Comicsphere: Dan Dare – Pilot Of The Future By Grant Morrison
Dan Dare was one of the first comics that I ever read and it was the version from the fifties that I knew best. Anyone who came on board this enterprise expecting to get a straight take on that Dan Dare obviously is not familiar with Grant Morrison or his work. He is the king of reimagining established characters in interesting ways — he generally plays to the strengths of the characters whilst pulling out of them something that has not been spotlighted before. It is what you want from him and he usually delivers.
I am not sure that this is his most effective work in regards to keeping the integrity of the character, not that I’m a stickler for that if the story is well told. The story is well told here but it is not without flaw. Dare seems to have been reduced somewhat to a cipher — a plot device for moving the story along. The main character of this story is the story itself if that makes sense — barely disguised political commentary that is aimed at the Margaret Thatcher caricature Gloria Monday, a reference to the latin phrase interpreted as ‘wordly things are fleeting’. It is she that is the villain of the piece, not the mind behind it revealed at the end.
You have to wonder how much fiction would have been produced about dystopian futures were it not for the Conservative government: this book, V for Vendetta, and countless others all using the boogie woman figure of Maggie. Politics has a different cast now — are things as driven politically? Do people tackle things on such a level? Morrison himself seems to have disappeared within the machinations of various fictional universes and is deconstructing them. Despite any flaws this book is trying to say something important and I think it did revive interest in Dare as a vehicle for discussing the present day; it made him relevant. Did it do that at the expense of the character? Maybe, but perhaps it was worth it.