Dan Dare (Ed Stoppard) is back fighting the Mekon (Raad Rawi), with only a handful of allies, including Digby (Geoff McGivern) and Professor Peabody (Heida Reed). If anything, the stories have become bigger than the first volume (released back in December 2016) and the stakes higher.
This new set of three stories kicks off with Simon Guerrier’s adaptation of Reign of the Robots – now back on Earth, they find central London deserted; deserted apart from a massive army of all-powerful robots that is. It’s a very bleak story and Dan, Digby and Peabody must pull out all the stops to fight back against the Mekon, defeat the robots and liberate humanity. A stirring tale by itself, this acts as only the first course.
Next up is Patrick Chapman’s adaptation of Operation Saturn and the action moves to the moons of Saturn with a new threat destroying Earth’s ships using yet more advanced technology. Our heroes investigate and here the story takes a twist with the source of the threat being more home grown than expected. We get a return of Sondar (Bijan Daneshmand) from Volume 1 and some high-octane combat and a chance for Nick Briggs to add another alien species to his already large repertoire as he brings us the Vora.
All too soon we come to Colin Brake’s take on Prisoners of Space. Colin is the series script editor and brings us a massive and potentially final conflict between Dan and the Mekon and along the way many dark secrets are revealed, but perhaps not all. We learn about Dan’s father, the true story of man’s exploration of space and (almost) a deeper secret from Digby. It brings back a minor character (Cadet Flamer Spry (Noof McEwan).
It’s not just great writing, but also a talented cast under the guidance of Andrew Mark Sewell in the director’s chair rounded off by Wilfredo Acosta and Alistair Lock's sound work (and do listen on some decent speakers!) and some wonderful artwork on the packaging. All aspects of this series have been polished and the results speak for themselves. If you want to know more about the concepts behind this series do listen to the fourth disc – not just a behind the scenes exploration of the concepts but a mini-documentary as well.
B7 Media and Big Finish released Dan Dare Volume 2 on April 5th 2017; full details are available on their website. The collection is available exclusively from Big Finish until the end of May 2017.
This is only the second set of three Dan Dare stories (so far) and four months since the first, but the characters already feel well established and the style of storytelling is very effective. These may have started as updates to the original comic strips from the 1950s, but have every chance of becoming more – both relevant to today and able to entertain a new generation.
DAN DARE: VOLUME 2 / AUTHORS: SIMON GUERRIER, PATRICK CHAPMAN, COLIN BRAKE / PUBLISHER: B7 MEDIA, BIG FINISH / STARRING: ED STOPPARD, GEOFF MCGIVERN, HEIDA REED, MICHAEL COCHRANE, RAAD RAWI / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW