Review: Flash Gordon #1

Flash01-Cov-ShalveyFlash 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?

I’m a Flash Gordon fan, ever since I read the old pulp comics from back in the day and seeing the campy 80s movie. After all, he did save every one of us…. how could you night like him? Going into this first issue, my expectations were high, as I had hopes we’d see some pulp action fun. The results though, are a bit mixed. There are lots of it I like and some I didn’t.

This isn’t quite a throwback comic. Flash Gordon himself is updated as an extreme sports, death-defying character, which is fine, but in the glimpse we see of him from Earth, it doesn’t quite explain his ability to deftly maneuver a plane. Dale is still a reporter, and Zarkov is still a mad scientist. As far as characters, Flash’s change as far as how he spends his time seems to be about all that’s changed. For long time fans, writer Jeff Parker quickly goes through our three main protagonists on Earth, before throwing them into being chased on Mongo. What happened that they got there? Why are they being chased? What the hell happened!? We’re not really outright told. There’s a break in time and we’re left as readers to imagine and fill in the gaps, and that’s my complaint with the issue. There’s lots of “pulp” action, but by getting us there, the progression of the story is a bit choppy.

But, Parker through all of that action, shows us the various worlds of Mongo and how they fit together in this vision of the Gordon adventure. Portals take you from world to world, which works quite well, and gives our three characters a solid goal, to find or open a portal to Earth and return.

The vision of those worlds, and the beings that inhabit them, is brought to us by Evan Shaner, which gives us a modern pulp feel. Shaner doesn’t attempt to mimic a classic style, instead the comic is given a solid update, but it still fits its pulp roots. Overall, the look is fun so far. The design of the three main characters though are classic and for those who are long time fans, they are instantly recognizable.

Overall, this debut is decent. It didn’t quite blow me away, but as an opening scene before the movie credits, it gives us some fun and excitement. For new readers, I can’t imagine they’ll be hooked, but for those who are fans of classic Flash Gordon tales, it looks like Parker is more than up for the challenge to give us a new spin on an old classic.

Story: Jeff Parker Art: Evan Shaner
Story: 7.25 Art: 7.75 Overall: 7.25 Recommendation: Read

Dynamite Entertainment provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review