Review: KING: FLASH GORDON #2

KingFlash02-Cov-A-ZdarskyKING: FLASH GORDON #2
Written by Ben Acker, Ben Blacker
Art by Lee Ferguson
Published by Dynamite Entertainment
Release Date: March 11, 2015

Flash Gordon is in a pickle in this campy space romp, a book that will be most likely be right up the alley of Flash Gordon fans.

I’ve read a little bit of Flash Gordon here and there, and this take made me smirk a few times, and roll my eyes plenty. This issue of Flash Gordon is like watching an episode of a cheesy 50s show, so the word that keeps popping into my head is “campy”. If you dig old school storytelling like that, with mad amounts of puns, some lame (for lack of a better term) comedy, and a hero with bravado to spare, then Flash Gordon #2 will probably be right up your alley. Acker and Blacker seem to be right in their wheelhouse with this genre, and this story reads like it could be a radio drama. Some of the jokes didn’t hit the mark for me and I found myself rolling my eyes damn near anytime Flash spoke, but that really is what should be expected of a book like this. This issue doesn’t have much in the way of twists and turns, but fans of comics like Batman ’66 will find a similar storytelling feel that they will most likely enjoy. Acker and Blacker handle the characters well enough, though none really grabbed me and compelled me to read any more of this series. They were generic enough that beyond the particular pun in their speech balloon, I didn’t really care what happened, and I should at least be rooting for the heroes, no matter what.

Lee Ferguson’s artwork is consistent, and suits the book well. His work with colourist Omi Remalante is the highlight of this comic and while this issue doesn’t have the visual appeal of Doc Shaner’s work, the spirit is there. Flash is a rather generic blonde guy, though, and the roguish, Han Solo charm that is written just isn’t in the artwork. Chip Zdarsky’s cover captures the fun better than the vast majority of the artwork in the issue, and I found myself wanting more Zdarsky as I read through this issue. The high points are strong and the low points lack pizazz, but overall the issue is solid. The tone of the story is conveyed well by Ferguson and Remalante, and I think fans of this style of story will be fine with the visuals they find in this issue.

Flash Gordon #2 is full of quips and gags, but too many missed the mark for me. The characters were generic enough that I didn’t overly care what occurred in the story, and, no matter how campy and joke-filled a story is, it needs to strike something in me to make me care that the good guys will defeat the bad. The art was fine, and at times I quite enjoyed it, but that lack of a single character standing out and taking this issue over made it fall flat for me. A good ol’ fashioned radio-style space opera is all well and good, but it only flies if the characters are charming enough to make me care. In this issue of Flash Gordon, it just didn’t happen.

The Verdict: 5.5/10

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