Review: Flash Gordon #3
THE MAN FROM EARTH vs. THE BEAST-MEN OF ARBORIA! Flash must be crushed in public to prove all those who oppose Ming shall perish! Will Flash’s wits and wiles win the day, or might Ming massacre his menace? Full-throttle space epic action from dream team JEFF PARKER (Batman ’66, Aquaman), EVAN SHANER (Adventures of Superman) and JORDIE BELLAIRE (Moon Knight)!
Flash gets thrown into the arena this month in the pages of Flash Gordon #3. The story is written by Jeff Parker with art by Evan Shaner. Jordie Bellaire handles colors with Simon Bowland tackling lettering. Flash Gordon has been an action-packed blast from the past, but does it still deliver the goods the third time out?
Last time Flash blew his, Dale, and Zarkov’s cover by trying to destroy the machinery that turns the Arborian prisoners into beast-men. Since Arboria is a planet under the control of Ming, its ruler, Barin, called up Ming the Merciless and let him know they have captured public enemy #1. Ming doesn’t want to kill Gordon outright, fearing he will become a symbol if he dies after his heroics, so he decides to throw our hero into the arena to fight the new batch of beast-men. Gordon is good in a fight, but is he good enough to fight genetically enhanced men that have the characteristics of some of the strongest and deadly animals imaginable? Will Flash Gordon be able to escape the most deadly royal rumble in history?
Parker writes another crackerjack of an issue. He just gets Flash Gordon and what makes him so great. Gordon goes from an insufferable cocky joke to an altruistic hero in one sentence. He goes from grandstanding in the arena and giving a speech that reeks of heroism to smack-talking the beast-men like another earth warrior Zarkov mentions, Muhammad Ali. Parker makes Flash modern and cool but keeps the series feeling timeless. Shaner’s art and Bellaire’s colors help with that. This feels like an old school comic with some beautifully drawn sci-fi elements (like the beast-men). Parker is clearly having fun with Flash Gordon, but Shaner and Bellaire may be having more fun. There are recognizable elements to the sci-fi, but it’s still weird and stylized enough to feel ‘different.’ Bellaire’s colors really stand out during the space teleconference with Ming. The pink view screens have a gorgeous glow to them that just really makes you admire Shaner’s lines.
Bottom Line: Flash Gordon is just flat-out fun. Parker and company’s sense of fun and excitement at making this book really rubs off on the reader and makes the entire experience a true joy. In a world of grim and gritty comics and remakes, it’s nice to have a comic that’s so unapologetically fun. 4/5
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