16th Nov2017

‘Dan Dare #2′ Review (Titan Comics)

by Dean Fuller

Written by Peter Milligan | Art by Alberto Foche | Published by Titan Comics

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I always think Dan Dare, rather like Captain America and Superman, is a victim of his own iconic status. He’s great as a symbol, as a painted cover or on a poster, but when it comes to putting him in good stories that’s a little trickier. Sure, it’s been done before, but the average definitely outweighs the good. Expectations weren’t particularly high when I saw Dan Dare being re-launched again to be honest, but when I saw Peter Milligan was involved that piqued my interest quite a bit, and thinking about it, Titan Comics don’t misfire often. Well, that first issue met and most definitely exceeded expectations, giving us (forgive the cliché) a Dan Dare for the future. Plus, it was fun. We like fun.

Peter Milligan introduced us to a world where Earth and the Sol Alliance is living through a golden age, helped by Dan Dare’s defeat of capture of The MEKON several years back. The MEKON has since been imprisoned and mentally treated in a cell complex on the Moon, and now claims to be rehabilitated. Dan wants to believe this but still thinks The MEKON is up to something, although that may be wishful thinking as Dan has been bored rigid ever since The MEKON was captured as he has had little to do except push papers around a desk (not literally of course, though try it, it’s fun). Dan’s a man of action, so the end of last issue looked promising when a huge mysterious spaceship turned up and delivered a gigantic two finger salute by blowing up one of Saturn’s moons. How rude.

A little prequel shows us who these aliens might be. The Treen Imperium are shown attacking a planet called Si-Lawn, slaughtering everyone. A lone fighter , Au Taween, escapes and tracks a Treen ship, which is the one that has pitched up in Earth’s galaxy. The Treens of course were the race ruled over before by a certain MEKON, so Dan visits him to pick his huge green brain. The MEKON offers to help by decoding a Treen message, which turns out to be something about the return of The Empress. If he can be believed of course, which is a big if. Dan decides to engage with his small ship and crew, as a woefully out of practice Space Fleet is scrambled in Earths defence.

Dan’s ship, Anastasia, starts to get attacked the closer he gets to the ship, so clearly no happy discussions are going to be taking place anytime soon. You can only make evasive manoeuvers so long, so it’s a big sigh of relief all round when Au Taween reappears firing on the Treen ship and allowing Dan’s damaged ship to land. Au Taween is impressed that Earth allows ‘male’ captains, but that doesn’t stop he tearing strips off Dan at his stupidity. Digby and Peabody are outraged, but Dan, he loves it. He loves her fire, her spark, the exact things he has been mourning the loss of in himself. He loves it so much, he agrees to join her in a plan to board and disable the Treen ship, something not done before. Foolhardy? Yep. Dangerous? Oh yes. Exciting and nerve tingling? Most definitely. Dan’s back.

No second issue slump here, no sirree. Milligan built on all those elements he introduced last issue, and pushed on nicely. The main Treen invasion storyline obviously pushed on mostly, but the subplots are also moving forward nicely. Is The MEKON playing Dan? has he really rehabilitated? is Dan getting his mojo back a good thing, or is it making him rash and impulsive and a danger to his friends? Great script. Alberto Foche’s art is again very good, perfectly suited to this sci-fi future, all gleaming corridors and shiny uniforms. His MEKON is especially visually strong, looking just shady enough with his facial expressions to keep us guessing if he’s good or bad. Pacing and layouts, superb. One teeny complaint, stop making Dan look so smarmy!

So Dan no Dare is becoming reborn again as Dan yes Dare. I Dare you not to come back and find out what happens next time.

**** 4/5

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