Saturday, 13 September 2014

Kings Watch #1 - Dynamite Entertainment

KINGS WATCH No. 1, September 2013
I am a little new to the American comic book publisher “Dynamite Entertainment”, having only previously encountered their “Project Superpowers” and “Lord of the Jungle” titles; the first being art directed by the awesome Alex Ross, and the second, an adaptation of the original Tarzan story by Edgar Rice Burroughs, coming to a somewhat sudden and ultimately disappointing end after just fifteen issues.

However despite the fledgling force in the comic book industry only having been in existence for less than a decade, its latest array of publications have a very strong place in my heart… as they’re based around the exploits of the original pulp-fiction ‘heroes’ from the Thirties and Forties. The characters of Mandrake, The Phantom and Flash Gordon from “Kings Watch” being cases in point, but having the extra pull, to my mind at least, of being the central figures to some of the first adventures I can ever recall reading about.

Unfortunately in many ways, the combining of three such flamboyant heroes within a single title, and the outstanding cover by Marc Laming and Chris Sotomayor, are probably the best thing about this first issue. The writing of Jeff Parker is good, especially as he really gives The Phantom some serious ‘screen time’, and colorist Jordan Boyd does some lovely work bringing out all the greens of the jungle. But for some reason Laming’s artwork when depicting non-action events, such as those set in an office in Midtown Manhattan, simply don’t always work, with some awkward articulation of his figures. In particular the artist’s pencilling of Dale Arden seems somewhat odd with her face appearing strangely non-symmetrical in some panels.

Arguably though this is nit-picking as the eight pages depicting The Phantom, tag-teamed with an elephant, fighting a large dinosaur, is superbly drawn and alone makes the comic worth its cover price. For a title containing three such action-orientated heroes, there are some surprisingly slow moments within this book but considering the grandeur of the tale before us, this is an understandable build-up to the arrival of the Emperor Ming of the planet Mongo…
The variant cover art of "KINGS WATCH" No. 1 by Ramon Perez

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