Tag Archives: Dynamite Comics

Review of Flash Gordon #1

Flash Gordon #1
Flash Gordon #1

In the 1930s, Alex Raymond’s Flash Gordon comic strip set a high standard for science fiction adventure comics. Writer Jeff Parker and artist Evan “Doc” Shaner are great stewards of Raymond’s legacy; their work on the first issue of Dynamite’s Flash Gordon comic updates the strip’s classic trio (Flash, Dale Arden, and Dr. Zarkov) for a modern world.

On Earth, Flash is an athletic rich kid that disappoints his father by performing crazy stunts for his Internet following. Dale is a smart science reporter working in a society that doesn’t care about science. Dr. Zarkov is a brilliant scientist dismissed as a drunken eccentric. The three heroes are misfits on Earth, and it is only when they travel to Mongo that they find their calling as heroes.

The comic begins where the Dynamite miniseries Kings Watch ended (although readers will not need to read that series to understand what is going on), with the protagonists having just saved Earth from the tyrant Ming, but unable to return home to Earth. The first issue does a fantastic job of showcasing the new, modern take on the world of Mongo; settings like Frigia and Arboria are no longer regions on the planet Mongo, but other planets connected to Mongo by wormholes, or “portals”. Parker and Shaner are great at giving each character a distinct personality: the athletic and impulsive Flash, the smart and beautiful Dale, and the cynical but brilliant Zarkov.

Shaner’s art style is gorgeous, with crisp, classic art that honors Raymond’s style and captures the action and emotion that the story demands. Colorist Jordie Bellaire gives a lush look to Shaner’s art; in particular, I found the art for the world of Arboria breathtaking. Updating a classic for a modern audience can be challenging, but Parker and Shaner rise to that challenge, delivering an exciting and engaging science fiction adventure comic worth reading.

Review of Magnus Robot Fighter #2

Magnus 2The first issue of Dynamite’s Magnus Robot Fighter saw its protagonist, Russell Magnus, abruptly awakened from his illusion of life in an idyllic future town to discover the reality of a dystopian city where machines rule humanity and hunt down unregistered humans. The issue ended with Magnus discovering that he was really good at fighting robots before being subdued by the machines’ beautiful human agent, Leeja Clane. The second issue addresses some of the mysteries from the first issue, while introducing new skills for Magnus, and new characters.

The second issue is primarily an interrogation of Magnus by Clane. The dynamics between these two characters are great, as Clane seeks information on a rogue machine intelligence about which Magnus knows nothing of use; Magnus does know that what Clane is doing is wrong, and challenges her actions and the foundations of her entire society. The comic reveals more information about Magnus and the new reality in which he finds himself, and offers hints about Magnus’ true purpose.

Writer Fred Van Lente’s script deftly establishes the setting and society in which Magnus is trapped; in particular, Van Lente’s excellent reimagining of Asimov’s “Three Laws of Robotics” was a nice touch. Artist Cory Smith nicely captures the character moments between Magnus and Clane, but it wouldn’t be a Magnus Robot Fighter comic unless Magnus was fighting robots, and Smith excels at rendering robot-smashing pugilism. Colorist Mauricio Wallace does a great job of alternating palettes between Magnus’ reality in a robot-controlled world and the character’s memories of his idyllic past.

The second issue of Magus Robot Fighter maintains the momentum and excitement of the first issue, and this series looks like it is off to a great start.

Review of Magnus,Robot Fighter #1

by Fred Van Lente and Cory Smith
With Marvel relaunching their books annually, and Image churning out new comic series on a weekly basis; Dynamite seems determined to bring out their whole arsenal in response. Dynamite’s catalog is admittedly large, but includes many characters that may or may not have even been mentioned to modern readers. Myself, I have never heard of this character. However, after reading this issue I can’t wait to read more.

Continue reading Review of Magnus,Robot Fighter #1

Review of Turok Dinosaur Hunter #2

Turok Dinosaur Hunter #2 (Subscription Variant)Turok Dinosaur Hunter #2 by Greg Pak & Marko Colak

This was one of those series where I was not sure what to expect from the first issue. I have no experience with the original Gold Key tales. As for the Valiant revival, I read the first few issues back in the 90s, but they did not click with me. Honestly, I preferred Valiant’s original characters over the Gold Key ones, and out of that latter group Turok was the least interesting. Still, I picked up the first issue of Dynamite’s re-launch to give Pak’s new approach a try.

What really hooked me with the first issue were the twists that Pak inserted at the end. Up to that point, readers were led to believe that Turok existed in a landscape which was more or less historical. Sure, dinosaurs were rampaging, but given the title that was to be expected. Most of the background was fairly run of the mill. Turok is an outcast, exiled from the tribe as a result of his parents’ being accused of murder. He tries to carve out a bit of sanctuary for himself, only events will not let him. Soon he finds himself, along with one of his former tormentors, watching helplessly as strange men with monstrous beasts seize control of the tribal village. It would seem that the moment of European invasion has arrived.

Except that it is nearly 300 years too early. The year is not 1492, but 1210. In place of Spanish explorers, these are British knights. In issue 2, Pak continues laying the groundwork for his alternate history. We learn that the dinosaurs were brought by the knights, who have long used them in their conquests. Marion, the daughter of the English commander, has illustrations of the warriors conquering The Holy Land while astride dinosaurs. Indeed, back in Europe, Britain is known as The Land of the Dragon Knights. This is an intriguing concept, and I look forward to seeing how Pak explores it further.

In addition to the backstory, Pak continues to develop his characters as well. For example, there is Marion. She is introduced as a voice of reason, convincing her father that there is no point in torturing the natives if they cannot understand the English tongue. So, she is charged with Kita, the chief’s niece, in the hopes that more peaceful means might reveal where all the gold is hidden. (In many ways, the knights are not that dissimilar to the historical Conquistadors.) I enjoyed watching these two women play off each other, neither understanding the words of the other. Pak seems to be setting up a couple of different paths Marion’s character might take, and it will be interesting to see which she adopts.

Finally, Colak continues to provide strong images for Pak story. I had not seen his work before this series, but immediately became a fan of his. He has a strong, dynamic style, which fits well with this series. While I was mixed on the first issue, I found that the second was uniformly stronger. I shall definitely be picking up future installments.