2000 AD Prog Slog

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Prog 255

Long time readers of The Slog might remember me wondering if script robot Gerry Finley-Day should be thought of, in 2000 AD terms, as being nearer to a premier league than fourth division script robot. At the time, there was little around to justify my musings, although I always liked Disaster 1990, but Rogue Trooper must be coming some of the way to validating my idle thoughts.

In this prog, Rogue makes his way through the Petrified Forest unaware that he is being followed by the failed Nort versions of the genetic infantryman programme. It’s a tale drawn by art robot Mike Dorey, another artist who at first glance looks like a traditionalist but on correct inspection draws an exciting comic strip with Rogue interpreted as the taught, well trained soldier that he is supposed to be.

It’s easy with the benefit of knowing what this thrill later becomes to scoff at the notion that Rogue Trooper is currently a threat to Judge Dredd’s number one position in the readers’ poll. At this point in time, however, it’s not only had the benefit of some great artists (such as Dave Gibbons and Colin Wilson) but also some taught, well written scripts. The economy of language employed by Finley-Day is similar to the styles used by Wagner, Grant and Mills. In fact, there are moments of humour, even if they do occur less frequently than in other thrills. In this episode for example, before going to sleep, Rogue puts Gunner on sentry duty. He then turns to his helmet and says, “Helm…?” to which Helm replies, “let me guess – pillow duty”. Okay, Finley-Day doesn’t write Rogue Trooper with the same sense of subtlety, subversion and humour, nor imagination as his premier league contemporaries but he’s working in the same spirit.

Rogue Trooper, the thrill, is flawed. For example, all the South soldiers are written as innocent, inexperienced young men and all three of the biochips seem to have the same personality. However, in my opinion, many of the best comic strips are a good idea with blemishes on the surface. A good writer would take those blemishes and use them to help generate stories, which is exactly what Finley-Day seems to be doing.

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  • Reading the original series, I'm not sure how anybody ever rooted for the Southers anyway. The Norts are much more interesting, with cool uniforms and weapons, along with great swear words like STAK!

    By Blogger Grant, at 3:40 pm  

  • Grant, I'm not getting into a discussion about evil armies having better uniforms, thank you very much.

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 6:03 pm  

  • Well, if not "cool," perhaps we can agree that they're not as cumbersome as those fool atmospheric pressure suits that the Southers had to wear. :-) Then again, perhaps I'm biased by my first exposure to Rogue Trooper coming via Dez Skinn's Quality Comics, where the bulky Souther uniforms were all colored in varying shades of pink...

    But more importantly, we meet a variety of odd and interesting characters among the Norts all through Finley-Day's run. It quickly gets to the point that the only interesting Southers we ever meet are either insane like the bunch at Fort Neuro, or they turn out to be Nort double-agents.

    By Blogger Grant, at 9:25 pm  

  • Grant, I agree with you re the Norts. I was just thinking about Brain Ferry when I wrote my last reply.

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 6:08 pm  

  • Re: the personalities of the three chips, wasn't Gunner a bit more psychotic than the other two? Don't remember much difference between Helm and Bagman, mind you.

    By Blogger dmstarz, at 4:34 pm  

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