Steve Goble

Choose life. (Deuteronomy 30:19)

Writers: Dan Abnett & John Tomlinson
Pencils: Gary Erskine
Inks: Andy Lanning
Colours: Helen Stone
Letters: Annie Parkhouse
Editor: Steve White
Managing Editor: Jenny O'Connor

A politician recently rode his bike into work to make a point about reducing carbon emissions.

What he's really remembered for though, is how his assistant followed behind him the whole way in the car.

That's the thing about telling everyone else how to live better - no matter how valid the facts, the argument can only be as righteous as the perception of the person saying it.

In 1990, the publishers of the first series of The Knights Of Pendragon had a similarly ecological agenda to their storyline, but they were prepared to put their money where their mouth was.

Woo-hoo! Now that's a good idea. I like this comic already. Even the advert on the back is for joining the fight to protect the dolphins.

The chief protagonist in the story seems to be our old friend Dai Thomas - the police chief previously obsessed with bringing-down Captain Britain.

Sadly, aside from the name, Dai's characterisation here is quite unrecognisable from that earlier strip. I appreciate that one of the comicbook genre's strengths is its ability to transform a familiar character over a long period of time, but this guy doesn't even look like the Dai I remember.

He's clearly lost a lot of weight now. (so maybe he joined a gym) He has a pony-tail now. (so maybe his hair grew a bit long and unmanageable) He has super powers now. (so... maybe he... uhh...)

All right, I'll make my point and then shut up. Here's Dai Thomas nearly five years earlier in Captain Britain #14, cover-dated Feb '86:

And here he is in this, cover-dated Nov '90:

That is so not the same guy!

What's really developed though, is his outlook. Dai has found a better channel for his energies than misguidedly ridding the world of superheroes. Now he's trying to save the environment.

Dai: "Wake up, Braddock! Look at this Hellhole that used to be rainforest - cleared for scrub-pasture to feed the world's craving for hamburgers! Did this government care about the forests? That without the oxygen they provide, the whole bloody planet could suffocate and die? No. They care only about their own national debt! Look around you, boy - at the world your visionless leaders created. A world where rain is poison and sunshine is death."

While this conviction is laudable, Dai's subsequent speculations about a deal existing between man and nature subtract credibility from his argument, mainly because they are too unfamiliar. However this is the Marvel universe, so those beliefs actually turn out to be true. But the underlying principle still stands on our Earth too.

Finally, despite the point that I just made about Dai's rejuvenated new-look, the artwork throughout this is spectacular. The pencils, inks and colours all collaborate to form 21 truly stunning pages.

Even page 22 - the final one - looks awesome, despite having one fairly major drawback.

All the faces in this issue are drawn with shading and detail that effortlessly communicate each character's individual angst. Except Captain Britain's.

He's saddled with wearing a mask over most of his face, and that doesn't lend itself so easily to conveying emotion. When, in the final splash panel, the Captain accidentally kills Dai (yes - Dai dies), I found the effect to look unintentionally comical.

Good thing he's blatantly not 'our' Dai!


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