In Review: Dan Dare The 2000AD Years Volume Two
Introduced by Garth Ennis
Creators: Gerry Finley-Day, Dave Gibbons, Trevor Goring, Nick Landau, Garry Leach, Brian Lewis, Chris Lowder, Roy Preston, Tom Tully
Includes feature by David McDonald on Dan Dare post 2000AD
Out: 3rd November 2016
The Book: Veteran British Space Pilot, Dan Dare continues his 2000AD adventures through a hostile universe.
Together with his hardened crew, Dan pilots the mighty Space Fortress into battle against the most dangerous entities the galaxy has to offer including giant water worms, an evil doppelganger and the terrifying menace of the Mekon!
Known amongst 2000AD fans for its controversial ‘non-ending’, this volume features the iconic artwork of Britain’s first Comics Laureate, Dave Gibbons and the work of artists Brian Lewis, Garry Leach and Trevor Goring and the scripts were provided by Chris Lowder, Gerry Finley-Day, Roy Preston, Tom Tully and Nick Landau.
The Review: This is the second and final volume of Dan Dare’s adventures within the pages of 2000AD and is a high quality reprint that sets the standard for any future Rebellion reprint. The appeal for this book will be spread across those that are Dan Dare, Dave Gibbons or 2000AD fans or a combinations of any of the three.
At the time these were originally published, I only saw the odd issue of 2000AD, so I didn’t get to read the whole run in chronological order.
In fact, even when I was picking up back issues, I still read the story in a random order, because I read each back Prog as I bought them – so this book was akin to coming back to the character afresh.
Dan Dare The 2000AD Years Volume Two features a wide range of story arcs in this volume, from Dan Dare and his crew facing nefarious space aliens that them as their next meal, to those that need Dare to help them face death. We go through a wealth of space opera themes that would not disgrace an episode of Star Trek or Doctor Who, until we get to the jewel of this collection – when Dan once again faces his nemesis, the Mekon.
To my mind, you cannot have a great hero unless you have a great villain and for all that Dan Dare is, his heroic qualities are amplified by facing a supervillain such as the Mekon and in 2000AD, Dan’s greatest hour is certainly the Servant of Evil arc where he has lost his memory and the Mekon convinces him that he is a Galactic lawman, out to recover a great treasure on behalf of the Galaxy with the Mekon as his partner.
Alas, Dan did not get to do much more in 2000AD after this arc as various real world events conspired to bring Dan Dare’s run to an abrupt ending and the story of those events cap off the book nicely.
I have to confess that my preferred Dare incarnations were the Grant Morrison and Rian Hughes version in Revolver and the Garth Ennis and Gary Erskine version published by Virgin Comics. I therefore approached this collection with certain reservations. But this reprint helped me to learn to appreciate the collections as they allowed me to read the complete story arcs without having to waste time hunting down issues that I last saw two house moves ago!
So get down to your local comic shop and pre-order this mighty beast as it is released on 3rd November 2016.
• Dan Dare The 2000AD Years Volume Two is available in print from book stores, online book stores and comic book stores via Diamond (Order code: SEP161872)
• Artist Gavin Aslett created his own unofficial conclusion to the 2000AD incarnation with a 36-page strip, “Journey Through Time“, which you can rad about here
200AD Online: www.2000adonline.com
• Follow Dave Gibbons on Twitter @davegibbons90
2000AD © Rebellion. Dan Dare © Dan Dare Corporation