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Flash Gordon #1 Review

By Hervé St-Louis
May 17, 2014 - 09:36

Flash Gordon returns in a new comic book series by Dynamite Comics. Flash has had several updates in his 80 years as a comic strip character. Many have adapted him in countless comic books, movies and animation series. His legend as a comics’ archetype is legendary. Flash inspired the creation of famous comic book characters such as Hawkman, Flash and Adam Strange. In this series, Flash, Dale Arden and Doctor Zarkov attempt to escape the forces of Ming with a custom spacecraft. But landing on a planet full of vegetation involves other deadly threats. Will they survive?

I like the retelling of Flash Gordon's story and the updates to the world of Ming. It's no longer a single planet with various environments and people. Instead, Ming's empire consists of several worlds linked through portals. I like the idea because it’s a modern take on the variety found on Mongo in the comic strip. I don’t like the idea because it means that Mongo is a generic desert landscape. Using portal is a poetic gesture. It makes Flash Gordon borrow from Adam Strange, one of his comic book copycats.

Dale Arden is no longer just a damsel in distress. She’s sharp and smart much like Lois Lane. Writer Jeff Parker could have switched her name to Lois Lane. Dale was leading her human team in situations that rely on social skills. But she receded back when adventure or science was at the forefront of the story. This makes Flash, Dale and the brooding Doctor Zarkov the lead of specific scenes where their expertise is most needed.

Evan Shaner’s illustrations are great. They combine a classic comic strip charm with a modern spin. There is a Chris Samnee flavour to his work but with drier inks. Shaner has impressive storytelling skills. There was no need to read the captions to understand the action. I like like how he reinterpreted Flash Gordon as a jock. The colouring is simple but with light touches such as reddish cheeks on many characters.

I have a concern about this series. The ideas are fresh and could cement a solid reboot for Flash Gordon. But will Dynamite lose interest with Flash Gordon in a few years or will it try to sustain a new classic version of the character?

Rating: 10 /10

Last Updated: August 31, 2023 - 08:12

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