King: Flash Gordon #1
Writer: Ben Acker, Ben Blacker
Art: Lee Ferguson
Flash Gordon has been around since 1934 for a reason. The exciting space adventures of a regular guy standing against the tyranny of an alien foe has sparked the imaginations of some of our greatest sci-fi writers, artists and filmmakers. He’s the precursor to characters like Han Solo and Star Lord. With that said, King: Flash Gordon #1 from Ben Acker, Ben Blacker and Lee Ferguson carries on the tradition of fun and exciting space daring-do even with this uneven debut.
Flash, Dale and Dr. Zarkov are in pursuit of a valuable stone to help the resistance communicate without Ming being any wiser. It’s a clever heist that begins with great dialogue as Flash and the gang are instantly likeable and affable. It has the same tone and charm of Marvel’s Hawkeye.
Unfortunately, once they land on the tech moon things get a little convoluted as the action is fast-paced but the story gets confusing. At one point, Dr. Zarkov is racing through a corridor and then is seen hanging from an exterior fixture. The transition was not clear. It could be, as with some books that use two writers, there is a change in tone, voice, and direction of the story. It can seem muddled and noticeably altered from where it began. Despite the brief confusion by the end of the issue the team is in dire straits and leads to a great cliffhanger.
Ferguson has a clean, sharp artistic style that adds some great detail and energy to the book. His character designs are creative and fun with wonderful color schemes provided by Omi Remalante. It’s bright and inviting while being futuristic and dangerous. The world is full of robots, alien beings, and holograms that are laid out perfectly from panel to panel.
Gordon, like many of the King Features Syndicate books being rolled out this year by Dynamite Entertainment, pays homage to what made them so fun and engaging while making them contemporary and accessible. Flash Gordon #1 is as fresh and entertaining as it’s ever been with a modern sensibility. Here’s hoping issue two will have a little more coherence in the story, but it’s really worth checking out as the positives outweigh the negatives.