Thursday, November 3, 2016

Review - Flash Gordon: King's Cross #1 (@DynamiteComics)


"Death to Ming!"

Routine is always threatened by chaos. Sometimes that chaos is pretty harmless like a late bus or train, but other times it's a lot more dangerous like an alien warlord seeking to take over your home planet. Flash Gordon: King's Cross #1 from Dynamite Comics seems to think the former is tamer than the latter and they're going big. The issue is written by Jeff Parker, illustrated by Jesse Hamm, colored by Grace Allison and lettered by Simon Bowland.

Flash, Mandrake The Magician & The Phantoms struggle to bring peace to a broken Earth...but a FAR-too-familiar foe from beyond threatens to destroy everything they hold dear!

It's readily apparent that Parker knows a thing or two about the characters in Flash Gordon: King's Cross #1 as he writes with a nod to their legacy. In fact, much of the issue is so steeped in the history of characters like Flash Gordon, The Phantom and Mandrake the Magician that reading the issue is a little daunting if you're not as familiar with their exploits. Parker still manages to make the book accessible to new readers by giving each character a solid introduction that defines who they are and why they fight evil. Parker gives the book a steady pacing that builds up to a pretty climatic ending that also sets the stage for the series at large. And the dialogue has some campiness to it as Parker doesn't let the book or its characters take things too seriously.

Hamm's artwork is a perfect fit for the throwback sensibility engendered by the story. The heroes are illustrated in a way that's larger than life and reinforces their commitment to protecting innocents from the perils of evil. The panels are cleanly arranged and there's a couple of pages for Flash Gordon's introduction where Hamm clearly had a blast illustrating as each panel on the page shows Flash dealing with one baddie while a friend looks on and drinks. Character and background design mimic that cleanliness as well in that each are presented by Hamm with concise linework. The colors used by Allison are somewhat washed out, but they're effective because of the history of the characters and the fact that the book seeks to invoke their past reverence.

Flash Gordon: King's Cross #1 is rife with kitsch. Flash Gordon, The Phantom and Mandrake the Magician are faced with a bold enemy seeking to destroy the world and the trio will need all the help they can get to stop it. Parker's script is lighthearted and a breeze to read, filled with moments of levity that keep things from getting too dramatic. Hamm's illustrations are simple yet effective in presenting the reader with a look befitting of the characters involved. Flash Gordon: King's Cross #1 is a lot of fun and is definitely worth checking out.

Flash Gordon: King's Cross #1 is in stores now.

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