A war which has raged for decades, while the opposing forces of the Norts and the Southers may have dwindled in their numbers their determination has only increased, and as a consequence of the conflict the planet they share has become poisoned, Nu-Earth a toxic wasteland where protective suits and helmets are needed to survive.
A new initiative launched by the Southers, the Genetic Infantryman programme is intended to break the stalemate, super soldiers able to survive unprotected in the atmosphere and push through the Nort lines, but they have been betrayed before the campaign is even launched.
An ambush waiting for them in the Quartz Zone, there is one survivor who along with the rescued biochips of his three fallen comrades who now form part of his field equipment will track down the traitor within command, a soon to be legandary GI who will become known as Rogue.
A character now as synonymous with 2000AD as Judge Dredd and Johnny Alpha, it wasn’t until more than four years into the run that Rogue Trooper first appeared in the pages of the iconic British science fiction comic, launched as a “future war story” on the front cover of the issue dated 5th September 1981, and like the backstory of the strip that war has now progressed continuously on different fronts ever since.
Created by Gerry Finley-Day and Dave Gibbons, writer/director Adam Kirley has adapted the events of the Quartz Massacre into an all-too short film now available on YouTube, Rogue played by stuntman Damien Walters and Helm briefly embodied by Roy Taylor before he joins Joey Ansah’s Gunnar and Adam Basil’s Bagman as nothing more than an electronic voice.
At only six and a half minutes, minus the end credits and the prelude narrated by James Cosmo there is only four minutes of action, a disappointment after the wider ambition of previous 2000AD inspired fan films Judge Minty and Search/Destroy, yet action is what there is as Rogue crashes into the fray.
The dialogue minimal and functional, the prelude actually gives more plot than the film and a lot more visual variety though the live action maintains the comic book style visuals but it’s too brief to be anything other than a single extended fight scene, fortunately handled with expertise both by the performers and Kirley’s crew.
Built on blood and bullets but not much beyond basic characterisation, for all this The Quartz Massacre works well at what it is, which is primarily an energetic and stylish showcase for Damien Walters; made distinct from his colleagues by being the GI with his shirt off, it’s to be hoped the attention this garners might justify a more developed expansion which the fans deserve which will delve into the deeper themes of the war which never ends.