Coming in 2023 – Garth Ennis And Patrick Goddard Bring Back Rogue Trooper

by Richard Bruton

The return of the classic genetic infantryman, Rogue Trooper, in the 13-part ‘Blighty Valley by writer Garth Ennis and artist Patrick Goddard begins in April.

Well, you will have seen that teaser in our Weekly 2000 AD preview of this year’s Xmas Prog – but now we have more details from 2000 AD about the new Rogue Trooper series.

It’s a return to 2000 AD for a long strip after many years, although of course he’s been a regular over the last few years with one-offs and Specials, most recently penning the brilliant and bittersweet Bonjo tale with Kevin O’Neill for that same Christmas Prog #2312, something that proved to be O’Neill’s final work before his untimely death. It’s also a return to a longer Rogue Trooper series as the last last long-form run was back in 2006. Since then fans of the strip have had to exist on meagre provisions with the occasional one-off appearance.

The new 13-episode story ‘Blighty Valley starts in 2000 AD Prog #2326, on sale from 5th April in the UK and in North America through Diamond Distribution in July – sorry, you poor American cousins.

Rogue Trooper’s first appearance – 1981’s Prog #228 – art by Dave Gibbons


Rogue Trooper goes back to the early days of the comic, created by writer Gerry Finley-Day and artist Dave Gibbons, and debuting in 2000 AD in 1981. He’s the sole surviving G.I. – Genetically-engineered Infantry – fighting in the brutal war between his Souther creators and their deadly enemies the Norts and engineered to be able to survie the poisoned badlands of Nu Earth. But for Rogue and his fellow G.I.s, the real danger came from one of their own and he’s now a lone soldier on the hunt for the ‘Traitor General.’ His only help in this final mission comes from three fallen comrades, whose personalities are encoded onto bio-chips inserted into his helmet, ‘Helm’, backpack, ‘Bagman’, and rifle, ‘Gunnar’.

The one problem over the years with Rogue Trooper has been the relatively one-dimensional nature of the character. In all honesty, he’s a character with a great hook but one whose story was really over and done once that ‘Traitor General’ tale was told. And subsequent Rogue stories haven’t had that great through story to play off.

Early advert teasing the new strip from early 2000 AD – art by Dave Gibbons


However, one thing that marks Rogue Trooper out is that it’s an out and out war story. All the sci-fi elements are just the trappings. So if there’s one writer who could really do something good with Rogue, it’s Garth Ennis. So I’m hoping for great things from this one, especially as Patrick Goddard is an artist firmly in the vein of Gibbons and Steve Dillon, two of the great Rogue artists.

As for what we can expect from ‘Blighty Valley’, we’re back on Nu-Earth for the time of Night’s Horizon, a two-week period in the year where the planet’s orbit takes it closest to a black hole and things get a little weird. And now Rogue Trooper is going to get to experience it first-hand.

One of the other great Rogue artists – Steve Dillon


“For me Rogue Trooper is as vital a part of classic 2000 AD as Judge Dredd, Strontium Dog, Robo-Hunter, Nemesis the Warlock, or Sláine, and I well remember wandering the wastes of Nu Earth with Rogue and the bio-chips on their hunt for the Traitor General. The stories that instantly come to mind are ‘All Hell on the Dix-I Front’, ‘Fort Neuro’, ‘Eye of the Traitor’, ‘You Only Die Twice’ and ‘To The Ends Of Nu Earth’ – I hope ‘Blighty Valley’ will prove a worthy successor to such unadulterated gems.” – Garth Ennis

“Garth Ennis has written classic 2000 AD characters before, but this is the first time he’s scripted Rogue Trooper. As you’d expect from someone steeped in war comics, his take on the G.I. is powerful, thrilling and explosive. With Patrick Goddard providing the stunning visuals, this a dramatic, unmissable addition to the Nu Earth saga.” – Matt Smith, editor 2000 AD

More Rogue Trooper from Steve Dillon



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