Trautmann had me at “…Klytus, I’m bored.”! Yes, the classic line from the beginning of the Flash Gordon movie is how this issue kicks off! From here on out it’s a fun yet familiar ride as we meet Flash, Dale, and Dr. Zarkov while our planet seems to be on the brink of destruction. It seems as if someone was chosen to rule Earth in Ming’s name, however, he’s not in total agreement with Ming’s arrangement. The real surprise, however, comes at the end of the book when we are introduced to three new characters who have a mission of their own.
As I said earlier, Trautmann had me from the first page of this issue, because I could “hear” Max Von Sydow as Ming and Peter Wyngarde as Klytus. This was the perfect way to start this off, and then Trautmann hits you with the twist as he begins to add something new to the story, giving the overall plot more weight. He even returns Flash to his original role as a polo player instead of a NY Jets (meh) quarterback like in the film version. The other characters seem untouched, though Dr. Zarkov does seem a bit more intense in this version; and by “intense” I mean “crazy as hell.” With the foundation of this story already being laid, it was nice to see that Trautmann wasn’t going for some dramatic shift in the story. He added his own flavor to what Alex Raymond started, and it was a nice touch setting the story in January of 1934, which is when the original comic strip came out.
Daniel Indro’s artwork makes this one fantastic looking issue from beginning to end. The opening scene in Ming’s war room with Klytus and the sex bots is framed in a way that makes me wish I was seeing it on the big screen. Then we shift back to a chaotic Earth where Indro keeps the pace just as hectic but still fun. Dr. Zarkov’s character seems a lot darker here, and a lot of that is attributed to the artwork. He seems more dangerous than delusional, but that also helps put over the seriousness of the situation. Oh, and the full page reveal shot of Copernicus was just awesome.
This issue is pretty much an homage to what made the series so great in the first place. There are plenty of nods to Alex Raymond’s original series, and by sticking with the 1930s era this creative team nailed it. I also noticed that there is an effort to even visually stick with the original designs of the characters. There is no reason for you not to pick this book up and give it a try, even if you only have a passing knowledge of the Flash Gordon mythos. It’s written and drawn well, plus Dynamite is only charging one dollar for this issue! This is one series that I’m hoping stays this good for a long time, and I can’t wait for the second issue!