Rogue Trooper

Rogue Trooper


caption="2000 AD prog 228", the first appearance of Rogue Trooper
character_name=Rogue Trooper
publisher=IPC Media (Fleetway) to 1999, thereafter Rebellion Developments
debut="2000 AD" #228 (1981)
creators=Gerry Finley-Day
Dave Gibbons
alliances= Formerly Southers, now only loyal to himself and the digitised personalities of his former squad-mates, attached to various pieces of equipment;Gunnar (Gun), Helm (Helmet) and Bagman (Backpack)
powers= Various armaments and equipment. Genetically Engineered to be faster, stronger and tougher than a normal human being. Immune to practically all forms of chemical or biological attack. [ [ 2000AD Online Rogue Trooper page] ] |

"Rogue Trooper" is a science fiction strip in the British comic "2000 AD", created by Gerry Finley-Day and Dave Gibbons. It follows the adventures of "Rogue", a G.I. (or Genetic Infantryman, a genetically modified, blue-skinned, manufactured elite soldier) and his three comrades' search for the Traitor General. 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). He is immune to every poison gas known of in the storyline, excepting one series, in which Rogue discovers there is a plant with an entirely new poison. He can submerge in strong acid unaffected.


The story is set on a planet, Nu-Earth, where a perpetual war between the Norts and Southers is being fought. During the war all forms of chemical and biological weapons have been used poisoning the planet and the troops of both sides must live in enclosed cities and fight in protective gear. The Southers have, through genetic engineering, developed a race of warriors who are immune to the deadly atmosphere and will therefore be superior troops. The Souther High Command deploy their secret weapon, the Genetic Infantry, in an airborne assault but a traitor has betrayed the secret of the G.I. to the Norts and they are massacred during the drop.

With Rogue, the only surviving G.I., he goes AWOL in order to track down the Traitor General responsible. Along the way he thwarts numerous Nort schemes, discovers and inadvertently destroys the only portion of Nu-Earth not contaminated by chemical weapons, and is betrayed by every female character he encounters.

Historical influences

Many elements of the Rogue back-story were inspired by World War 2, the American Civil War and the Cold War. Norts (Northerner Unionists) fought against generally less-well equipped Southers (Southern Confederates), and several battles were name-checked, such as the [First Battle of Bull Run|Battle of [Mek-] Bull Run] . The Norts appear totalitarian in nature. While their uniforms have Nazi connotations their dialect and names are mostly quasi-Slavic, as if they represented a futuristic version of the Soviet Bloc, although there is some usage of Germanic names as well, for example General Vagner, Admiral Torpitz. Their conduct and methods of waging war are also more barbaric than those of the comparatively civilised Southers. The Norts' protective suits show only the eyes while the Southers have see-through face panels which reinforce the Good Guy/Bad Guy delineation. "Genetic Infantryman" is a direct homage to the supposed "Government Issue" tag that American troops were nicknamed after.

Different directions

Gibbons left the strip early on, to be replaced by a succession of artists and writers who have taken the strip in several different directions over the years. Notable artists to have drawn the character include Brett Ewins, Cam Kennedy and Colin Wilson. This quest continued from 1981 until 1985, when the G.I. had his final confrontation with the traitor general and, after a brief further run set on the Planet Horst, Finley-Day ceased writing the strip. Simon Geller took over, reinventing the character as an intergalactic hitman attempting to end the war by assassinating key figures, but this new direction was dropped in 1989. John Smith wrote a 'flashback' story, "Cinnabar", set in Rogue's deserter days, before original series artist Dave Gibbons returned to write a much more radical revamp of the character.

In "The War Machine", Gibbons and artist Will Simpson created a different war, set on a different planet, starring a different Genetic Infantryman, this time called Friday. The bio-chips were dropped, and Gibbons concentrated on the politics and economics of war and the sinister nature of the genetic engineering involved. The story was a success. A new ongoing series featuring Friday followed, written by American writer Michael Fleisher, but this was less successful. In Fleisher's final story, "Scavenger of Souls", the bio-chips are reintroduced via an alien 'soul collector'.

Fleischer was replaced with Steve White, who made the military aspect of the strip more up-to-date and tried to reconcile the two versions of the character. He also reintroduced Venus Bluegenes (Helm's treacherous girlfriend from an earlier story who gained a more prominent role during the Simon Geller run) who had her own short spin-off run. His run on the character was also notable for the "2000 AD" debut of artist Henry Flint. Despite White's valiant efforts, the two continuities never really gelled: his decision to add a galaxy-wide religious war into the mix may not have helped.

The character was rested after White's last story in 1996. In 1997 a related character, blue-skinned ambulance pilot Tor Cyan was introduced in the story "Mercy Heights". In a later story it was revealed he was cloned from the original G.I..

In 2002 the original Rogue was reintroduced, again in flashback to his days hunting the traitor general, written by Gordon Rennie. Artists have included Staz Johnson, Dylan Teague, Mike Collins, Simon Coleby and PJ Holden. Rennie states in [ this interview] that he had intended to revamp the character yet again, but had been blocked by "2000AD" editorial. He also hints that any return to the Rogue Trooper universe will concentrate on supporting cast and not include the Rogue character. This can be seen in the new series "The 86ers".


The Rogue Trooper has appeared frequently in comics and novels (and other merchandising, see the next section).

The initial reprints of the 2000AD stories were printed by Titan Books. The most recent books are printed by Rebellion.

The original Rogue Trooper stories chronicling the hunt for the Traitor General are now collected in four publications by Rebellion

* Rogue Trooper:The Future of War
* Rogue Trooper:Fort Neuro
* Rogue Trooper:The Eye of the Traitor
* Rogue Trooper:To the Ends of Nu-Earth

Additional stories have been collected into two more publications by Rebellion

* Rogue Trooper:Re-Gene
* Rogue Trooper:Realpolitik

Once the Rogue Trooper appeared in 2000AD comic in a single big frame telling the comic's readers not to play with fireworks.


* "Crucible" (Gordon Rennie, October 2004 ISBN 1-84416-061-0)
* "Blood Relative" (James Swallow, March 2005 ISBN 1-84416-061-0)
* "The Quartz Massacre" (Rebecca Levene, March 2006 ISBN 1-84416-110-2)

Games and merchandise

A range of Rogue Trooper material has been produced:-
*The Rogue Trooper Boardgame was released in 1987 by Games Workshop.
*Three Rogue Trooper computer games have been released in 1986, 1990, and 2006.


External links

* [ 2000 AD Profile]
* [ Rogue Trooper - 1st Episode] (BBC)
* [ Eidos Rogue Trooper game website]
* [ NTSC-uk's Rogue Trooper Review]
* [ Rogue's International Heroes entry]
* [ Tales of the GI online strip]

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