The Sunday Stash is back on a Monday, and — this time — I, Lance Paul the Apostle take the full blame! You see, there was this little thing called the Long Beach Grand Prix, the thirst for all things loud and fast. The event “dooped” your favorite traveling nerd into partaking this so-called celebrity race, which had more no names and wannabe’s than extras found on Actors’ Access! I mean, really, who cares to see Norman Bates’ brother’s cousin’s third illegitimate poolboy race? But enough about that. Since I’m back in Cali this week, the Stash is a little short, yet nonetheless covers the return of a blue devil not named Grant Hill, the Ghostbusters’ favorite X-Man — Doop, and Ted’s favorite super hero. Yes, this guy:
FLASH GORDON #1
Grab your phasers and secret decoder rings, it’s time for the greatest New York Jet of them all (sorry Broadway Joe) to “wha-aaaa save every one of us.” Okay, so I used a variation of that joke when I reviewed the excellent predecessor to this latest Flash Gordon series that just dropped from our friends over at Dynamite. Sue me. Your good ‘ol Padre loves a good gag, tired as it may be.
You know what isn’t tired though? This excellent debut from scribe supreme Jeff (King’s Watch, Agents of Atlas) Parker, artist Evan Shaner (Adventures of Superman, Blood Brothers), and colorist Jordie (The Manhattan Projects) Bellaire. It is a good kickoff to a fun sci-fi romp with nods to the feel of the old Flash Gordon serials. Think of it as modern sci-pulp. It also works as a solid introduction for those who haven’t been following Parker’s Flash in King’s Watch.
This comic features detailed, fun artwork from “Doc” Shaner that screams “Comic Book!” — not big screen cinematic wannabe. This is what the medium is about folks: crazy shit exploding on the page hitting all manner of fun buttons, both ridiculous and improbable. There are breathtaking images throughout, from the bizarre creatures our heroes encounter to the lush scenery and landscape of Arboria. Bellaire also continues to prove herself to be one of the best colorists in the business. She mixes the right tones to effectively ground the story when on Earth. Once the space adventure kicks into gear, she dips into the palette and produces the perfect mix of psychedelic kookiness and bright exotic fantasy. The short and curly of it, congregation, is that this is one cool looking comic.
The interplay between the three main characters is solid as well, particularly during the space-plane chase sequence. Parker throws in natural quips that don’t feel like fluff or attempts at garnering cheap heat. His characterizations of Flash (cocky, heady confidence), Zarkov (unapologetic drunk, cutting edge genius, sardonic wit beyond compare), and Dale (sarcastic, tough as nails, unapologetic, and quick on her feet) really infuses the story with life. Ming, as expected, is believably and effectively merciless as well.
All in all, this is an entertaining adventure story debut. This is the Flash Gordon book the Padre has always desired — and absolutely cannot wait to see where the rest is headed. Or beheaded.
(Flip for a pair of All-New reviews from The Apostle!)