Book Of The Month – November 2011
Dan Dare Omnibus
Written by Garth Ennis
Illustrated by Gary Erskine
A writer like Garth Ennis can be a bit of a sticky pickle for some comic book fans, for you sometimes can’t tell what you’re getting with him. Will it be something gruesome and disturbing like Crossed, or an action and adventure war story along the lines of Battlefields? One man’s bollocks is another man’s red velvet cupcake.
Me personally, I’ve been a fan of every genre he’s done, but especially love the war stories. That’s the argument I use when people tell me he’s just a one-trick pony; constantly churning out vile and over the top stories to the torture porn enthusiasts. While it sometimes may seem as such, there’s always another series, whether it’s licensed or original, that balances everything out and keeps everyone happy.
The Dan Dare Omnibus holds a special place in my heart for several reasons, and I’ve been meaning to talk about it for the longest time. When I first reviewed issue #5 back in Episode 22, it landed me on my very first press list with a comic book company. At the time Virgin Comics was publishing it, and was able to complete the first seven issue arc before the publisher went through a bit of a revamp, and sold the license to Dynamite Entertainment. In 2009 Dynamite republished the collection, and still holds the license to any future Dan Dare adventures to this day. So far, there have been no plans announced.
For those who don’t know, Garth Ennis is a World War II buff and can tell some amazing stories set in that time period. Dan Dare first appeared in the Eagle publication during the tail-end of World War II, and a lot of Brits still recognize the character today. Think of him as the British Buck Rogers, but much cooler. What Ennis was able to do in this relaunch was maintain the character’s science fiction roots, and at the same time update him for a more mature audience. I don’t mean explicit, I mean this is a war story, and it’s not how the cartoons make it out to be.
Since it’s a science fiction story involving aliens and spaceships, it takes a talented artist to infuse the World War II era look and feel to the setting. Gary Erskine does a wonderful job illustrating the different battleships and cruisers, and certainly excels at the terrifying aliens such as the Torr. The space battles and dogfights are rendered beautifully, and really excites the inner-Star Wars fan in me. The hero himself with his classic bombers jacket and lightning-bolt eyebrows truly is the cherry on top.
So if you like science fiction, if you like war stories, and you’re willing to give Garth Ennis a shot, you’ll definitely find yourself appreciating this collection. According to the internet there’s a movie in the works, so perhaps we will get a new ongoing from Dynamite somewhere down the line. Since Garth Ennis is their MVP over there, it’s only a natural fit to have him pen some new adventures, because he definitely proved himself worthy with this omnibus.