Anyone else remember the campy-yet-cool Flash Gordon movie from 1980? You know, the one with the really cool Queen music.
I do, anyway. And it has always had a special place in my childhood memories, because it was the first scifi movie I ever owned and could watch over and over again on my family’s brand new VCR (God, I’m dating myself!) . . . at least until I rewound the damn thing to death.
So, I’m a Flash Gordon fan then?
Probably wouldn’t characterize myself as such, but I enjoy old Flash as much as other action/adventure heroes like Indiana Jones or Han Solo. Sure, they always seem to escape every dangerous situation relatively unscathed, but that is a part of their charm. At least, to me. (I don’t personally watch or read action/adventure tales for their stark realism.)
When I saw this omnibus collection of the complete 8-issue Flash Gordon comic book series, plus the 2014 Holiday Special and the 2014 Annual, I decided I’d give it a try. Sure, I’d been a bit disappointed by Flash’s reintroduction in the King’s Watch series, but I’d found the story itself fun in a B movie kind of way, so I assumed this one would be at least that entertaining.
And, you know what? I was right. This is a 4 out of 5 star book for me.
Penned by Jeff Parker (Batman ‘66), illustrated by Evan “Doc” Shaner (Deadpool), and colored by Jordie Bellaire (Pretty Deadly), this comic collection really captured the classic feel and fun of Flash Gordon. No, it did not stray far from a traditional action/adventure story, as Flash, Dale Arden, and Dr. Hans Zarkov clash with Ming the Merciless, but our heroes escapades are visually compelling enough and the scenes filled with enough fighting, humor, and drama to keep you turning the pages.
What is the plot, you ask?
Well, if you’d read King’s Watch, you’d already know the setup, but suffice it to say that Flash and his companions go by spaceship to Mongo, run afoul of the main man Ming, and then escape to other worlds where they fight alien humanoids, encounter diabolical technology, are enchanted by sex-starved wraiths, and struggle to find a way home. Naturally, there are fights, space creatures, robots, and Flash Gordon daring-do – though Dale Arden (female lead) saves Flash’s ass more times than he does her. Something you’d never know by looking at the picture below.
All in all, I really like this one. No, it wasn’t the best comic I’ve ever read. No, it didn’t reinvent the action/adventure genre. But it was a nice visit with this classic scifi hero of yesterday. Obviously, it helped that I already had a soft spot in my heart for Flash Gordon (The 80s movie, remember?), but I still think non-fans might find this one an entertaining diversion from reality.
I received this book from Netgalley and Dynamite Entertainment in exchange for a fair and honest review. I’d like to thank both of them for allowing me to receive this review copy and inform everyone that the review you have read is my opinion alone.