Comic Book: Rogue Trooper
is an ongoing science-fiction strip created by Gerry Finley-Day and Dave Gibbons in the British comic 2000 AD
and first published in 1981.
Against a backdrop of a future war between two factions, the noble Southers and evil Norts, the comic follows Rogue, a G.I. (Genetic Infantryman
), and his three comrades' search for the Traitor General, a man in the Souther high command who sold the Southers' battle plans to the Norts, which led to the massacre of all the GIs except Rogue. His comrades are in the form of biochips (onto which a G.I.'s entire personality is downloaded at the time of death for later retrieval) and are named Gunnar (mounted on Rogue's rifle), Bagman (on his backpack) and Helm (on his helmet).
After about three years, Rogue finally found and killed the Traitor General. He was again inducted into the Souther army, but then (without a major goal), the comic floundered and ultimately sputtered out.
Gibbons returned to the strip in 1990, this time as a writer. He completely rebooted the series with a new character, new war, and new planet. The biochips were done away with, since Gibbons wanted the new protagonist—Friday—to have a more spiritual connection with his comrades. However, the story was basically the same: all but one of the GIs are wiped out in a massacre, and the one survivor goes rogue and treks back to the high command to find out what happened.
Gibbons' run was short but well acclaimed. It was pretty self-contained, though left the door open for future stories. After his run ended, Michael Fleisher picked it up and had a new set of adventures as Friday wandered Nu Earth trying to do justice where he could. This run reintroduced the biochips, which—to Gibbons' chagrin—turned out to be the most popular aspect of the Rogue continuity.
Steve White took up the writing after Fleisher, and in order to regain interest, he had Friday team up with Rogue, who now existed in the same universe. This move was not well received due to continuity issues and some rather controversial plot points.
The series was supposedly ended for good in 1996, though there was the odd spinoff or two. In 2002, popular writer Gordon Rennie revisited the Rogue
continuity with a new series of stories set during the hunt for the Traitor General. This series was well received, and Rennie attempted to reboot the continuity for a second time, but his editors blocked him. He has said he would like to write more stories in the Rogue Trooper
universe, but these would focus on side characters and what's going on elsewhere on Nu Earth. Rennie would later create The 86ers
, based in the same universe, but in a different star system, and Jaegir
, focusing on the Norts.
Most recently, the comic was adapted into a video game by Rebellion Developments
, who currently also publish 2000 AD
and have the rights to most of its characters. Rogue Trooper: Quartz Zone Massacre
was released on the PS2
, Xbox 360
, and PC
in 2006, and again on the Wii
in 2009. Though it features the characters and premise of the Rogue
continuity, the story is very different, and much of the technology has been altered to make the game play "more fun."
Tropes associated with this work:
- Action Girl: Venus Bluegenes.
- Alternate Continuity: The video game, up to a point. It follows the original Rogue continuity reasonably closely — a lot of the locations are there, though in a different order. It's the ending where the major difference occurs.
- The Friday version was supposed to be this until the two continuities were merged.
- Alternate Universe: A What If? strip: what if Gunner had survived the Quartz Zone Massacre instead of Rogue? He uses Souther troops as decoys. They later kill him, Rogue and the rest of the team, leaving his skeleton in the sand.
- Abnormal Ammo: In the Rogue continuity, the weapons are described as being "las" based, but they are depicted as ejecting casing like projectile weapons. A close-up of a cartridge reveals that the bullets have lenses, which is somewhat similar to older descriptions of Imperial Guardman's las-gun.
- "Sammies", which are essentially surface-to-air rifle grenades.
- A Nazi by Any Other Name: The Norts from the original continuity.
- Armchair Military: Milli-com, the southern high command, operate from a giant space station light-years from the war. Oddly for this trope, most of them seem to be combat veterans.
- Awesome Backpack: Bagman in the Rogue continuity.
- The Baroness: Kaptain Natashov.
- Black and Gray Morality: While the Norts are shown as Obviously Evil Commie Nazis, the Southers aren't a whole lot better.
- Blood Knight: Gunnar.
- Brain Uploading: The GI bio-chips. Mostly in the original, though not unseen in newer incarnations.
- I Cannot Self-Terminate: In the Rogue continuity, Rogue encounters a interesting version of the trope, a super soldier prototype (a predecessor of himself) waiting out in the wilderness to die a death of old age, seeing it as dignified and declaring that "suicide ain't my style". Rogue subsequently holds off a Nort assault force in order to give the old man his wish, the narrative stating openly that it's something he wants for himself one day.
- Friday attempts suicide, but finds that he's been genetically programmed to be unable to do so.
- Canon Discontinuity: The crossover between the original Rogue and Friday.
- And probably most of Friday's adventures, barring The War Machine.
- Commie Nazis
- Continuity Reboot: The return of Gibbons in 1989 created this; fittingly, as Rogue's story had run to completion by that point.
- Cool Tank: The tanks are equally cool and terrifying.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: A particularly bad one is the main villain in the Friday continuity.
- Death World: Nu Earth. Very much Nu Earth.
- De Terminator: Rogue travels all over Nu Earth hunting down the Traitor General and will not let an entire world at war get in his way.
- The Dreaded: Rogue amongst the Norts. "Blue-skinned devil" is a common nickname for him. As he travels around Nu Earth, killing Norts and helping Southers, his reputation increases. Some Norts have nightmares about him.
- Dress-Coded for Your Convenience: It's readily apparent who's on what side.
- Dropped a Bridge on Him: Rogue, Helm and Bagman are all killed off during Friday's run. 8-Ball goes as well and Gunnar replaces him in Friday's rifle.
- Elite Mooks: Most notably the Kashan Legion. Hard, ruthless bastards who all but annihilated the G.I. Regiment. Granted, they had some help, but that's still pretty Badass Normal.
- Enemy Mine: Rogue is recruited by a group of Nort generals to assassinate their War Marshal to try and prevent an offensive that will wipe out everyone on Nu Earth. He succeeds, but Arkhan betrays and kills the generals, becoming War Marshal himself.
- Fan of the Past: A dark version of this trope occurred in the Rogue Trooper story "Fort Neuro". Rogue arrived at the titular fort, hoping to find shelter and some time to let the biochips calm down. However, the stress of holding off a Nort siege for years coupled with isolation caused the four garrisons to degenerate into parodies of Napoleonic France, a 50s British seaside resort, a group of disco freaks, and wannabe supermodels. Rogue and the robots eventually managed to knock some sense into them.
- Gaia's Lament: Nu Earth is an absolute ecological disaster with a toxic, unbreathable atmosphere. The GIs were basically created to survive in this environment. The Nu Earth in Friday's continuity is actually Earth itself.
- Gas Mask Mooks: The Norts. Justified in that the horribly toxic atmosphere of Nu Earth makes chem-suits essential for any normal human.
- Genetic Engineering Is the New Nuke: Subverted. While the GIs are incredibly skilled and resilient soldiers (particularly Rogue), the GI program is implied to have been cancelled after the Quartz Zone Massacre.
- Hopeless War: While never directly stated, it is suggested that the Southers are constantly losing to the numerically superior Norts, leading them to develop wonder weapons like the G.I.'s.
- Insert Grenade Here: A common way Rogue destroys Nort heavy tanks.
- Klingon Promotion: Most Nort War Marshals.
- Meaningful Name: Rogue got his name long before he went rogue as there was always something different about him compared to other GIs. Friday's came from the fact that he was cloned on a Friday (More specifically, he was a "Friday job", where less attention was put into it, due to the impending weekend) and had a flaw in him, leaving him less brainwashed. And, of course, Colonel Kovert.
- The three comrades Rogue saves in biochip form are named Helm, Bagman and Gunnar. His equipment has slots for biochips on the helmet, backpack and rifle. Guess who goes where?
- The Mole: Sister Sledge.
- The Neidermeyer: Major Magnam.
- One-Man Army: Rogue was created to kill Norts and that's what he does, even after he goes Rogue. He fights to find the truth behind the Traitor General, not caring who or how many he has to kill to do it.
- Spinoff: A couple, notably Venus Bluegenes, which follows the female GI of the same name, and Mercy Heights, about a GI ambulance driver.
- More recently, The 86ers focused on a squadron of pilots based in the Acoma system.
- Jaegir focuses on the Norts.
- Recycled In Space: The American Civil War with the Southers as the Confederate and the Norts and the Union.
- To add to this there is reference to "Nu Georgia" and the "Battle of Mek-bull Run". A large area in the south is named Dix-I.
- There's elements of World War 2 in it too, with the Norts being very Nazi-esque and the Southers based on the Allies. The acronym for Genetic Infantry is no coincidence.
- Sole Survivor: Rogue and Friday were both this in their respective battles (as was the old soldier waiting to die whom Rogue encountered).
- Super Soldier: Many, most notably Rogue and Friday.
- State Sec: The Souther Secret Service, more commonly known as S3. They wear grey uniforms with no rank or insignia. Their initials are not coincidental.
- Suicide Attack: A Christmas 2010 special had a Nort plot to destroy the Souther's military command with a clone of Rogue which explodes after it is killed.
- Tank Goodness: The Blackmare Tank. Its main turret is bigger than most whole normal tanks.
- Those Two Bad Guys: Bland and Brass, body-looters and war profiteers.
- Those Wacky Norts
- The Unreveal: It is never identified which of the four Souther Generals was the Traitor due to massive facial disfigurement.
- Although it's a bit of a moot point, since the three innocent generals are all killed when the Traitor sabotages the satellite they were on. His escape doesn't go as smoothly as planned, leading to the aforementioned disfigurement.
- Took a Level in Dumbass: In the Friday continuity, Gunnar is flanderised from a Blood Knight down to what would be Dumb Muscle if he had a body.
- Walking Nu Earth: Rogue is wandering around the war-torn Nu Earth in an effort to discover the Traitor General and occasionally stops to help Souther troops.
- Walking Shirtless Scene: All GIs, as they aren't given shirts before going into combat.
- War Is Hell - Nu Earth, upon which Rogue's story takes place, is described in canon as "the ultimate monument to war".
- We Have Reserves: Both sides employ this trope to various levels. The Souther Milli-com will order troops to continue suicidal attacks, while Nort battle commanders will have their men charge enemy positions.