The first issue of Jeff Parker’s new Flash Gordon ongoing series – released to celebrate the 80th anniversary of the iconic character – keeps things simple, dynamic and most importantly, fun.
After a brief prologue, we join our hero and his crew in media res, fleeing from the forces of Ming the Merciless. And that’s basically how this first issue plays out. The seeds are planted here for the initial arc, with crystals, dimensional rifts and a colourful cast of characters all thrown into the mix, but the main thing to take away from this first issue is just how much Parker ‘gets’ the Flash Gordon character. The wise-cracking, thrill-seeking nature of our hero is on display right from the start, and Parker does a tremendous job of establishing both Flash and his crew within just a few pages, leaving the rest of the book to knock our socks off with some terrific action set-pieces.
Evan Shaner’s artwork keeps things moving fluidly, and he finds himself presented with a veritable all-you-can-eat-buffet of creatures, settings and sequences courtesy of Parker’s rapid-fire pacing. From bungee jumping to vine swinging, dense forests to ocean planets, this is a book that never stops moving, and rarely lets up for more than a panel or two before hurling us headlong into the next exciting situation.
As crisp and kinetic as Shaner’s artwork is, equal praise must be given to the bright, vibrant colour work of Jordie Bellaire, who – like Shaner – is presented with a dizzying array of environments and characters to lend her impressive colouring skills to. This is a team that seems to be working in perfect synergy, resulting in a beautiful looking book that manages to retain its almost ‘cartoony’ charm without every beginning too frivolous.
For a character that has never really been on my radar before, I found myself thoroughly enjoying this first issue, and I’m definitely going to be hopping on for the ride as the series moves forwards. And while some of the storyline elements may not have had a chance to establish themselves quite yet, there’s definitely enough fun, excitement and humour in this book to win anyone over. Well worth a look.
The writer of this piece was: Craig Neilson (aka Ceej)
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