This series takes another step forward, as not only does the team finally all come together, but Ming The Merciless makes his anticipated first appearance, and man, it’s not looking good for Earth right now. You can really tell Jeff Parker is having a lot of fun with these characters, and this translates to a very enjoyable story. It’s not quite as weird as Parker’s Agents Of Atlas, but it really is the next best thing.
We begin inside Flash Gordon’s mind, as he remembers seeing Mandrake The Magician perform when he was a kid. Mandrake is able to use this memory to do some pretty awesome magic, as he hands Flash a bag of flash powder in his memories, which he is then able to use in real life, to escape from the clutches of Cobra. Mandrake is able to use his magic to cast some illusions and trick Cobra and his minions, but they don’t work for long, and soon, Cobra and the rest grab the second Crystal, and can teleport away and head to the King’s Watch. Of course, The Phantom and Lothar are already there, so it’s time for another fight.
In a very funny call back to the previous issues, Mandrake borrows Dale’s phone to call Lothar, and he, Flash, Dale and Zarkov jet off to Tanzania to join the fight. This was a really cool sequence, it just brought a big grin to my face to see all of these characters together again (Parker even slips in a ‘Defenders Of The Earth’ reference) and kicking some ass. However, on the basis of this issue, they aren’t a very effective team yet, as Cobra’s female assitant is able to distract them and allow Cobra to reach the King’s Watch and open up the gate between Earth and Mongo. In an interesting reveal, Cobra’s femme fatale is actually Mandrake’s wife, Narda. From #1, it seemed like Cobra had killed Mandrake’s wife, but now it looks like he either brainwashed her into joining him, or she just betrayed Mandrake of her own free will. Either way, it’s a cool twist.
The story then moves to Mongo, and we see Ming readying for war. He explains that they could have attacked years ago, but they needed Earth to reach a certain level of technological advancement, so they could then shut it down and leave them defenceless. Ming’s attack is two-pronged, shut down the tech, and then attack with force. It begins at the end of this issue, and I’m excited to see how it plays out.
As I said, this series took a step up here, the whole team is assembled, and it’s a full on cosmic war. Marc Laming’s artwork is also improving from issue to issue. One of Dynamite’s biggest issues is the average quality of their artists, but now they seem to be making better choices, Laming is a great fit for this series.