Comic Review – Dan Dare

Dan Dare

Written Garth Ennis

Art Gary Erskine

Decency is not what you’d expect from Garth Ennis. Yet, in this volume this is what you get.

Ennis has took that fundamental core of Frank Hampson’s character and woven a whole story about illustrating it in an adult way. Not adult as in a pornographic way not in the equally reductive super-violent super sweary cul-de-sac that some writers (in some cases perhaps Ennis himself ) have defined modern adult comics but in the sense of a mature examination of mature issues: responsibility, values, consideration, duty and leadership.

Against an essentially four colour story of an old enemy returning for revenge and an Arthurian feeling return of a ‘once and future’ hero returning from retirement we get a Trojan horse of a moral story. It covered with effective action, battle plans that actually work as battle plans and some killer one liners.

But there is dialogue in this work (in one case an email) of such absolute poetry and which address issues so subject to modern debate so well that I’m not ashamed to say on a couple of occasions I had to wipe a manly tear from my eye. Not a full on kermodian flood but a tear nethertheless.

Gary Erskine’s artwork is lovely – the designs fitting in so well with the tone of the original Dares trips. Large scale and complicated battle scenes are well rendered so you don’t get confused about the spatial relationship between various parties. The colouring also was sympathetic to the original material.

The creative team also manage to rescue Digby’s dignity in the process and give it back to him in spades.

Be warned for the Virgin hardcover edition it only has the first 3 issues – and it can leave you very frustrated to find that out (as I did on the train home from Thoughtbubble – but what a cliff hanger.) The Dynamite soft cover collects all seven together. That said the Virgin one is going for a song if you just want a taste.

Anyway I shall conclude this review in the style of Mad Dog from ‘Kelly’s Heroes’ – “It’s a beautiful book..”

Oh and there’s not a sentient axe in sight.

GS Reviewer – Andrew Clark

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