DAN DARE - THE 2000 AD YEARS VOLUME 2

PrintE-mail Written by Alister Davison

This second volume of 2000 AD’s Dan Dare collection picks up exactly where the first left off, but fans would be forgiven for thinking the character has undergone a dramatic change in the interim. While he was never the clean-cut hero from Eagle – this was, after all, the 1970s, when heroes with flaws were becoming more popular – the Dare that we meet now is a far cry from it. Here is a character that, confronted with a host of aliens, will always reach for his gun, some missiles, or even set a planet to self-destruct in order to achieve victory. He’s not so much gritty as genocidal.

It's easy to say that in hindsight when back then this was deemed as what boys wanted to see in a comic, and it’s quite a shock at first until a change of writer sees Dare set adrift from his team and left to fend for himself. Here, he doesn’t do too well and is brainwashed by arch-enemy the Mekon. Fortunately, help is eventually at hand (sorry) in the form of Eternicus the Cosmic Claw, a glove that emits laser rays capable of destroying small spacecraft.

It's an often maligned storyline, but anyone who read these stories as a child may have fond memories of them. True, the plot hasn’t particularly stood the test of time but it is relentless in pace, packed with action, and the art from Dave Gibbons is truly superb. There’s a nostalgia value to it all as well, and seeing pages for the first time in decades may trigger memories the reader thought dormant and it’s possible they may find themselves cheering Dare along just as they did all those years ago, hoping their hero can prove his innocence when accused of being in cahoots with the Mekon.

Alas, we’ll never know the outcome, as the story was abruptly ended when 2000 AD merged with Tornado. Something had to go, and Dare’s lack of popularity at the time meant he was a casualty. This volume concludes beyond that last episode, with the plans for Dare’s future, which are very interesting indeed. There’s not just innocence to prove; Dare was never given that chance to set himself right and return to his roots as the honorable spacefarer we all remember. For all the flaws, this is a fascinating volume of work, and the addition of faces old and new makes the reader wonder what could have been if it was allowed to continue. 

DAN DARE - THE 2000 AD YEARS VOLUME 2 / ARTISTS: DAVE GIBBONS, BRIAN LEWIS, GARRY LEACH, TREVOR GORING / WRITERS: CHRIS LOWDER, GERRY FINLEY-DAY, ROY PRESTON, TOM TULLY, NICK LANDAU / PUBLISHER: 2000 AD / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW

 

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