Rogue Trooper #1
IDW is treading a bold path, trying to drag the staples of 2000 A.D. over to American shores. This is not unfamiliar ground. DC tried it and failed, movies have been trying to seduce fans of the Judge Joe Dredd’s charms, and in spite of the best efforts of big brands, it has yet to catch.
That being said, I am loving what they have done with Dredd, and now they bring to our attention the less known, but much beloved, Rogue Trooper.
Set in a similar world, a diseased and decrepit cesspool called Nu-Earth, we find ourselves amidst a war raging between North and South. From the South comes a breed of super soldiers, quickly erased from existence. That is, all but one, our Rogue Trooper.
Writer Brian Ruckley breathes a new disgusting, cancerous life into this old world. It is grimy and gross, and everything about the environment feel natural and concerning. There is an essence of extinction on each panel, as the last vestiges of human life scrounge about the muck, and battle for what little life the Earth has yet to give.
The setup is fantastic, and though it is built from a pre-existing shell, it really does seem to take on a life all its own. The characters do feel sincere, and though there is not a great number introduced, it seems to work in pace with an introductory issue quite well. The lacking point is we seem to get little to no sense of where the plot is taking us, or why it is taking us there. We are as confused as our protagonist Rogue Trooper, but it does not create a sense of intrigue as to where we will go next.
On visual, artist Alberto Ponticelli is really killing it. The scenes work into the sense, everything feeling terrible and disgusting, as if being trapped in such a world would be nothing shy of bleak and hopeless. Character designs for the few we are introduced to feel fresh and well planned. The designs for the opposing armies bring pause for admiration, and as for our protagonist, he holds true to the original character design, deviating just enough to make it feel like it is somewhat his own creation, but remaining close enough to make certain the character remains iconic.
In summation, the plot could use a bit of meat, but the world and characters feel well built. The visuals are disgusting in the best possible way, and I can’t wait to see more. This is a book that might surprise us as time passes, and I look forward to future installments.
3 ½ out of 5.