Review: King: Flash Gordon #1

Flash Gordon is an institution.  One of the first pulp heroes in existence and along with The Phantom and Doc Savage they are ¾ of the Mount Rushmore of comic hero origins.  The Shadow is probably the 4th member of that Mount Rushmore, in case you were curious. Flash Gordon, as a concept, is immortal.  A barrel chested man’s man and his rag-tag group of misfits take on an overwhelming force lead by a pure evil master mind.  The good people are good, the evil people are unquestionably evil and the cause is pure.  It is undoubtedly genre and as riddled with tropes and cliché as it is it still tugs at us in some way.  It’s Star Wars, it’s the Howling Commandos and it’s Guardians of the Galaxy.  There’s a reason it works over and over again.

KingFlash01-Cov-A-CookeColNow Dynamite gets its hands on that big old stone face on the monument, Flash Gordon, and I got to say, it looks promising.  The art is solid and clean, it’s mostly modern but I feel something “pulpy” in the art.  Maybe it’s the subject matter tricking my brain but I feel the classic influence there.  The writing is pretty okay with this opening story making me curious about the future.  I want to make clear that I only say its “pretty okay” because I wanted a longer story.  What’s on the page is well written it just moves at a breakneck pace.  My only gripe with it being they hotshot the first story arc.  I can see how they might be anxious to get Flash and Co. (Dale and Dr. Zarkov) in front of iconic nemesis Ming the Merciless but I was expecting a 3-6 issues arc and then suddenly the story was over and we’re on to the next concept.

The issues premise is obvious, they state it in black and white, they have to partake in a diamond heist.  Well, a telestone heist to be more precise.  Heh, see what I did there, I’m a poet and I didn’t realize it.  Anyway this got me immediately interested.  I love heists, it’s one of my favorite genres.  I love heists so much that I love “hoists” because it sounds like a French Canadian saying “heist”.  That’s how much I love heists.  So, I’m expecting this issue we get introduced to the powers that be, where the diamond is, we get the band together and we get a layout of the plan.  Next issue they get supplies, next issue the con, next issue con goes wrong, next issue payoff.  Perfect heist layout.  Then before I know it the heist is over.  The heist goes right, then wrong, then right again and finally wrong again all in the span of 22 pages.  I could have stood to see this slow burn a little more is what I’m saying.  It feels rushed and I don’t like that feeling.  Hopefully they got some stuff on the back burner for the next issue and they didn’t hotshot the best thing they could have done with the series.  I guess we’ll see next month, I’ll be there.

Score: 3/5

Writer: Ben Acker/Ben Blacker Artist: Lee Ferguson Colorist: Omni Remalante Publisher: Dynamite Comics Price: $3.99 Release Date: 1/28/15 Format: Ongoing; Print/Digital