Kings Watch #2-3 (Comics Review)
Kings Watch has been one of the most amazing new mini-series to come out of Dynamite in recent months. The first issue, which I read way back in February, was simply awesome. It made me reconnect with characters I’d missed out on for more than a decade, other than Phantom whom I’d caught up with thanks to the Last Phantom 12-issue series from Dynamite that I read last year. These characters were part of my childhood, and it was very gratifying to see them all in action once again. The trio of Flash Gordon, Mandrak the Magician and Phantom is one of the most potent heroic teams and Jeff Parker delivers on that again and again in Kings Watch.
Of course, where these three are concerned, there is always some kind of a global threat involved and as Kings Watch #2 and #3 show, that threat is the man named Cobra, part of an ancient Egyptian cult that has sought power and control over the Earth for ever. Now, with the newly-discovered quantum crystals, Cobra plans to do something very drastic and open a portal to another dimension in service of his true master. Jeff Parker writing in these two issues continues to be aces and so does the art by Marc Laming, who has a pretty good handle on all these characters.
After the events of the first issue, in which strange celestial phenomenon caused panic across the globe, out three heroes separately began to investigate the causes and find out more so that the world panic could be dealt with. But things got only worse, and they are about to get even worse if the ending of Kings Watch #3 is any indication. With Flash Gordon #1 having already been released, I know some of what is going to happen to Flash, Dale Arden and Professor Zarkov, but finding out how they are going to get there is much more thrilling indeed. And that Phantom is involved is so damn fun too. his scenes provide the most visceral action in both issues, although Flash gets in a few knocks as well while Mandrake is up to his usual deceptions and trickeries.
The real fun of the these issues however is in seeing how the story unfolds. We go from knowing next to nothing about the celestial phenomenon to knowing just who is manipulating Cobra and, through him, his cult members. We learn what this individual plans for Earth, and how exactly he is going to do that. His contributions are kept in the background of course, and Jeff Parker lets the heroes do most of the storytelling as we see most of these two issues from their viewpoint, with very little from that of Cobra and his villains.
Still, all said and done, the best aspect of the two issues is that the core Defenders of the Earth team is getting together again in these pages. Under Jeff Parker’s pen, each character has his classic charm and their adventures are just as thrilling as ever, without any downsides. That we have the supporting cast members like Lothar, Dale Arden and Professor Zarkov together again is equally exciting. Each character adds to the overall story and one of the most fun bits is seeing Dale in a very Lois Lane style role here. She is smart, intelligent and she can hold her own against a belligerent and (initially) hostile man like Zarkov who believes her to be a spy. That she’s a reporter makes him think even less of her. But the guy bounces back quickly because he is affable and prone to mood swings when under the bottle.
There is so much here in these two issues that could be talked about. Jeff’s dialogue is always spot on for example, and the fast pace of the story keeps things interesting and exciting. We never slow down for any tedious explanation and everything is given to the reader on the go. Having some previous knowledge of the characters is a positive of course, and everything that Jeff does just adds to who they are and what they are, no matter which character we are talking about. They all get to shine, almost equally.
In addition to providing two more excellent covers for the series, Marc Laming and artist Jordan Boyd are also the internal artists with Simon Bowland providing the letters. Laming’s character-work is spot-on all the way through and Boyd’s colours really add to the overall experience. Seeing Phantom fight, whether he is taking on a saurian monster or charging head-on at a bunch of Cobra goons is the best part of the action in these two issues. And Mandrake’s trickeries are also equal parts hilarious and brilliant. The artists are on top-form for both these issues, and that’s what really matters.
Now I just need to finish the next two issues of the mini-series so that I’m all caught -up for Flash Gordon when the second issue of that series is released. Should be fun!
More Kings Watch: #1.
Posted on April 30, 2014, in Comics Reviews, Review Central and tagged African Fantasy, Comics, Comics Review, Dale Arden, Defenders of the Earth, Dimensional Travel, Dynamite Entertainment, Egyptian Cults, Emperor Ming, Fantasy, Flash Gordon, Jeff Parker, Jordan Boyd, Kings Watch, Lothar, magic, Mandrake, Mandrake the Magician, Marc Laming, Ming the Merciless, Mongo, Monsters, Phantom, Pulp Comics, Review, Review Central, Science Fiction, Simon Bowland, Space Anomalies, The Phantom, Urban Fantasy. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.