Review: Flash Gordon #1
Flash Gordon never fit in on Earth. But on the bizarre planet MONGO, Flash’s thirst for thrills and daring danger makes him the perfect weapon against world-breaking Ming the Merciless and his awful inter-planetary swarms of terror! Can the cocksure Man From Earth funnel his overconfidence into saving worlds, or will the universe fall to Ming? Don’t miss out on THE most exciting ongoing series of 2014 by dream team Jeff Parker (Batman ’66, Aquaman), Evan “Doc” Shaner (Deadpool, Ghostbusters) and Jordie Bellaire (Pretty Deadly, Captain Marvel)!
Flash Gordon gets a new solo series this month from Dynamite Comics. With the success of Kings Watch, it was time for the savior of the universe to get to work once again. The new series is written by Jeff Parker with art by Evan Shaner. Jordie Bellaire handles colors and Simon Bowland provides lettering. Parker had a good handle on Flash with Kings Watch, but can the Man from Earth shine bright on his own?
Dale Arden is reporting live from the farewell parade for the last working space shuttle from NASA. Dr. Zarkov is playing a drinking game with one of those quantum crystals serving as the main prize. Flash Gordon is off putting his life on the line while bungee jumping in the name of adventure. That was a year ago. Today those three are inside of Flash and Zarkov’s experimental space craft being chased by some of Mongo’s finest pilots. Flash, ever the headstrong and cocky guy that he is, isn’t as worried about his pursuers as his companions are. As Flash and company travel through a few portals in the hopes of shaking off their pursuers, the group find themselves in some strange and fantastical worlds. They eventually find themselves in a forest world that may just give them more trouble than the Mongo Air Guard. Where have Flash, Dale, and Zarkov landed? Will they be able to get their ship back in the air? Will they even survive long enough for it to make a difference?
Parker writes a fast-paced, action-packed, and thrilling introductory story. If you read Kings Watch you will get more out of the first issue, but this is a perfect jumping on point where you can get just as much out of it if you don’t have any prior knowledge. This is a sampler of what’s in store with the series more than anything. We get introduced to the characters, the threat they are facing, the types of world they’ll be visiting, and what is truly at stake here. Parker gives you just enough to make sure you’re hooked and craving more. Shaner’s art is stellar. He gives the story a very old school adventure feel that serves the story perfectly. Each panel is just beautiful and the characters are all very distinct and crisp. Flash just oozes arrogance and confidence. If you knew a guy like Flash Gordon in real life, you probably wouldn’t like him. Parker and Shaner make you like him though. The worlds and creatures Flash and company encounter are just stunning. Bellaire’s colors help sell the old school vibe this issue has. I’ve said many times Bellaire is the best colorist in comics, and this issue is another piece of evidence for my argument. Things are bright, vibrant, and engrossing. The portal travel scenes are inventive and one of the coolest things I’ve seen in a while. That is worth the price of admission alone.
Bottom Line: Flash Gordon #1 is just a flat-out great comic. Parker, Shaner, and Bellaire hit the ground running and offer up a great taste of what’s in store from here on out. 4.5/5
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