One of my all time favourite cartoons is Defenders of the Earth. Fro those who can’t (or maybe don’t want too) remember the show: –
Now, Dynamite have quite a bit of history with some of these great characters, so it comes as no big surprise that they would want to bring them altogether, Defenders style.
Empress Dale Arden is trying to take over the universe, with Mandrake, Flash Gordon, Prince Valiant, Jungle Jim and a pair of Phantoms, (with nary a Billy Zane in sight), caught in battles with a plant creature, a coup and would be merciless Empress and a cajoling spirit, intent on distracting or controlling Mandrake. To say there is a lot going on is a bit of an understatement.
Writers Bob Acker and Heath Carson seem to have taken the premise of the cartoon a step further, mixing in new elements in order to contrast the familiar. If you are looking for a highbrow story here, then you will be disappointed. This book is solely for the fans of these characters. Despite the action scenes and climactic moments in the book, the most enjoyable part is the haunting of Mandrake. Not having read the previous issues, I played along with the mystery, which even though names are not given, the identity of the apparition is apparent, even without the massive clue at the end of the book. The dialogue works well for the type of book this is. Again, nothing world shattering but is definitely a credible attempt at giving all involved the correct tones and voices. There is even a “Gordon is alive reference”.
As chaotic as this story in the final issue is, it is nothing compared to the art, provided by Bob Q, which seems to be trying break some kind of record for the amount of action you can get per panel per page. The art has a look of Dustin Nguyen about it, though not as controlled. Still fun is the key part of this book and the action scenes and art style certainly give the book a fun, pacey and energetic look. The colors by Omi Remalante are up to the usual high standard of Dynamite books.
It is such a shame that books like this do not get the attention they deserve, in this mainstream, event driven Big Two world that we live in. Sure, I am as big a Bat-Fan as the next guy, but there should always be some respect to those that went before. I am glad that Dynamite are there to give the reading public a gentle reminder.
Writing – 3.5 Stars
Art – 3 Stars
Colors 3.5 Stars
- Written by Ben Acker, Heath Corson
Art by Dan McDaid