REVIEW: Flash Gordon: Zeitgeist #8

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Dr. Hans Zarkov is scouring through Ming’s technology to help himself and a stranded Flash Gordon find a way back to Earth. Meanwhile, the Merciless one has set in motion a plan of revenge. Read on in this Major Spoilers review.

Flash08-Cov-RossFLASH GORDON: ZEITGEIST #8
WRITER: ERIC TRAUTMANN
ARTIST: DANIEL INDRO
COLORS: SALMET MUJIONO
LETTERS: SIMON BOWLAND
EDITOR: JOE RYBANDT
PUBLISHER: DYNAMITE
COVER PRICE: $3.99

Previously in Flash Gordon: Zeitgeist: After the defeat(?) of Ming the Merciless, Team Gordon now has new problems on their hands. First, there’s the unrest created by a power vacuum and then there’s the small matter of getting back to Earth.

NOT WHAT I EXPECTED, IN A GOOD WAY

Until reading this issue my only real experience with anything “Flash Gordon” has been the hazy recollection of a winged, belligerent Brian Blessed strutting about the skies with mace in hand and voice in throat. A wisp of a memory tied to a (Freddie) mercurial soundtrack that simultaneously intrigued and repelled. Who is Flash Gordon and is he truly king of the impossible? I sought these answers in the pages of “Flash Gordon: Zeitgeist” #8.

Instead, I learned crapton about Hans Zarkov’s childhood.

While trying to find a way back to Earth, Zarkov hits a snag in reverse engineering Ming the Merciless’ technology. Foolishly he asks Ming for help and falls prey to one of the tyrant’s numerous contingency plans. A robot spider monster jacks into Zarkov’s brain and forces him to relive polluted memories of his life up until now. The monster is clearly trying to break Zarkov’s resolve and collapse his mind under the stress, but the doctor bears up well and, like Jim Kirk, uses logic to defeat the machine.

I liked the writing in this issue because Zarkov is portrayed as a regular guy. A super smart guy, yes, but a man who’s just trying to solve problem and deal with the hand he was dealt. And through all that he’s still searching for his father’s understanding and acceptance. It’s so humanizing.

I’m just stepping into this series with this issue, so I don’t know how atypical this was from what came before, but I was pleasantly surprised that I came in expecting “zap, pow, bang” and instead got a character study that wasn’t without depth.

ART WAS VERY GOOD, BUT BLAND

That art didn’t do too much to stand out for me. There was nothing wrong with it — it was quite proficient, just not outstanding and there’s nothing wrong with that. Zarkov received several closeups throughout the course of the book and they were exceedingly detailed with the heavier lines I enjoy.

One thing I was looking for but was disappointed not to see: 1930s versions of futuristic technology. Too few Jacob’s Ladders! Not enough things with fins! The upside of this is that the panels were easier to take seriously, but come on, who doesn’t like those goofy artifacts of an unrealized future?

Daniel Indro is clearly a talented artist, but maybe I’m just too cynical to be blown away these days.

BOTTOM LINE: HEY, WHY NOT GIVE IT A TRY?

If I’m being honest with myself I’ll probably read one more issue and then not be driven enough to keep reading, but that’s my flaw and not the book’s. “Flash Gordon: Zeitgeist” #8 is a great issue to grab if you’re looking for something a little different from your pulp scifi — like I said, I was pleasantly surprised to get something other than what I expected. At the very least be like me and pick it up to see if it’s something you might be interested in. 3.5 stars.

Rating: ★★★½☆

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