Review: Kings Watch #2
The adventures of FLASH GORDON, THE PHANTOM, and MANDRAKE THE MAGICIAN continue, by JEFF PARKER (Agents Of Atlas, Dark Avengers) and MARC LAMING (Planet Of The Apes)! The nightmares from space keep coming, Flash Gordon sees an alien hell, and now people are being murdered over the mystery behind The Kings Watch. Reporter Dale Arden tracks down the secret of Professor Zarkov’s scientific triumph, exposing him to the Cult of The Cobra. Only The Magician knows what horror is really coming for the world, and that humanity hangs on what The Phantom will do…
The second installment of the new miniseries from Dynamite seeing The Phantom, Mandrake the Magician and Flash Gordon crossing paths lands today. Kings Watch #2 is written by Jeff Parker with art by Marc Laming. Jordan Boyd provides colors and Simon Bowland handles lettering. The first issue was a strong start. Does the second issue keep the ball rolling?
Flash Gordon and Professor Zarkov’s trip to space was a success. Gordon got a little overzealous though and flew directly into the heart of the strange lights filling the skies. Gordon and Zarkov experienced something like the strange dreams the people of earth have been having, it was more intense and even more real. Once Gordon and Zarkov return, they are hailed as heroes for their privately funded trip to space. Our intrepid reporter Dale Arden starts looking into the background of the two men and tracks down Gordon. She catches up with the star athlete and gets granted access to their hanger. Back in Tanzania, The Phantom catches up with Lothar to ask him if he’s seen any other of the strange dinosaur-like creatures they encounter in the previous issue. Lothar has a clue, but he needs to contact his old friend Mandrake. The Phantom, Mandrake, and Lothar start to piece things together. When the trio figure out The Cobra is behind the search for the King’s Watch, they realize they must act. While they take care of things in Tanzania, it turns out the key to it all may be in Flash Gordon and Zarkov’s hanger. Can they stand against the might of Cobra? Will our heroes assemble in time to save the day?
Parker writes a fantastic issue. Things were pretty fast-paced from the word go, but things escalate even further this time. Parker has 5 issues to tell his story and he’s not messing around. We get a lot more background on Flash Gordon, Zarkov, and Mandrake as well. All the characters get some of their background explained except Phantom, but he’s supposed to be mysterious. His actions and the way he carries himself tells us volumes though. This is a great story, but the most amazing thing Parker has done is give all the characters fairly equal time and importance on the page. Laming’s art is phenomenal. He gets an entire issue to just play around and show amazing visuals. From space exploration to the jungles and a literal fireside chat with Mandrake, Laming just knocks it out of the park. Boyd’s colors help bring out the best of the art. The space scenes are a real standout for Boyd this issue. From the characters to the settings, everything is rendered just right.
Bottom Line: Kings Watch is a thrilling read. The only problem is it ends too soon. Parker and Laming give three classic characters new life in a big story with an epic scope. 5/5