By Alex Raymond
Titan Books, $39.95, 176 pages
Flash Gordon and Dale Arden seriously need to seek couples counseling. In Flash Gordon: Tyrant of Mongo, we find Flash enjoying his hard-earned vacation. Events quickly conspire to throw him and Ming back at each other’s throats. Flash runs from Ming’s forces and ends up in the Northlands, where an ambitious count sets Dale against Flash. Although they get back together soon enough, Dale’s kidnapping forces Flash to deal with Ming. The last installment ends with Flash in the crosshairs of an assassin.
This book has aged fairly well. Although it’s still far more descriptive than a modern comic, and there is quite a bit of covert sexism (most of the problems are caused by Dale and another woman getting into some sort of jealous fight over Flash), the writing is still pretty incredible. The graphics are done with an eye toward detail, and Mongo looks more like a 1930s serial than the Roman pastiche. Surprisingly, each of the comic’s installments flow rather nicely into each other, making for an extended story. Combined with the gorgeous cover, this is a book any comic book fan would die to have on his shelf.
Reviewed by Jamais Jochim