Spinning out of the world of ROGUE TROOPER comes a new one-shot from 2000 AD. Written by Gordon Rennie and drawn Simon Coleby. The dystopian future offers readers new and old a new look at the world of ROGUE TROOPER that stands out on its own. Writer Gordon Rennie talked to us about this one-shot.
COMIC VINE: What is Jaegir about?
GORDON RENNIE: It’s set in the Nordland Republic, which is a totalitarian future state engaged in an endless galactic war with their enemies, the Southern Cross Confederacy. It’s about the effects constant war has on a society, how totalitarian states depend on war and fear in order to sustain themselves, and about the lengths a war society is willing to go to in order to win.Light-hearted stuff like that.
CV: Who is Atalia Jaegir?
GR: She’s an ex-veteran who’s now a military detective with the Office of Public Truth, one of the state’s many secret police organisations. She investigates war crimes by her nation’s armed forces......which is a pretty big task in a military that’s willing to go to almost any extremes in order to win the war. Basically, imagine a conscientious Gestapo detective whose job it was to investigate Nazi atrocities and all the horrible things the Nazis would want covered up.
CV: What was it like working in the world of Rogue Trooper, one of 2000 AD's most consistently popular characters?
GR: Well, I’m no stranger to the Rogue Trooper universe. I’ve written a bunch of Rogue Trooper comic strips in the past, as well as a Rogue Trooper novel, and the award-nominated script for the 2006 Rogue Trooper video game. The fun part this time, though, was looking at Rogue’s world from the POV of the people who had traditionally always been the bad guys in Rogue stories.
CV: Was there any fear or concern about injecting new concepts and characters into this world?
GR: The hardest part was making the Norts – as they’ve always been called in Rogue Trooper stories – into believable, realistic characters. But that was also the point, as well. They were always completely one-dimensional space Nazi types in the original Rogue stories, and I wanted to show there’s more to people than that. Even the supposed bad guys. Everyone has a reason for what they do - why they wage wars, why they believe their cause is more just than that of their enemies.
I also really, really wanted to explain why, in the old stories, artists like Dave Gibbons always drew the Norts as if they were facially deformed. There had to be a better reason for it that “they’re bad guys, and one-dinensional bad guys are all ugly”.
CV: What about this character and world do you think will appeal to American fans, mainly ones who are already familiar with Judge Dredd?
GR: She’s more sympathetic than Dredd, because she’s opposed to the system that she’s been enveloped into. She believes in protecting her people from their enemies, but not at the extreme lengths the state she serves often goes to. Dredd’s had doubts about the justice system he serves, but, to me, they’ve often just been lip service to the readers’ concerns about the character, and the actual status quo never changes. Dredd’s at the top of the power system in Mega-City One; if he wanted to change the system, he could, but he doesn’t. Jaegir isway down the pecking order in her powwer system, despised because she investigates her own kind.
CV: What were your inspirations for this story?
GR: Thoughts about patriotism and propaganda, the War on Terror, how totalitarian systems actually work. Reading up on the history of things like Nazi Germany or Soviet Russia, and thinking about what it would actually be like to be an ordinary person caught up in serving these regimes.
CV: Are their any post-apocalyptic stories, whether they be other comics, film, or television, that you really enjoy?
GR: Well, not post-apocalyptic, but I was definitely thinking of novels like Fatherland, about a Gestapo detective investigating the cover-up about the Holocaust in a 1960s where Germany won World War Two – or the detective novels of Martin Cruz Smith and Philip Kerr about, respectively, detectives in Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia. They all ask the same question; if the job of a detective in crime fiction is to uncover the truth, then how does that work in a society where everyone knows the truth, but no-one dares say it.
Or, as one of the quotes we used to launch the series says “A police state is a country run by criminals.”
CV: What was it like working with Simon Coleby, who has done some stunning work in the past?
GR: Simon and I have worked together before, principally on some old Rogue Trooper stories – and I think we’re both a lot more self-assured about what we’re doing now. We had fairly in-depth discussions before we began about what Nort society would actually be like, and what it would be like to live among that kind of culture.
CV: Any particular moments from this issue that you were really fond of?
GR: The opening scene, with Jaegir chasing her quarry across this horrible industrial landscape completely polluted by all the run-off and spill from the surrounding giant munitions factories, that run day and night churning out materiel for the war effort. It sets the scene pretty well about about what the world of this story is all about.
Thanks to Gordon for answering our questions and make sure to check out JAEGIR: STRIGOI which is available on the 2000 AD website right now!