Early afternoon, we need something to watch on TV. My wife needs noise to block out the sound of other people eating and I need something other than the endless Youtube being watched by my son. Something that will keep all our attentions and so I look on Disney+ and see The Bad Batch. This series is set at the end of the Clone Wars and follows the adventures of a group of “wrong” clones. Elite misfits with specific skills, abilities and personalities. I have not done enough research yet but clearly these defective Clones have a greater personal identity than that first of the regular clones and secondary the later Storm Troopers. And yet this is a very clever production and clearly a lot of thought has gone into it. All the clones, despite being different have similar characteristics and are voiced by the same actor. This guy is amazing. He must be have conversations with himself in different, but the same, voices. I once played three four characters in the same day and lost myself in a sea of identities, I don’t know how this guy does it.
The Bad Batch clearly draws on a familiar theme in war films, that is of a crew of misfits who come together and use their special skills to fulfil an impossible and suicidal mission. The best examples of this genre are ‘The Guns of the Navarone’ and ‘The Dirty Dozen.’ In the course of this series I will have to watch them again, just so I can be properly informed of course.
This trope is used across fiction and one of my favourites is the ABC Warriors. These are incredibly well developed characters who fight, rescue, survive and grow as individuals across time and space in the 2000AD universe. The characters map across very effectively, Hunter is similar to Hammerstein, Crosshair is startlingly similar to Joe Pineapples before his breakdown. Joe Pineapples starts as a frankly constipated character until the influence of Khaos ‘relaxes’ both him and his dress code. I am not far into the Bad Batch and I wonder what Crosshair would be like if they got his inhibitor chip out of him. Wrecker is very similar to Mongol. What is significantly different is the strong moral code of the Bad Batch. There would be no place in their ranks for Mekquake and his complete disregard for human life or the evil Blackblood, although I suspect they would find a role in the service of the Empire.
The Dirty Dozen trope manifests in the Warhammer 40K universe as the Last Chancers. The Last Chancers combine the Dirty Dozen with the dark humour that 40K inherited from 2000AD. Penal legions, Commissars and suicide missions have always been part of the 40K mythos some of which is too dark to be reinterpreted for a modern audience hence the squatting of Human bombs and Beastman attack squads alongside KKK redemptionists. The Last Chancers contain the usual characters. A hardbitten officer quite different to Hammerstein or Hunter but this is 40K where even Mekquake would be uncomfortable but probably quite at home amongst the Death Korp of Kreig. Ox performs the role of Wrecker, Mongol and Jain, Brains is the Tech of the group and even has the same goggles! Crosshair and Scope might have a shooting competition but the Last Chancers gave Games Workshop the opportunity to create a diverse and exciting series of models. We have a Vasquez like Rocketgirl who somehow reminds me of Tankgirl. Another female character is Warrior Woman who references Greek mythology. We have an American Indian who is an expert at dispatching sentries.
So last night I was spouting this to my wife. Finding all these links and she turned to me with an expression. “You probably need someone else to geek out too.” And guess what I am going to be writing about for the next few weeks…
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