originally published in 1985, the artwork of Rogue Trooper 03 has a wonderful nostalgic quality to its approach to paneling, story telling and inking. Each comic has a tactile edge to its inking, hand drawn panels and frenetic speech bubbles and sound effects that add a nostalgia to these panels that we, as a generation raised on the cleanliness of photoshop and illustrator, can truly appreciate. The harsh shading and dirty ink lines create a personality to these pages that is lost in so many modern comics whilst also adding to the fast paced, action-packed energy of the comic.
While each individual artist manages to display their personal style in their art (Weston’s immaculately rendered pieces, Dillon’s more simplistic feathering, Bradbury’s introduction of grayscale and of course, Kennedy’s use of out-of-this world colouring), they each manage to capture the aggressive masculine edge that has become so iconic of 2000AD artwork, from 2000AD to ABC Warriors.
The story itself is a simple ‘rescue’ mission style action, with intervening battle between warring tribes and factions as well as the added sub-plot of Rogue Trooper’s mission to end the entire war through a series of assassinations. The style of North vs. South War that we encounter is evidently inspired by the American Civil War, while the style of artwork reflects the Second World War and Cold War. The representation of women in the story is barely touched upon, except through treacherous femme fatales and enemies, making them a negative force in this highly masculine story. While this may alienate a modern female audience, we must appreciate this collection for what it is, a simple but effective testosterone filled war-story. And if that is what you are looking for, then it fulfills the criteria beautifully.
The alien designs hold similarities to 60s and 70s creature features, from the men with ant heads to flying creatures resembling bats, while there is also a Mad-Max dystopic, punk edge to the designs of many rebel characters and ‘civilians’. Dillon’s work could easily be compared to greats such as Jack Kirby in the way he manages to escape the panels and fly directly at the reader, creating a great sense of urgency and adrenaline to his work. Many poses and action sequences could also be compared to the work of Joe Kubert’s Sgt. Rock with it’s masculine, military edge and the way his characters command presence on the page.
Boluda’s use of ink wash and painterly techniques in his backgrounds, textures and figure work is still masterfully crafted and a must see for any wishing to learn from the artwork of the series. His figures are classical and dynamic with many of his characters stepping out of the panels so that you may get a better look at their anatomy and physique.
The wonderful thing that can be said about 2000AD collections is that they do not seem to age. Due to 2000AD’s homages to pulp sci-fi and old school style, even being explored now, as well as their classic nostalgic way of treating their dystopic future, Rogue Trooper is still a relevant piece of artwork for a modern audience. Picking and choosing from fashions and iconic images of the past, they manage to create a universe that is both timeless and recognizable to an audience, in which they can capture their simple yet effective stories of action, heroism and suspense.
Anastasia is a Freelance Illustrator, Writer and Actress based in Wales, UK.
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