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In 1964, as the Eagle declined into what would be its death, there was a brief Indian Summer for Dan Dare. Three rather good stories: All Treens Must Die, The Mushroom and The Moonsleepers and one final atrocious one (Menace from Jupiter) are included here. 'Menace from Jupiter was one colour page per week: the others were the traditional two.
Not included here are 'The Singing Scourge' and 'Give me the Moon': two reasonable adventures but not carried in two pages of colour. The owners of the Eagle at the time simply did not understand how Dan Dare and the Eagle were synonymous. They kept messing with the format and the position: there was only one place that Dan Dare needed to be and that was on the front page. If they hadn't kept trying to reinvent the wheel, Eagle might have lasted longer.
But that's history. This book shows how Dan Dare was used to good effect for one last time. The three good stories were clearly designed to make 'Eagle' visually attractive on the newsstands. The front page was invariably a large picture designed to catch the eye with four or five smaller ones to develop the story. Drawn by Keith Watson, these were action packed and colourful and gave a vibrancy back to the strip after years in the doldrums.
'All Treens Must Die' and 'The Mushroom' feature the Mekon. Dan Dare's original spaceship 'Anastasia' is also there, so this represents a definite return to the comic strip's roots. And for Dan Dare fans, this was as it should be: it worked. But the Eagle was dying and even Dan Dare alone could not rescue it.
This book is, as with all the others in the range, lovingly assembled and well made. It is a collectors item and highly recommended both for reading and keeping. As with some of the others, I believe it is worth five stars for the quality of the book and four stars for the stories. Four overall.
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