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Chapter Three: The Monsters of Mongo: Flash, recently escaped with an assist from the luscious Princess Aura, is shot down in the territory on the lion men. Pursuing agents: should we use surgical strike? Ming: no, make it messy. Meanwhile, back on Earth, Adolph is getting some military aid from old Merciless. Hail Ming!

What’s Good: This is one of two sword and planet titles I’ve picked up from Dynamite this week (see Warlord of Mars: Dejah Thoris #10, for the other). Sword and planet is a fun, escapist form (well, let’s face it, the whole comics medium is an escapist form, but this is more escapist than say, the street level crime of the Kingpin or something). Ross and Trautmann make full use of its conventions. We’ve got alluring evil princesses, quick getaways, strange moons with dangerous aliens, an empire full of goons, all lead by an implacable tyrant. Our hero is daring, truehearted and consummately dangerous, and he’s setting his sights on the bad guy. This is swashbuckling adventure for adventure’s sake, modernized with better tech and science, but at its core, beats a heart of pulp. The art by Indro and Adrian under the direction of Ross is awesome. I love the draftsmanship and especially the close attention to facial expression, and the shadow and texture required to make it real. The castles and moons and trees and ships and other costumes are evocatively alien, and basically, it is a fiesta for the eyes. (more…)

Filed under: Dynamite Entertainment | Tagged: Alex Ross, comic book babes, Comic Book Reviews, comic books, comic reviews, Daniel Indro, DS Arsenault, Eric Trautmann, Flash Gordon, Flash Gordon Zeitgeist #3, Flash Gordon Zeitgeist #3 review, Hitler, Joseph Rybandt, Mongo, Monsters of Mongo, Princess Aura, review, Reviews, Ron Adrian, Slamet Mujiono, WCBR, Weekly Comic Book Review, | Leave a Comment »

Flash Gordon – Zeitgeist #1 – Review

The Story: Ming the Merciless is looking for fun on a Friday night. Earth is handily in his cross-hairs. The Earth of 1934 reacts with confusion to the super-technology attacking them that manifests as natural disasters. Everyone except Dr. Hans Zarkov. And by coincidence, Flash Gordon, emissary of the President of the USA, and Dale Arden, cartographer, happen to be with him as he is blasting towards Mongo.

What Was Good: Right out of the gates, I have to declare that I grew up on Filmation’s Flash Gordon cartoons as a kid, so obviously I’m coming from a pulpy place of love for sword and planet adventures. Although this is early in the story, I could already see Trautmann assembling the pieces that make Flash Gordon fun. These are: (1) the terrifying Ming and his fragile empire, (2) Flash, the brave, classic hero, (3) Dale, the damsel-love interest, (4) Zarkov, the scientist ally, and (5) the servants of the emperor, but not necessarily loyally so. Ross and Trautmann also pulled in some elements that promise to give this story a theme or gravitas that the pulp original did not have. The addition of the Third Reich and Hitler say a lot about the kind story this is going to be and the foils and thematic contrasts that will be offered. All that being said, this issue was only the inciting incident. The real story begins in issue #2.

Artwise, I was delighted. Indro was a bit quirky, but I found myself liking the way he exaggerates certain elements (Zarkov, for example), cleaves close to traditional styles for heroics (Flash and Dale), while pursuing very modern takes on villainy (Ming and his entourage). All of it was well done and the detail in the 1930s tech was wonderful, right down to the fraying piece of tape labeling a switch in Zarkov’s laboratory.