Issue by Issue – Flash Gordon #3 (2014)

Writer – Jeff Parker
Artist – Evan Shaner
Colours – Jordi Bellaire
Letters – Simon Bowland

Flash is doing what he does best – getting himself and his friends into trouble. No surprise and at that he succeeds quite well. So Flash, Dale and Dr. Zarkov are found out and captured by the Arborians at Ming’s command and while the companions are to be spared, Flash is to take part in the games. Gladiatorial combat games that is. So it is that readers find Flash Gordon in the arena with a couple of dozen beast-men which is being broadcast to every world that is ruled by the Merciless one, and it is there where Flash goes on to proclaim that Ming is essentially weak and that he will walk out of the arena triumphant. Jeff Parker has taken this book, one with an eighty-year-old character and breathed new life into him, making him just as fun and as relevant as any other book being published today. He has that Tony Stark personality which is fun, witty and carefree but Parker has turned it up a notch if that is even possible. The artwork by Evan Shaner is beautiful with its classic panel design and simple, yet sharp lines. If there were ever a book designed for an oversized hardcover at some point down the road this would be a perfect example to showcase the fantastic pencils and story. Readers have seen very little of Ming up until this point but he is revealed to be a smart and savvy leader which is why he rules over so many planets and peoples, not to mention an iron fist. If there were a perfect counter to Ming, it is Flash with his bravado and randomness, which with every passing issue seems to confound everyone as to what he is actually doing until he is actually doing it. Where it goes from here, nobody knows though being a prisoner, whether of the Arborians or Ming or whoever is not in the cards and so one can expect that should they get captured again, it will not last too long. Overall, Flash Gordon is a fun and exciting book that is definitely worthy of hunting down, whether as single issues or in omnibus form.

4.5 out of 5

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