Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Wee Andy looks at Kings Watch by Jeff Parker & Marc Laming

When we're not ripping open new games, painting miniature backlogs and generally having fun even we Wee Gamers still like to sit back and enjoy a good comic or two. 

Something we don't get to do near as much as we'd dearly like, but recently we've managed to squeeze in a few titles we thought we might share with you, our loving followers and sometime commentators. 

Wee Andy has been reading Issue 1 of  Dynamite comics' "Kings Watch" by Jeff Parker & Marc Laming. And he was especially pleased that he got the exclusive subscription edition with a cover by Ramóon K. Pérez. 

Spoiler warning- it's unavoidable but to do justice we do let slip various elements of the story so skip to the last paragraph if all you wants a loose comment of closing and a score of sorts. 
"I purposefully haven't looked up what Kings Watch was about, I wanted to find out as I read, so this really was a blind buy from the trade magazine Chris brings down from Paul's Comic store in Enniskillen. What Caught my eye was two characters I hadn't read in a LONG time and one I didn't expect to see combined with them. The mini series brings together Mandrake, The Phantom and Flash Gordon, what's not to like I thought" 

The issue takes us on a brief jaunt around the globe as we are introduced to a strange phenomena effecting the globe - bizarre lights filling the sky world wide and people being haunted by terrifying nightmares all the same of demonic like beasts being ridden by devilish warriors. The events have lead to a growing apocalypse fear the world over, protesting and suicides. 

We meet Dale Arden struggling with the nightmares while hunting for the truth as a determined reporter, seemingly holding it together fairly well. In Africa we find a wildlife photography expedition who encounter something completely alien and horrific but are saved by the swift intervention of The Phantom - though we clearly see the fight was not an easy one. 

Next our story takes us to the isolated mansion of Mandrake, in conversation of sorts with his captive daemon. He's troubled by the events he witnesses and his fears are not put to rest when the daemon informs him it's simply the end of the world... 

In a break from the character introduction the pages take us next to some unholy torture, of whom we're not told nor is it clear enough to guess. All we know is a familiar looking cult of sorts is seeking information and the lights are evidence enough to them that what they seek is near....well in Africa.  Near is relative in comics.

Lastly, late and somehow appropriately so we find The residence of the Gordon's, Mr Gordon is on the phone lamenting his late again son and his focus on sport rather than anything serious and productive. This calls soon ended as Flash himself lands in the garden complet not only with a experimental Space Plane but the company of none other than Dr Hanz Zarkov. 

I don't know why but as soon as I seen him, I had a feeling adventure was guaranteed (yes the nightmares, lights, established heroes where not clue enough )

The issue closes with Dale looking worn and ignoring calls, until she hears the success of the Gordon/Zarkov launch - we discover the plane he and Flash have built is far from ordinary making it halfway to the moon in moments and heading towards another eruption of weird lights, this time in space. The closing panel adds to the excitement that's already in my head, that this is a reimagining in some way of the classic Flash Gordon tale, modernised perhaps, expanded hopefully but certainly different. We see a pile of ancient texts and manuscripts and the declaration that the opening of the Kings Watch will bring the Demons of be continued! The last Paragraph :) 

Overall I really enjoyed issue one, even if it felt all too short, which it's not really at 23 pages. The story hasn't really started, but there's plenty of seeds planted, a number of 'I want to know more' elements. The art work is very good as is the colouring. I'm looking forward to seeing how these very different heroes come together and what great danger they will ultimately face. Nice too that it's not an issue relaxant on gun fights and big explosions, we may actually be facing a story here. 

Ta ta for now,

Wee Andy

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