Most science fiction fans will have heard of Dan Dare at some point over the years. In fact, he’s been a favorite ever since his first appearance in Eagle, a British children’s comics magazine, in April 1950. Over the years, he’s been reinvented several times, the latest incarnation being a 4-issue series by Titan Comics in 2017. This collection was recently re-released in a single volume on April 24, 2018 titled Dan Dare, Pilot of the Future: He Who Dares.
He Who Dares opens with an introduction meant to bring the reader up to speed on “the story so far,” telling us that the evil Treen ruler, the Mekon, has been defeated and incarcerated on the moon. The problem is that I’m not entirely sure why this is needed. The next few pages explain the events that led to the Mekon’s capture. Granted it’s told in the form of reminiscing on Dan Dare’s part but still an introduction page seems somewhat redundant.
Ah, well! On with the story!
Thanks to Dan and his friends, peace has finally been achieved throughout the Sol System. Even the Mekon, locked in his quark prison, seems to have mellowed out and turned away from his evil universe-conquering ways. Unfortunately, this leaves Dan feeling without purpose and wishing for adventure. It’s not long before the universe answers in the form of a Treen-built Empress Destroyer starship and the crazy alien warrior-woman Au Taween following close behind, hell-bent on destroying the Treen at any cost.
The story itself is reminiscent of the original Dan Dare comics and others of the 1950s. Our hero, Dan Dare, isn’t invincible or infallible. He’s human and makes mistakes, a development which can be credited to the post-WWII era.
The artwork in Dan Dare is absolutely gorgeous. The color is bight and vivid. The artwork is clear and crisp. It’s drawn in a semi-realistic style that pays homage to the drawing style of 1950s comics without actually mimicking it. Instead, we have a modern re-imagining of the style that preserves some of the innocence of the original.
Dan Dare is a fun read. Of course, I won’t lie—I found Dan himself to be a bit irritating at times. He seemed to fall for Au Taween too hard far too quickly. And given everything he knows about the Treen, he was incredibly hesitant to act at certain times. Still, I found myself looking forward to reading more.
Writer: Peter Milligan
Artist: Alberto Foche
Coloist: Jordi Escuin Llorach
Letterer: Simon Bowland
Editor: David Leach
Source – Titan Comics