Flash Gordon: The Mercy Wars

Brendan Deneen, Author, Paul Green, Illustrator . Ardden Entertainment $19.99 (160p) ISBN 978-0-956-12590-3

After appearing in movies, TV, and porn parody, sci-fi icon Flash Gordon returns to the comics in this jazzy miniseries. A retooled origin story sends Flash, his girlfriend Dale Arden, and eccentric Dr. Zarkov off to the planet Mongo, where they are separated and thrown into the eponymous war between various squabbling races—hawkmen with big wings, lionmen with shaggy manes and big fangs, etc.—and tyrannical emperor Ming the Merciless, whose idea of “mercy” is to let everyone else serve him or die. Besides being impressively athletic, Flash is bright enough to realize that Ming's enemies would have a better chance of winning if they'd stop fighting each other. That's difficult to achieve; when, for example, hotheaded Prince Barin of Arboria catches his fiancée Princess Aura (who's also Ming's rebellious daughter) kissing Flash, a swordfight immediately ensues. In short, there are enough ethnic conflicts and personality quirks to keep the action bubbling. Deneen's script keeps the plot surprisingly clear, and Green's art combines mangaesque design and dramatic coloring. It's good, old-fashioned fun, freshly polished. (Feb.)

Reviewed on: 11/16/2009
Release date: 09/01/2009
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