Flash Gordon #2 (Comics Review)
A couple weeks back I finished reading Jeff Parker’s Kings Watch mini-series so that I could be caught-up with his sequel series, Flash Gordon, the first issue of which came out last month. I was in the middle of the series when I started on Flash Gordon #1 and now that I’m fully current, the overall experience has been pretty fantastic. On top of that, I now look at Flash Gordon #1 as being even better than I had thought that it was because the last two issues of Kings Watch were really great. It informed me as to how events had turned out that Flash, Dale and Zarkov ended up on Mongo and then Arboria. Really, really good stuff.
Flash Gordon #2 came out yesterday and despite my already high expectations, it turned out to be simply amazing. This issues sees the trio continue to make the Arboreans think that they are historians from Mongo, come to keep an eye on the natives and make sure that they are doing as ordered by Ming the Merciless. Jeff Parker feels as if he is in his element in this issue and he turns out lots of cinematically great moments that are perfectly captured by artists Evan Shaner and Jordie Bellaire. It is for no reason after all that I think so highly of this creative team.
As great as artist Marc Laming’s cover is for this issue, it is somewhat regrettable that it has nothing to do with the content of the issue. I mean, I love the composition, the pure heroicness of the scene as Flash trudges through a snowy landscape, but first and foremost all the action here takes place on a jungle world, called Arboria! This happens from time to time in many different comics, and is always similarly regrettable, so the saving grace is that the cover is actually good.
For the story itself, we see the trio of Flash Gordon, Dale Arden and Dr. Zarkov experience Arborean culture. They feast with Prince Barin and take part in some of the natives’ favoured sports. They also get to see just how the Mongori have subdued the Arboreans and the terrible price that the latter have to pay for their own subjugation as a reminder of all that they have lost. Unlike last issue, there is indeed a bit of the grim and dark in this issue, but that ends up getting balanced by the sheer joy that Flash finds in everything that he sees, enjoying every bit of Arborean culture that he is exposed to, even taking part in their favoured sports and other activities.
While this issue is all setup and there isn’t a whole lot of plot development, the issue is exceptional in terms of character development and for someone coming off of Kings Watch, that is perfectly fine with me since that series provided plenty of action and adventure where the protagonists are concerned. It is also fun to see how different each of them is in his/her approach to the Arboreans. One if filled with utter abandon, another is heavily pragmatic, and the other walks a line between the two and acts as an unofficial leader of sorts. These are the roles that Flash, Zarkov and Dale play here, respectively.
With all the humour that is packed into this issue, not to mention the rather ominous yet spectacular ending, I’m expecting some really awesome things from the next issue. I think that Jeff does a pretty damn good job of fleshing out all these characters for new readers and even providing some great action scenes so that things never get monotonous.
Evan Shaner is the main artist here of course, with the ever-fantastic Jordie Bellaire doing the colours and Simon Bowland doing the letters. To be fully honest, I have zero criticism of the artwork here. Every scene, every page was just perfect as far as I’m concerned and try as I might, I’m not really able to find any fault here. The art overall has a very classic feel to it, as if the artists are imitating old-school, and that was something that I really liked and appreciated. It sets it apart from other similar comics, and in that, Flash Gordon has found its own niche.
So yeah, another delightfully awesome issue that rocked. Do get it!
Posted on May 22, 2014, in Comics Reviews, Review Central and tagged Action-Adventure, Aliens, Arborea, Comic Strip, Comics, Comics Review, Dr. Zarkov, Dynamite Entertainment, Emperor Ming, Evan Shaner, Flash Gordon, Genetic Engineering, Jeff Parker, Jordie Bellaire, Marc Laming, Ming the Merciless, Mongo, Pulp SF, Review, Review Central, Science Fiction, Simon Bowland, Swashbuckling Heroes, The Defenders, The Defenders of The Earth. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.