Merciless: The Rise of Ming #1 takes everyone’s second favorite guy in the Flash Gordon universe and reveals just how he came to rule the planet Mongo and just how he got so…well….merciless. It’s an origin that’s not needed, like Doctor Doom and Lex Luthor being evil just comes with the territory. But hey, Dynamite Entertainment decided to give us one, so why look a gift horse in the mouth, right?
Even though I love Scott Beatty‘s writing (he should still be writing Buck Rogers!!), I have to admit, I was more than a little worried that he would turn Ming into some really nice, heroic, lovable guy, then a tragedy would befall him, then he turns into the nastiest guy in the universe. Happily, that’s not the case here. Beatty writes Ming as noble, stiff, and really underneath it all, just plain old evil, and that’s the way he should be written. I don’t want to find out that the coolest bad guy ever only became a bad guy because he lost his space puppy. Beatty really crafts a fantastic story here, and what’s nice is that it gels VERY well with the ongoing Flash Gordon comic that Dynamite is currently publishing. It fits right in and in the future, this would be a perfect trade to read right before you read the Flash Gordon: Zeitgeist trade. All around, it’s a great first issue and even though you ultimately know how the story is going to end, getting there is REALLY fun!
Artist Ron Adrian is AWESOME!!!! I’m serious here, people. He makes all the different creatures and species of Mongo look fantastic and his detailed scenery and backgrounds are amazing! WAY above and beyond the call of duty. This is certainly a different Mongo than we see in Flash Gordon: Zeitgeist. An earlier, different place, but he gives more than enough familiarity to the planet that we recognize it as what it’ll one day be. I honestly can’t say enough about his work. It’s amazing.
This is a big week for comics, so I really hope that you can fit this into your budget this week. In fact, I think that you should take a long look at what you’re getting this week and then MAKE ROOM for it. It’s a lot of fun and not you’re typical “anti-hero” story. Dynamite is really quickly raising the bar on licensed comics and that means we all win!