Flash Gordon was a 1988 comic book maxi-series adaptation of the famous comic strip hero Flash Gordon, written by Dan Jurgens and produced by DC Comics. The series compressed the basic story into 9 issues and still found time for plenty of action, worldbuilding, and character development.
In this series Flash is a washed-up basketball star looking for his purpose in life, which he finds in defending the planet Mongo from their tyrannical overlord, Ming the Merciless. Accompanying him are the feisty reporter Dale Arden, and the scientist Dr. Hans Zarkov, while Ming's daughter Aura may be a friend or a foe.
The series ran for the planned 9 issues, and while it ended with a hook for a continued series, it was never picked up.
This mini-series contains examples of:
- Action Girl: This Dale is perfectly capable of handling herself and only needs Flash when she is outnumbered and surrounded by the enemy.
- Arranged Marriage: Between Aura and Barin.
- Cliffhanger: Like the serials and comic strips, every issue ended with a cliffhanger.
- Faking the Dead: At the end of the story, Flash allows Dale to believe he's dead so she can return to her life on Earth while he remains on Mongo.
- Fanservice: Both Flash and Dale lampshade that nearly all the women on Mongo are dressed as if from Frederick's of Hollywood.
- The Guards Must Be Crazy: In issue 2, Flash mocks Ming about his guards' incompetence. It takes two panels for Ming to agree with Flash, and he decides to kill him personally.
- The Hero's Journey: Flash, who begins the strip as a basketball player past his prime, finds new purpose on Mongo.
- In Harm's Way: Flash likes to take risks early on, which ends with him crashing his car and meeting Dale and Dr. Zarkov.
- Intrepid Reporter: Dale, much to Flash's annoyance.
- Mugged for Disguise: Flash steals a military officer's uniform to flee Mingo City.
- No One Could Survive That!: Flash and Dale assume this about Dr. Zarkov.
- Race Lift: Ming and Aura are gray-skinned here, as as the other inhabitants of Mingo City.
- During Flash and Dale's journey across the Himalayas-like Snow Cap, they battle a creature based off the White Apes from the John Carter of Mars books.
- After they kill the creature, Flash suggests doing like in The Empire Strikes Back, using the carcass to keep warm. Dale refuses that idea.
- The treatment of the Yellow People of Snow Cap City is based off the Eloi in The Time Machine (1960).
- Surrounded by Idiots: In issue 2 Flash points out Ming's guards are incompetent; it takes two panels for Ming to come to the same conclusion and try to kill Flash himself.
- The Vamp: Aura.
- You Got Spunk: Ming finds Dale's feistiness refreshing.