Flash Gordon #1 (Ardden Entertainment – Deneen / Green)
America’s beloved sci-fi hero is back in a brand new ongoing series, based on Alex Raymond’s original ideas but with a modernized twist for the 21st century! CIA Agent Dale Arden draws a reluctant Flash Gordon back into the world of espionage to track down the allegedly insane Hans Zarkov – who’s been accused of creating a weapon of mass destruction. Elsewhere in the universe, Ming the “Merciful’s” tyrannical shadow looms over Mongo, where an impending civil war is escalating!
Flash baby, you’ve come a long way from being a Yale Polo player (true story!). Flash Gordon has always been the king of the Science fiction pulp explorers. While not necessarily being the first hero of space, his career has certainly had one of the biggest impacts on pop culture. And while I was very hesitant at first when I heard about this book (still having the bad taste in my mouth from the recent show on Sci-Fi), I found out that newbie publishers Ardden comics has come through in incredible vibrant colors!
Brendan Deneen, who has major credentials to his name after being with Dimension Films / the Weinstein Company, pulls together a great modern re-telling of this seventy-five year old space hero. The story is a mix of Indiana Jones, Dirk Pitt and any film with Bruce Campbell. Flash is now an ex-Olympian and ex-government agent who is now a history professor who has every skill in the book, and the self-narration to match! Flash is matched by Dale Arden, who has been upgraded from “damsel in distress” to CIA hottie on the edge and ready to kick your ass. And Hans Zarkov? Well, he’s still the mad scientist. It’s funny how that arch-type doesn’t need to change too much over time. In any case, this all boils down to well-written FUN!
The story is not the only thing about this book that was a enjoyable surprise. The art by Paul Green is amazing! Even without a enjoyable story to back it, his art alone would be worth the cover price of the book. With his use of contours, shading and perspective, Mr. Green could be ushering a new era of pulp art.
Far and away, this was my personal fav this week! And I can’t wait for more!
Issue grade: A