Dan Dare (2007) #5

Dan Dare  5

Writer Garth Ennis has a good issue with this Dan Dare, but artist Gary Erskine seems to be struggling to keep up. The issue downshifts the series a bit, with Dan and newly appointed companion Ms. Christian butting heads with the Royal Space Navy or whatever they’re called. Back on Earth, Home Secretary and former companion Jocelyn is getting a briefing. Lots of talking heads, which Ennis and Erskine have been executing successfully to this point. But, here, Erskine just seems to fall apart. He’s got the composition but not the pacing, and something’s off with his eyes, but only on the ladies (the Home Secretary and Ms. Christian), which is bad since they’re the protagonists.

There’s some awesome space stuff. Most of it’s too hurried, but Erskine does an excellent double-page spread of the Royal Space Navy. Cracking stuff. But even with Dan’s subplot, when he goes off on an ill-advised (by the stuffed shirt admirals, anyway) solo mission, Erskine gets in some okay (rushed) pages before he loses the thread again. The whole issue seems like it’s off-kilter like Erskine stumbled and never regained his footing. He cracks on with a confused but effective finish, but damn.

Otherwise, it’s an excellent issue. Ennis works character development on Jocelyn, Ms. Christian, and Dan before doing a military operation, but a Silver Age comic book’s military operation. It’s a bridging issue for everyone, even the Mekon and his lackey Prime Minister when we check in on them. Bridging issues tend to be a little redundant; done well, it’s character development (as here) in addition to efficient plotting. Ennis has two issues to go; presumably, all the pieces are set after this one.

I really hope Erskine turns it around on the art. I want Dare to be an unqualified success. Iffy art on a bridging issue is one thing; a flubbed finale is another.

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