If there have been any recent surprise hits on the shelves of comic book stores, Merciless: The Rise of Ming definitely ranks among one of the best! Scott Beatty has made sure that with every issue we understand that the title of “Merciless” wasn’t just handed to Ming to make him sound more threatening. He earned it and has been earning it since he was a child. His manipulation of the Sharkmen was genius, along with ending the ceremonial sacrifice of their women. There’s also the added fact that the future ruler of Mongo isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty and put his life on the line to make sure he gets his way. Beatty has done this convincingly, and has definitely given Ming a great foundation with this back story.
As far as the visuals go, it’s been one good looking book from Ron Adrian. Though I will say that after the battle with the Sharkmen, things were a bit hit and miss. The end of the confrontation between Krang and Ming seemed not to be as strong visually as it was in the script. Despite that, we do get some strong scenes, especially as Ming declares war, and again during the birth of his child.
This is not only a great sci-fi story, but it’s a great origin story, as well. Everything that is taking place fits within the Flash Gordon mythos and the character of Ming. He’s not just a bad guy, but he’s THE bad guy you love to hate by the end of this. Beatty has also opened up some new and exciting aspects of the character, and if you’re not on board already then you definitely should be.