2000 AD Prog Slog

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Prog 603

The latest in the ad-hoc series of Rogue Trooper stories, Hit Four, concludes this prog with his targets all being killed as instructed earlier by his mysterious benefactor. This time, Rogue and his bio-chip buddies have had to wipe out The New Moral Army in its entirety; an organisation of both South and Nort deserters who have united under a religious extremist.

At the moment, Rogue Trooper by Simon Geller and Steve Dillon is pacey, action packed and accessible. The problem with it is that it helps to emphasis the problem with this period of change that 2000 AD is going through right now. As the comic aims for an older and broader audience characters such as Rogue who established themselves in the guts of the comic’s boy biased past seem somehow to shine a light on the cracks in the current tone.

Rogue never wonders about the moral implications of just unquestioningly appearing and killing his targets. There never seems to be a satisfactory explanation as to why the victims keep the war rolling and are therefore targets in the first place. The bio-chips are chirper these days and never seem to hint at any sort of trauma at having experienced full body loss. Basically, the strip is dumber now than when Gerry Finley-Day wrote it.

If 2000 AD continued to be aimed at ten years olds as it once was, then a dumb strip like this would be perfectly acceptable, but now it’s aimed at seventeen year olds and somehow redirected Rogue Trooper, along with most of the other newer strips, seems less intelligent than what came before it.

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  • I went to an event recently at the BFI where Matt Smith (current Tharg), Pat Mills and Robbie Morrison were discussing 2000AD, past, present and future.

    They talked quite a lot about how the readers have kind of grown-up with but not grown out of 2000AD and that it's telling in the fact that the readers' average age is 30+.

    When the comic tried to become more 'grown-up' and the problems with characters like Rogue really started the average age was probably, as you say, around 17...

    I think it's a shame that comics in general and especially 2000AD have a much older (Fight Club generation) readership.

    Despite the problems, I was still reading cover to cover at this point. I was loving the higher quality production values and in awe of the artists.

    By Blogger Kevin Levell, at 8:29 am  

  • Paul,
    I've never been able to work out why the Hit stories in Rogue Trooper didn't work, until now! Your analysis is, to my mind, is absolutely spot on. I remember thingking that these stories where better written than a lot of the Finley-Day stuff, but weren't as good for some reason. Certainly there's a high quality of action, but as you say they lack emotional and moral sophistication, not to mention the plain weirdness of some of the earlier stories' settings and weaponry that made it a good boys romp.

    By Blogger alexf, at 2:23 pm  

  • That Rogue Trooper story is one of those I remember loving at the time but have no desire to reread whatsoever. I realised they were making it up as they went along when they decided to abruptly round off the story roundabout hit 4 or hit 5?

    But I loved John Higgins' cover of this prog. As ever it was always a bit of a thrill to see an artist doing a brilliant image of a character they weren't usually associated with!

    By Blogger Tam, at 2:25 pm  

  • Kevin, I think there was still a lot of promise at this point and, first time, hope that its former glory would return.

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 5:44 pm  

  • Alex, Geller writes in what I think of as the 2000 AD house style but The Hit stories seem to lack any sense of anything outside of itself. Stuff written by Grant, Wagner and Mills is always aware of what is going on in the outside world, I think.

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 5:47 pm  

  • Tam, all of the Higgins cover were great at this time.

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 5:48 pm  

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