The penultimate issue is here as Ming the Merciless invades Earth. The only thing standing in his way? The Kings Watch. This team is made up of The Phantom, Flash Gordon and Mandrake the Magician — all very human heroes with wits, fortitude and some luck on their side. So far this epic mini arc has been well paced and fun to read, but as for issue #4, is it good?
Kings Watch #4 (Dynamite Entertainment)
If you’re just joining us, Ming has just sent armies of beasts to Earth through portals around the globe. The Kings Watch just so happened to meet up with one group in the nick of time, but already the cities are being decimated. Something that makes this series so unique is just how outmatched these heroes are. They can only do so much, but by combining Gordon’s’ strategic knowhow, Mandrake’s illusions and Phantoms fighting skills these guys end up kicking ass in surprising amounts.
Neat invasion plan there.
Writer Jeff Parker has a good sense of these characters and it’s going to be a shame when the series is over with issue #5. The balance of story, narrative and character development is done with aplomb. Each character has their time to shine and their importance to the team is demonstrated in clever ways that always makes sense. The bad guys are impressive as well in all their evil for evil’s sake glory. Phantom does conveniently have an artifact that helps them save the day, but heck it’s in his awesome Batcave… I mean Skull Cave. There’s some pretty inventive technology on display too from Gordon’s drunken scientist buddy Zarkov.
Artist Marc Laming continues to draw some strong pages in all its heavy inked glory. His style is very grounded in reality be it backgrounds or how the heroes are rendered. When monsters and animal soldiers do pop up though, they too are realistic looking, but also pretty cool. He also uses a lot of cinematic wide angle panels giving the series an event feel.
Stop whining Gordon!
Is It Good?
I’ve enjoyed this series more than any event book Marvel or DC has put out in months. The story is paced well, always interesting and the character dynamics work. If they don’t continue this series after issue #5 or find a way to bring these characters back together I will be a very sad boy.