Flash Gordon has always been an action packed fantastical adventure, and its good to see this continues with Flash Gordon: Zeitgeist #5. Unfortuantely, there are some elements that belong in other, more modern comics. Flash Gordon should be about the fantastical land of Mongo, not Earth.
The official description from Dynamite:
The rebellious Prince Barin has Flash Gordon in his clutches, and that may spell death… unless the intrepid Earthman defeats his own ally, Prince Thun of the Lion Men of Mongo. Insurrection against Ming’s iron rule of Mongo is brewing, with shifting alliances and deadly intrigues at every turn. But the clock is ticking, as the merciless emperor has plans of his own: his royal wedding to Dale Arden. On Earth, three fugitives from Mongo have their sights set on their objective, with the Third Reich squarely in their crosshairs…
For the best part, the issue serves well. There’s exciting flashy battles with lots of explosions, and the environments and art are deep and colorful. Mongo is an old-fashioned affair, various alien races and fancy spaceships. It doesn’t apologise for being lively, and that’s awesome.
Yet its the beginning pages, set on Earth with Nazis, that never seems to sit right for me. It doesn’t read or feel like the rest. I suppose its only fair that someone tries to reinvigorate Flash Gordon after all this time, but including the Nazi’s more prominently seems to easy. There are plenty of books that cover the wonderful overlap between Nazi’s and mystic/fantastical beings. Hellboy does this pretty well, and thats been around a while. This reads more like a bizarre cross over title.
The action on Mongo, however, suits the title better. Its fun and fast paced, but there’s so much action and plot that I fear readers might not understand whats going on; not every is familiar with the relevant history of Flash Gordon. In this issue alone, there’s Hawkmen, Seamen, Lionmen and at least two other species. This, of course, isn’t even mentioning Flash himself, as well as Ming and the Nazis. For one issue, that’s a lot to focus on. Oh, and the Nazi’s have robots, so there’s that too.
In short, its an excellent read for someone who is already a fan. New readers, however, won’t find any starting off points. The title does its best to introduce the characters, but there’s so many it feels more like studying than reading.