X-na­tion army

Noel Clarke on his new comic The Troop

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Red Alert -

Grow­ing up in a “rough place” in the late ’70s and early ’80s, comic books were of­ten Noel Clarke’s refuge from the world. Now the film­maker is pen­ning his own su­per­hero se­ries for Ti­tan Comics. Billed as “an edgy soap opera with vi­o­lence and su­per­heroes”, The Troop ap­pears to em­u­late the group dy­nam­ics of Chris Clare­mont’s sem­i­nal Un­canny X-Men run, al­though ac­cord­ing to the author any sim­i­lar­ity is en­tirely un­in­ten­tional.

“With the X-Men, that’s clas­sic stuff and this is just me,” Clarke says. “But isn’t al­most ev­ery comic a soap opera? It’s a story. It has beats to hit, and hope­fully it hits them but, within that, peo­ple have to re­late to some of the char­ac­ters.”

Hav­ing risen to promi­nence play­ing Mickey Smith in Doc­tor Who, Clarke has since mostly con­cen­trated on writ­ing, di­rect­ing and star­ring in his own movies like The Anom­aly, which should have stood him in good stead for scripting The Troop. “I found it tough at first; harder than movies even,” he ad­mits. “I’m not say­ing my films are mas­ter­pieces but I tend to write de­cent di­a­logue and speeches.”

Il­lus­trated by Joshua Cas­sara, the five-parter is the first in­stal­ment of a pro­posed quar­tet of in­ter­linked ti­tles, which also in­cludes the forth­com­ing Girl 1, which “is con­nected to The Troop quite strongly”.

Made up of a 10-strong ros­ter that in­cludes its Aus­tralian leader Ter­rain and Brazil­ian triplets Jade, Trace and El­e­ment, Clarke’s teenage pro­tag­o­nists tackle some im­por­tant so­cial is­sues, such as youngest mem­ber Virus’s ha­bit­ual self-harm­ing. “When she does that and even­tu­ally stops, some girl some­where might get it and might stop as well, or at least re­late to that char­ac­ter and find an es­cape in her,” he says. “But I make no bones about it, Virus might not and some­thing worse might hap­pen, which is what also hap­pens in real life.”

The Troop #1 is pub­lished by Ti­tan Comics

on 9 De­cem­ber.

We’re not sure what the lit­tle girl is hold­ing, but we’re not en­tirely com­fort­able with it.

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