On The Cheap: Grab Jeff Parker And Marc Laming’s ‘Kings Watch’ For Five Bucks
This week at Comixology, Dynamite has a big sale on their "Greatest Hits," and as you might expect from the title, there's a lot of really good stuff in there. So good, in fact, that you probably don't need me to tell you about it --- being able to grab twelve issues of American Flagg for nine bucks, for example, is probably something that you already know is a good idea.
But if you're on the hunt for a buried treasure and you've got a spare picture of Abraham Lincoln burning a hole in your pocket, then you need to do yourself a favor and pick up Jeff Parker and Marc Laming's Kings Watch, one of the best (and most underrated) crossovers of the past few years.
I'm not usually one for comparing comics to movies, since the idea of a shared universe full of superheroes who battle titanic, world-threatening villains is one that comics have been doing for decades, but Kings Watch really does capture the cinematic feel of a big summer blockbuster. It's a reintroduction of classic characters that have been updated for a modern audience, and it sets them up in a way that allows them to spin off into their own stories while still telling a complete action epic on its own. And it's especially rewarding since that action epic centers on an invasion from Ming the Merciless that involves everything from a global blackout to beast-men attacking the streets of London.
The invasion itself is one of the cleverest parts of the book, built in a way that presents Ming and the army of Mongo as a threat that's been in the works for centuries, while also allowing Parker and Laming to tie in three distinct genres --- Flash Gordon's sci-fi, Mandrake's magic, and the gun-slinging pulp action of The Phantom --- into one unified story. And if you like what you read here, the stuff that it sets up is pretty great, too.
As you might expect, the story continues in Parker and Evan Shaner's Flash Gordon, but it also paves the way for Dynamite's current "King" line of books, including a take on The Phantom that's directly informed by the events of this story. And as an added bonus, the digital versions collected here include Parker's script and Laming's unfinished pages, so you can see how all that action-adventure sausage is made. It's good stuff, and definitely worth picking up at half off.
The Dynamite Greatest Hits sale runs until Friday July 31.