Flash Gordon: The Tyrant of Mongo, Sundays 1937-1941 by Alex Raymond
Five out of five stars
Without question, the most impressive aspect of the Flash Gordon comic strip is the quality of the artwork. Alex Raymond clearly spent a great deal of time and effort on each caption, the level of detail is so high that the strip could serve as a lesson in drawing comics and this book as a text.
Although he is human in all respects, Flash Gordon is the equivalent of a superhero in that he faces enormous challenges and yet always emerges relatively unscathed on the other side. There are some points where the storyline goes a little too deep in the injuries to Flash and his recovery, but such is the nature of the comics.
Flash and his companions Dr. Hans Zarkov and Dale Arden are on the planet Mongo doing battle against the tyrannical Ming the Merciless. The battle zone moves to wherever they are at the time, even when Flash and his allies win the battle they are forced to retreat.
The women are beautiful and often scantily clad, while they are universally portrayed as brave and stalwart fighters, they are also given strong emotional tendencies. Dale is often jealous of the women that they encounter as they interact with Flash and occasionally resorts to the creation of an artificial love triangle with another man. Yet, Flash generally remains the noble hero, forgiving the transgressions of the people of Mongo that betray him.
There have been many heroes of the comics, Flash Gordon was one of the first and the content was very original, the wide variety of monsters and humanoid creatures on the planet Mongo along with the artwork allowed the story to continue for decades. A combination of art and imagination, this is a great book of fantasy adventure.