By PS Hayes
Sunday, December 18th, 2011 at 6:00 pm
Flash Gordon Archives, Vol. 5 Written by John Warner, Bruce Jones, George Kashdan
Art by Carlos Garzon, Gene Fawcette, Al Williamson, Frank Bolle, Al McWilliams
Introduction by Michael T. Gilbert Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: December 14th, 2011
Cover Price: $49.99
Collected in Flash Gordon Archives, Vol. 5 are 10 issues of the Whitman Flash Gordon series (28-37) including issues 31-33 which were an adaptation of the 1980 Flash Gordon movie. Talk about a treasure trove of excitement! Nearly 300 pages of classic comics reprinted and restored, and believe me, the book is totally worth the price.
These are, obviously, stories from another time. Comics were written a lot different then. There were no suck thing as “story arcs.” A comic was either a story told in one issue or a story that simply never really stopped, just continued from issue to issue.
This book is formatted in the latter style, taking a couple of breaks for Flash and the gang to travel to different parts of Mongo when they had finished an adventure, but these tales aren’t written with a goal of telling the story in “X” amount of issues. It was told until it was done, and whether it was 2 issues or 5 issues didn’t matter because the reader had to buy the individual issues—there WERE no collections or trade paperbacks. The stories themselves are classic Flash Gordon fun, adventure, sci-fi stories. Nothing that changed your life, or the way you thought about politics or people that were different than you. The only agenda the writers had was to tell entertaining stories so that they could sell enough comics to keep their jobs. And it worked and it showed. A VERY fun read.
As far as artists go,there’s everyone else, and then there’s Al Williamson. Inspiration to countless artists, no matter what generation they came from, here he is at the top of his game. In this book he does the 3-issue Flash Gordon movie adaptation and it’s so gorgeous to look at, you will absolutely get lost in the pages. The other artists aren’t slouches by any means at all. In fact, out of all the Flash Gordon Archives, this might be my favorite art wise.
Dark Horse has done a spectacular job restoring and coloring the pages in this book. The colors are very bright, vibrant, and fresh. Although a bit pricey (but still well worth the price) this is the kind of book that you can give anyone at all. It doesn’t matter if they’re familiar with the character or not, or even comics in general. Simply put, this is a brilliant collection of great comics.