Garth Ennis Dan Dare Omnibus Volume 1 US Edition (Anglais) Relié – 10 mars 2009
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Comme le montre l'aperçu, Dan Dare (Daniel McGregor Dare) se promène avec ses deux chiens dans une riante campagne anglaise avant de se rendre au pub. Dans une énorme base spatiale, Digby (Albert Fitzwilliam Digby) et Joss (Jocelyn Mabel Peabody) conversent à bord. Le premier est un ex-compagnon d'armes de Dare qui remet en cause l'engagement politique de la seconde qui est Secrétaire d'État à l'Intérieur du gouvernement britannique. Dan Dare reçoit la visite du Premier ministre britannique qui lui demande de reprendre du service car les services secrets ont détecté une résurgence d'activité d'une flotte de vaisseaux de Treen, la race extraterrestre dominée par le Mekon.
Garth Ennis est anglais de naissance et de résidence, et il a de nombreuses fois choisi comme personnage principal un anglais. Ennis fait preuve d'une forme de patriotisme, ou au moins de fierté à être anglais assez régulièrement dans ses récits, sans en faire un thème majeur. Il est vraisemblable que l'occasion lui a été offerte de donner son interprétation de Dan Dare, grâce à Richard Branson (ex-patron de Virgin, lui-même fan de Dan Dare).Lire la suite ›
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Since the fifties, there have been several revisions of the character. The most notable being the brutal incarnation that graced Britain's "2000AD" comic in the nineteen seventies and Grant Morrison and Rian Hughes cynically post-"Watchmen" vision, "Dare", which was originally published in the early nineteen nineties (and was recently republished in YESTERDAY'S TOMORROWS: RIAN HUGHES COLLECTED COMICS). Whilst perfectly enjoyable incarnations within their own right, they were not your father's Dan Dare.
Garth Ennis' latest attempt is something of a return to form. He takes the Dare's classic traits and contemporises the setting and politics surrounding him whilst keeping the heart of Hampson's heroic character intact. Living in self-imposed exile following the disintegration of the UN and a Sino-American nuclear war, Dare has renounced all contact with a Britain which he no longer understands or approves of (and which, quite subversively, bears more than a passing resemblance to post Thatcherite/ Blairite Britain). However, rumours of the reappearance of an age-old enemy force Dare to rescind his isolation and take up the standard for God, England and Saint George once more.
Ennis' take on Dare really is love song to British post-war culture and is rife with oblique references to other classic works of British cinema, militaria, mythology and fiction: Dare and Digby's heroic battle to defend offworld colonists against hordes of marauding alien beasts is a direct reference to one of the more notorious engagements which occurred during the defence of the Rourke's Drift mission station (famously documented in Cy Enfield's rip-roaring British battle picture, Zulu); the heroic sacrifice of the crew of a merchant space vessel press-ganged into service to act as a diversion to insure the safe passage of a battle-scarred space convoy is an homage to films such as In Which We Serve and Nicholas Monserrat's haunting novel, The Cruel Sea (Classics of War); the final apocalyptic space battle in which the united forces of Earth and the attack ships of the serpentine alien forces engage each other alongside amidships is an homage to classic naval fiction like C.S. Forester's "Hornblower" series, and Dare's armour-clad, sword-wielding single combat with the leader of the alien forces is rife with symbolic references to the legend of Saint George and the Dragon.
If you're familiar with Dan Dare and the works referenced here, I suspect that you, like I, will rate this a five star book. As Ennis explains in the introduction, it is a requiem of thanks for the brave soldiers, pilots and matileaus who fought for our freedom and inspired the adventures of Dare and an age of idealism. If you're a Brit of a certain age, I suspect it will have your bosom swelling with nationalistic pride.
On the whole, this works. A Dare who has retired and then returns to service to save Earth from his arch enemy, the Mekon, works as a darker hero, yet also a metaphor for a fading Britain in the C21st.
What I did not care for was the illustration by Erskine. The spacecraft were clunky, monstrosities that were made to look like space going battleships. Somehow, post Spacefleet, the Royal Navy built their ships to be space battleships? The Treen ships have also changed from classic green vessels to organic looking gray cloud-like structures. And earth now looks contemporary. Gone are the sleek futuristic visions of the future that Hampson rendered. The weapons too are conventional, gone are the blasters, and what is the origin of Dare's sword?
It seems to me that this was an attempt to mimic "Ministry of Space" stylistically, but it is inappropriate for a Dan Dare story. It doesn't even look good.
Overall, I liked the story concept, but not the graphics.
Any revival must unfortunately stand comparison with the original product. Ennis is most well-known for his gritty comics with hard-boiled anti-heros. Here he is dealing with unfamiliar material and territory, writing about a nice guy in space??? Anyway, as this is Ennis, he tries to infuse Dan Dare with cynicism who is induced to return from self-imposed retirement to fight against the dreaded Mekon, his archvillian who flits about on a personal anti-gravity seat. Digby, his sidekick is back as well as Dr Peabody, now the Home Secretary. Dare is tasked to take over his old space fleet and almost leads them into a trap laid on by the Mekon thru the double-dealing Prime Minister. From here on, events get a little confusing as there are firefights, space fleet fights and lots of shooting. Dare is everywhere but not really doing much. Meanwhile on earth, Dr Peabody kicks up her heels and reminisces about her lost years which she could have spent with Dan Dare, all this over a bottle of Cockburns with a young aide.
The artwork isn't that great. It looks a lot like Steve Dillon's stuff in the Punisher - rather expressionless clean drawings that have suspect perspective now and then.
Like Flash Gordon, reimagining Dare for a modern more cynical audience has proved difficult despite multiple attempts. Here Garth Ennis, best known for violence and foul language in this like Preacher, shows his other side (he also writes some excellent war comics). Dare was a direct result of the impact of the war on creator Frank Hampson. That is the worldview that the comics embody.
So instead of trying to update that, Ennis leaves the characters largely alone and simply updates the world around them. Other people may be cynical and have lost hope, but not Dan Dare. He remains the pinnacle of an English (yes distinctly English more than British) hero.
Of course a modern view of Britain points out all the horrible things we did as an Empire (it's quite a list) and culturally we're not really into the flag waving in the way that American's are for example. But Ennis references some points in history when the people of Britain were engaged in something unquestionably heroic and largely selfless.
It's a moment in time that deserves to get more credit and attention than it does (usually swamped by US self-congratulatory movies) and it's something the country has a right to be proud of. Even if it is old-fashioned.
The story in the comic itself is simple enough. Involving the return of Dan Dare's nemesis The Mekon. The action plot deliberately echoes a number of recognisable British battles of the past but eventually places Dare face to face with his enemy in a battle to save the Earth.
I'm on record as thinking that "Grim 'n Gritty" has gone too far so perhaps this is something perfectly tailored to my tastes, but I really enjoyed both the story and the artwork (which also deliberately aped WWII Britain in a number of ways) even if I think that Erskine's faces looked a little frozen at times.
Also i have to say the binding on book was terrible, the hardcover looked fine, but the pages were all crumpled up? like they used really cheap paper and it got soggy after the printing was done binding it together, making the pages look all wavy and distorted.
If your a Dan dare fan i can see how this can be a fun book for you to read, Ennis does show his light heated side in this book, but just sometimes can be a little bit of a snooze. Im not saying i need extreme violence to enjoy a book or crazy plots, but this one could have used a little haha.