Monday, December 15, 2008

Timing, part seven.

I haven't read 2000 AD or any of it's related titles in a dog's age, and the one's I have were older anyway; but it's still ongoing. I used to get the Fleetway/Quality reprints of Judge Dredd, but a nice reprint book had a great Rogue Trooper tale that introduced me to Gunnar, Bagman, and Helm. Oh, and Rogue too, I guess.

Quick setup: in science-fictiony wartorn future, vatgrown clones called GI's, for "Genetic Infantrymen," are the new face of war between rival factions the Norts and the Southers. (I had to look it up, Rogue was a Souther.) Betrayed by the Traitor General, who presumably wasn't called that before that incident, Rogue is the last surviving GI; but three of his squadmates are "saved" to biochips, so they could be put in new bodies someday. (Presumably, this was less for humanitarian reasons, than as a cost-cutting timesaver to training a new trooper.) So Rogue's fighting the traditional one-man war, just backed up by his talking hat, gun, and backpack; who actually are helpful and entertaining.

Most of the time: the story I remember begins with an exhausted Rogue trudging through some godforsaken no-man's land, while Helm, Gunnar, and Bagman argue. Fed up, Rogue tells them to can it; but Bagman counters with a little story about how much he needs them: his memory temporarily wiped out by a gas attack, his disembodied friends guide him to safety. Rogue almost buys it, except in Bagman's story, the three don't argue once. Helm and Gunnar immediately snipe on Bagman for dropping the ball there, and Rogue decides to take a little walk without them. A fun little eight-page number, that tells you everything you really need to know about the characters and their setting.

I preferred Rogue's comic to Strontium Dog's, but Johnny Alpha was both lucky enough to get his own action figure (unlike Rogue) and Shaun of the Dead's Simon Pegg played SD in a couple audio plays. In SD's future, mutants are treated quite as badly as in Bishop's: they aren't rounded up and put in concentration camps, but they do live in ghettos and the only job for most of them is Strontium Dog, a sort of bounty hunter. The comic was actually a little more unusual when it started--there's an early mission where Johnny and his partner Wulf the viking are sent back to capture Hitler--but I think it mostly settled in to sci-fi western adventure.

If I'm not mistaken, Johnny's currently dead, although he and the also-deceased Wulf made an appearance in Judge Dredd a few years back, through the magic of time-travel. (For those of you not familiar with Dredd, mutants aren't welcome in Mega-City One either...) I also gather killing Johnny off is considered a mistake, and that a revival will probably happen sometime.

"Timing" continues on Wednesday, and later this afternoon: Acts of Vengeance lasted a little over three months, didn't have it's own or any subsidary mini-series, and didn't set up the next year's worth of storylines: would it even be called a crossover today?


SallyP said...

Hilarious as always. I've never read Rogue Trooper either, although I know OF it. Apparently the artist did a bunch of Lt. Blueberry prequels at some point, which is nice if you are a Blueberry fan...which I am.

Oh Wade. You're just SO adorable.

Anonymous said...

Rogue Trooper has a videogame.

Free on gametap even!

Also, because I brag obsessively (sorry) I just got ROM, SPACEKNIGHT (The action figure) for a buck fifty this weekend. No weapons, but the sounds and lights still work fine.

googum said...

Hell, I don't think I've ever even seen a Rom figure...I did have a dream about a Marvel Legend Rom, but I might as well wish for my own neutralizer there...

And of course, I mention Rouge Trooper and Strontium Dog, then don't find any of their comics for a while. SD later this month, maybe.