Villordsutch Reviews Dan Dare – The 2000AD Years – Vol.1…
Dan Dare is a British icon. He was created by Frank Hampson in 1950, and first appeared in the Eagle comic where he was an instant hit with the British public. Almost a decade after the original series had ended, Dan Dare was resurrected in the pages of a brand new sci-fi comic for boys – 2000 AD!
Waking from suspended animation after two hundred years, Dan Dare faced an unfamiliar universe, filled with terrible new threats, but also included all too familiar ones, such as his old nemesis, The Mekon!
The first volume of this punk-fuelled space opera features stories from Pat Mills (Nemesis the Warlock), Steve Moore (Doctor Who) and Gerry Finley-Day (Rogue Trooper) with art by Massimo Belardinelli (Sláine) and Dave Gibbons (Watchmen).
I’ve been a fan of Dan Dare for a long while. It’s bizarre really, the idea of this do-gooder type hero technically shouldn’t be anywhere near my list of comic book characters that I even look at, however I do. I can even recall hounding my Dad – back in the early 1990’s – to take me to an event in Southport (Lancashire) dedicated to this comic book character. Dan Dare is the greatest British Space Hero with the most powerful close-quartered weapons in the galaxy, nay the universe! So when the opportunity to review Dan Dare – The 2000AD Years -Vol.1 comes around I’m really not going to let this go by any time soon.
There is always a worry with looking back at comics of old that they are really not going to hold-up to their modern day equivalent and I myself have echoed this in a number of my reviews before (check out my Judge Dredd Complete Case Files Vol.1 review for example); if comic books have a modern day equivalent to compare and contrast against this can and will cause some major problems for it. However, this isn’t the case for these classic Dan Dare stories as we haven’t seen hide nor hair of our hero for nearly a decade and that was from Garth Ennis and Gary Eskine over at Virgin Comics, with 2000AD it was back in 1997. Due to this we’re getting this slice of nostalgia untarnished by any sort of modern day sheen and it is quite brilliant.
With the title as Volume 1 you’d believe you’re possibly get sold short on the stories but from what I can see, I feel we’ve possible got near all the Dan Dare 2000AD tales in one blast here. Starting with Dan Dare’s opening tale in 2000AD from Ken Armstong, Pat Mills, Kelvin Gosnell and with the art from Massimo Belardinelli, we then go all the way through to – and beyond – Star Slayer by Gerry Finley-Day and art by Dave Gibbons. Each story, though firmly has the 2000AD stamp set upon it clearly keeps a foot in the Eagle past with the “Boys Own” heroism vein running through the actions of Dare and companions, along with the “Villainous Swine!” streak through those that stand against him.
There are very few complaints with in this book that I can even find, if any to be truthful. I wasn’t overly keen on Belardinelli’s representation of Dan Dare, his artwork is fantastic, however Dare could have been A N Other character in a scene, but with a more defined scowl; also I would have loved to have more of the trials and tribulations from Pat Mills throughout this book in bringing Dan Dare to 2000AD.
As for these minor gripes nothing can be found within Dan Dare – The 2000AD Years – Vol.1 that will disappoint you. Here is a piece of comic book history that you should – before hand – buy yourself a Curly-Wurly, along with a bag of Monster Munch and set yourself up with a glass of Orange pop, as this is a piece of nostalgia that needs to be savoured correctly.
Rating – 9/10
You can purchase Dan Dare The 2000AD Years – Vol.1 from 2000AD Online here.
Villordsutch likes his sci-fi and looks like a tubby Viking according to his children. Visit his website and follow him on Twitter.