Monday, December 03, 2007

Dan Dare #1, Foolkiller #2 

Dan Dare #1:

So, Garth Ennis on Dan Dare: take one part his revival of Enemy Ace, a dash of War Stories, and top it off with a heavy seasoning from his Nick Fury mini-series and serve with a side of his fledgling sci-fi leanings (Judge Dredd, Midnighter, etc.) and eat with a room temperature glass of nostalgia. That’s what you’d think, or at least that’s what I anticipated. You know the story: legendary war horse, who thought himself done with all that nasty business, is dragged back into the line of fire for One Last Job because he’s the only hope for a human race sadly lacking in heroes. But Ennis doesn’t seem to be up to his usual tricks here. Indeed, he doesn’t seem to be up to any tricks at all. For a character who’s seen more revisions than geology text at Bob Jones University, this interpretation of Dan Dare is downright traditional.



The Foolkiller maxi-series, published from 1990 to 1991, was written by Steve Gerber. Gerber understood something about the American psyche’s need to see people punished for their wrong-doing. He understood the superficial attractiveness of caveman justice, the sort of moral finality that seems so scarce in everyday life. He also understood how dangerous that kind of path was; that it takes little more than a shove for an untouchable enforcer of personal taste to become a cultural fascist. Sure, he starts by taking out criminal trash; gone on too long, celebrated a bit too loudly by other morally simplistic pedagogues (say, talk show hosts), and the next thing you know this enforcer is killing the hypocritical or the merely annoying. More importantly, Gerber’s characters were all on the edge of something, maybe something disastrous, but they were still recognizable.


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