(2009) Garth Ennis & Gary Erskine, Dynamite Entertainment, £22, hrdbk, pp??, ISBN 978-1-606-90054-3
For the background for this graphic novel, and indeed the first part of the story, as well as Dan Dare himself, then you really need to see the review of the first half of this Dan Dare adventure. Having said that this nearly is the volume to collect as they never published the second half of the adventure previously reviewed! What happened was that the publishers of the first half of this adventure – Virgin Comics – went bust before the second half came out.
If you cannot be bothered to read the first review then, in essence, all you need to know is that Garth Ennis and Gary Eerskine produced a 7-part Dan Dare comic mini-series in 2008. This saw an older Dare brought out of retirement as, yes, the Mekon is back.
The balls up Virgin made has meant that anyone buying their first-half volume completely wasted their money as -- given the second-half volume never came out -- the only way to read the whole thing is to get this one. The price is a little expensive but the production quality (colour cover dust jacket over an equally full colour cover laminate underneath) is good.
The story progresses the Dan Dare mythos for the 21st century in that it is not only grittier with murky politics but there is an explanation why Britain rules space and not the US. Mugs of tea, and a stiff upper lip abound. The surprising thing is that the 'Dan Dare Corporation' who own the rights to Dare, have allowed the Dare mythos to develop as it does during this story. Saying anymore would constitute a spoiler. However I do note that in the copyright small print there is the wording 'Volume 1 Omnibus' which does suggest that maybe we may be seeing more of Dare(?).
All in all this adventure stands up quite well to the original Dare. However I do wish that Ennis and Erskine had noted that the original Dare strips not only prided themselves on being as science factual as possible (given this is an SF space opera) and even explained space science in their strips with diagrams and boxed asides how retro-rockets, airlocks and so forth worked. No such luck this time round even though there was plenty of new science to explore (black holes, what must be tachyon transmission, etc). Minor detail quibbles – such as space marines with ground combat camouflages yet later using give-away, light coloured space suits (not camouflage black) – can be overlooked but if there is a next time Garth and Gary, puleaze, a little more thought. Yet despite these niggles, this is a rip roaring coda to the legend that is Dan Dare.
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