Brandon Borzelli’s Geek Goggle Reviews
Flash Gordon: Invasion of the Red Sword #2
Deneen, Garcia & Haus
The second issue of the second Flash Gordon storyline brings back the second most familiar character (okay, so that’s debatable) in the form of the believed-to-be-dead, Ming. However, Ming isn’t back to fight, but he’s all too happy to hold some people hostage in order to force others to do his bidding. Deneen lathers this issue with multiple subplots sending this story into a ton of different directions. By slowing the pace down and spreading the characters out he’s borrowing a page out of Grant Morrison’s book by keeping the reader guessing about character’s motives while dropping some clues, but at the same time he’s throwing in a bit of Paul Levitz with the subplot count. All of this adds up to an intriguing issue that moves this series into a much broader scope. With the recap page giving you everything you need to know there isn’t any reason not to pick this issue up.
It’s seems so simple: Ming dismantles the translator to lure Flash Gordon and friends into a trap. However, he doesn’t kill them. Instead, he forces Flash to take a journey with him while Ming’s guard keeps a watch over Flash’s friends. Ming’s temporary alliance with Flash seems ridiculous, but Deneen is aware of this and makes sure Flash announces it occasionally to force Ming into some sort of reasonable explanation. Ming has a great story to tell.
At this point it’s important to discuss one of the big themes to come out of this issue: family. Up to this point we’ve had some fathers and sons mixed in with fathers and daughters. However, this issue branches out beyond Thun and his father as Ming gives great detail about his parents, Ming hits a nerve when he brings up Flash’s father and we find out Vultan has quite a bit of family history that goes beyond just his daughter. Deneen isn’t relieving a lot in this issue but he is weaving together a powerful theme with offspring living up to or denying their parent’s hopes for them.
The issue splinters off quite a bit by the end as Vultan, Dale, Baron and just about every other character finds themselves in hot water, with many of them becoming separated. You know the issue has danger written all over it when Flash seems the safest and he’s paired with Ming.
Garcia is coming into his own as the Flash Gordon artist. Garcia’s captured a lot of the facial expressions of the character very well. This issue is light on the action which means Garcia’s reactions have to bring even more weight to help the story along and Garcia pulls this off well. Visually, this is a terrific book.
Flash Gordon is an excellent read. We’ve pushed past the war and are now into the arena where the line between good and evil are blurred and motives change issue to issue. I can see new readers coming into this issue expecting more action and science fiction elements, but that’s an unfair bias. Something special is getting put together here and this issue is just another link in the chain. I urge you not to miss out if you are a fan of fun, fantastical stories with some depth to them.
4 out of 5 Geek Goggles