Three-issue comic written by Warren Ellis and illustrated by Chris Weston, set in an alternate universe in which the exploration of space after World War II was dominated by the British Empire. The British government establish the Ministry of the title, under RAF veteran Sir John Dashwood; it recruits German experts under a scheme parallel to the historical Project Paperclip, acquires V-2 technology and develops it into a space program which eventually reaches and colonises the Moon and Mars.
The tight, flashback-driven plot concerns the dream of space - and its high price; as it progresses, the wrongs committed by Dashwood in the pursuit of his dream are gradually revealed. Perhaps worse, though, are the effects of success in space on British culture; the replacement of the British Empire on Earth with one based in space is portrayed as saving Britain from the crises it historically experienced, cushioning it from self-analysis and social change and thereby perpetuating 1950s attitudes in all their racism and sexism. This second British Empire's utopia is distinctly flawed. As Ministry is a short piece the issues are more touched upon and hinted at than deeply explored, and the question as to whether Dashwood was justified is left to the reader's judgement.
Ministry of Space's visual style pays extensive and reverent homage to 1950s and 60s space illustration and science fiction, in particular Dan Dare comics and Chesley Bonestell's illustrations for Collier's Magazine. Several of the British rockets are very directly based on Wernher Von Braun's 1950s ambitions, as depicted by Bonestell. The resulting retro-future is charismatic and convincing, especially in a number of montage sequences depicting the Ministry's great achievements.
The pace of the comic's release was very slow, with the third issue being delayed by years, and the first two issues became scarce in the meantime. Fortunately, a collected reprint is now available.