As I feared, Gary Erskine continues to fall apart on the art this issue. As I assumed, it doesn’t really matter. Writer Garth Ennis is doing such a phenomenal job with the script, Erskine gets a pass. He’s got exceptional problems with depth—I don’t even know how to describe it but somehow, although Erskine’s figures are three-dimensional, they’re not three-dimensional in relation to one another. It’s actually disquieting, looking into Dan Dare’s now soulless eyes.
Which are better than busy eyes, which Erskine and colorist A. Thiruneelakandan give acting Prime Minister and former Dan Dare companion Jocelyn Peabody and then one of the admirals. Dan Dare: The Revival companion Christian escapes the busy eyes—you have to see them, it’s like the person’s supposed to be surprised, but Erskine draws it like they’re staring so hard their eyes are watering—but mostly because she’s not in the comic enough. And when she is in the comic, she’s background or conversation fodder. The aforementioned admiral talks smack about Dare putting her in charge.
Half the comic is resolving last issue’s cliffhanger—the Mekon’s got Dan and is going to torture him, then conquer Earth—then the other half is the final battle getting underway. Ennis works up a rather interesting juxtaposition for the two arch-enemies: they’re the only competent person on their respective side. Well, besides Christian and Peabody, but they’re just lassies, aren’t they? The Mekon’s army is at least genetically predisposed to being easily led (and distracted), while the British admiralty no longer trusts their sailors. Or whatever they’re called in space. Ennis gets in some good military culture digs.
There’s also a lot of sci-fi stuff as the humans figure out how the aliens have harassed a black hole and so on, along with some battle tactics. Ennis paces this issue beautifully; it feels double-sized, but it’s not. However, the next issue will be, and I imagine it’ll feel like at least three comics. Three great comics.