This week saw the release of a brand new Flash Gordon series. Most people are familiar with the character and concept. Jeff Parker gave us a glimpse into who these characters were before their adventures began and then throws us right into the middle of the action. With art by Evan Shaner and color by Jordie Bellaire, this was a fun and good looking new title.
If you have read the issue or are still not sure what to expect, here's Parker's writer's commentary on the first few pages.
Flash 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?
We start out with brief glimpses of our cast from a year earlier, so you can see where each was at before they became this team. Each is kind of directionless and drifting, it’s on Mongo where they all have real purpose. Also I felt you needed to see a bit of Earth so the alien worlds have a clear base to diverge from.
I wanted Dale Arden to not be someone who has to be either saved or explained to, but a crucial character- here she’s a reporter for the New York Times’ science desk who doesn’t mind telling people what she really thinks. And of course her last comment sets up the introduction of…
Dr. Zarkov, a brilliant engineer/physicist who everyone expected great things from, but his human frailties and probably intolerance of lesser minds has sabotaged his career. Hence, he’s a pretty hard drinker, which works in his favor here. It’s how he gets hold of the Quantum Crystal, the key to his method of space travel. That was a pretty big plot point in Kings Watch, which this series rolls out of, but I think it works even own its own.
And Zarkov’s last line sets the introduction of our title character…
...FLASH GORDON! I like to introduce important characters doing something very characteristic of who they are, and so we meet flash diving into a canyon. It’s not an easy shot, but Evan Shaner nails it. Everything about Flash’s spirit of adventure and lust for action is right there where we meet him.
We get a little sense of Flash’s notoriety, he’s the kind of guy who shows up on the slopes or anywhere in the world on a dare in a life-risking stunt. His dad is old money wealthy and way too busy to show up and slap his son in person so he sends an assistant for things like that. We had a scene in Kings Watch where you see Flash’s old room at his father’s house, full of every trophy imaginable for antiquated sports like fencing and polo, as well as mountain climbing, scuba diving, you name it. He has no head for business and in an already-explored world there seems to be no place for Flash. But all of his skills come together once he’s on…
Page 6- 8
...MONGO. We’re really picking up from him, The Phantom and Mandrake stopping the invasion of Earth by planet Mongo, but with what you’re given so far in this issue, you can infer that the three heroes met, built a successful space vessel, and arrived on a hostile world- that’s all you need, and we’re off to the races. Look at Jordie Bellaire showing off her colors here in the alien landscapes, it’s great. She and Evan warp the image when they pass through the portals to suggest time and space being bent as they make a quick tour of some of the worlds colonized by Mongo, while desperately trying to find a safe place to land.
But we’re going to see that ‘safe’ doesn’t really describe much in the places Flash, Dale and Zarkov go to in this book. Thanks for coming along!
FLASH GORDON #1 is now on sale. Read our review of issue #1 HERE.