Brandon Borzelli's Geek Goggle Reviews
Flash Gordon Invasion Of The Red Sword #6
Deneen & Garcia
The conclusion to the Red Sword arc leaves off exactly where you might expect it to knowing that the next Flash Gordon story is entitled, "The Vengeance of Ming." The fun of the issue is getting there and this issue doesn't disappoint. This arc has had a couple of themes running throughout the six issue arc that continue in the finale. This issue provides the same high level of character work, complex plot and outstanding artwork that has been the norm throughout this series. The cliffhanger ensures that I will be waiting fairly impatiently for the next arc set to begin in early 2012.
The big question coming into this mini-series was "who is the Red Sword?" and this issue answers that question many times over. Zarkov reveals his connection to one of the faces of the Red Sword in an emotionally twisting tale that also manages to tie a ribbon on the back story of Zarkov as well. If Flash Gordon is a character who seems to get everything in life it is pretty clear that Zarkov is the opposite. Both Zarkov's and his Red Sword rival's stories are comprehensive, ironic and damning all at the same time.
One of the big questions for me coming into this issue was that of Ming. Of sure, I wanted to know how Flash and company defeated the Red Sword, but I assumed they would. Where has Ming been? This issue answers that question in yet another plot twist that gets tied together nicely from previous issues and arcs. Additionally, this keeps up the theme of this arc that sees many new characters (and in some cases races) enter the fray. I think it is this aspect that is the most enjoyable of the series. Deneen isn't afraid to bring any or all of Raymond's creations into the book and they all fit so nicely in the story.
The artwork continues to impress on multiple levels. Up to this point I've been most impressed with Garcia's take on Dale. However, I have admired how he's handled his action scenes and brought so much life to the pages. In this issue he takes on another aspect to his art and that's in the dramatic interactions. Zarkov's story deals mostly with love, jealously and tragedy and Garcia plays on those emotions and events perfectly. Surprisingly, this issue doesn't have the explosive twenty-page battle sequence that you may have assumed would be in here and with good reason. This means the comic leans on the story and Garcia makes sure his imprint is made with the visuals. And it works all so elegantly together. Not to mention that Flash wields a sword and a gun in the same panel which is one of the coolest moments in the book.
If you were to bring Alex Raymond from back in time to the present day and ask him how he would modernize his creations I think he would struggle to rival what Deneen has done here. Each issue is entertaining and each issue brings more to the overall plot and manages to raise the stakes for the characters. Every single time Flash and friends think they have won there is something lurking around the corner for them. The wait now begins for the Vengeance of Ming. How is Deneen going to top this arc?
4.5 out of 5 geek goggles