The great-granddaddy of comic adventure, Flash Gordon, returns to the comic racks in the debut title from Ardden Entertainment, led by Editor-in-Chief J. M. DeMatteis. Although DeMatteis is not credited on this title directly, it is not hard to imagine that he had some involvement with it landing at Ardden.
Much like the recent returns of Zorro and the Lone Ranger, this renaissance of Flash Gordon hits at a point when the public (unless you happened to catch the short-lived Sci-Fi Channel show) awareness of the character is at an ebb. This allows a little more freedom of interpretation for the characters.
This first issue spends the entire time introducing the “new” takes on familiar names. By and large, the story plods along with almost cliche predictability, including the big “sinister” reveal at the end of the story. On the whole, however, the book does remember that Flash Gordon is an adventurer — not a punk, nerd or whiner. Some of the dialogue, however, follows the stilted cliche-ness of the plot.
The art tries for trendy, but doesn’t quite hit the mark. The trend falls somewhere between J. Scott Campbell and Rob Liefeld. The characters are hideously over exaggerated and, in some spots, the art itself looks horribly distorted, as though the original was rendered at the wrong size, scanned in and forced to fit the space allocated.
To a degree, I suppose it is for the best that this first issue is kind of slow. In theory, it will provide a dramatic comparison between Earth and Mongo, given that we had an entire issue devoted to the status quo of Flash Gordon on Earth.
The story contained within this issue has a degree of attempting to find charm, but it, unfortunately, has a largely side dish of really distracting points, like the handgun that fires off a report of “FOOM”. All in all, this incarnation of “Flash Gordon” leaves me a little flat. I’d read the next issue if I didn’t have to pay for it, but if I’m paying, it would depend on the new comic competition on the stands. Right now, it doesn’t stack up very well. Maybe it will, once Flash himself is allowed to truly take command of the title.