Comicsphere: The War Machine by Dave Gibbons & Will Simpson

War-Machine-GN 2000ad was one of those things that shaped my whole sensibility. Before I read a science fiction book or knew what dystopian really was, 2000ad had been warping my mind and giving me dark thoughts about stories I wanted to tell. Judge Dredd, Rogue Trooper, and Strontium Dog were the holy trinity of comic book heroes for me, and the haunted figure of Rogue, trudging through the scarred landscapes of Nu-Earth was in some ways the darkest of them all. The War Machine was a reboot that didn’t feel like a reboot – it never came across as some flashy or unnecessary repackaging of the Rogue Trooper mythos. It was immediate;y something engaging and organic that grabbed you by the shoulders and shook you awake. I remember the comic being at a particular high point at that time, and seeing the next instalment of this story ranked as a moment to be waited for. Beautiful and terrible and in the way it was painted, something new. I had missed a couple of episodes the first time around – I got to read them later as illegal downloads, so getting hold this in my hand feels great. The art still stuns, and the story still packs a visceral punch. That it is not Rogue (something firmly established later in chronology), that is different to Rogue Trooper, means nothing – it has the same spirit, marrow-deep; rings with the same authenticity. i believe it is books like this that elevate the comic to a state of art. Buy it – it is a great thing to own.

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