King/Dynamite Entertainment 2015
Written by Nate Cosby
Illustrated by Ron Salas
Coloured by Luigi Anderson
What a fun issue this was! I love Nate is able to tie this title into the world of Mandrake and Flash Gordon. Prince Valiant has always been known but I’ve never really been that familiar with him so for me this is a clean slate for the character and seeing him as this headstrong young man full of fire and passion yet doesn’t have the knowledge to really know how to get things done yet. So this is his story about beginning his life and becoming the man who will be a legend.
Seeing a young, high school aged, Flash Gordon come to his rescue in the cave where Valiant believes he’s seeing father time was brilliant stuff. Though I have to admit for me personally the sideways pages while nice make it annoying to read especially digitally once you get past that and the real fun begins well it’s always a pleasure to see what Nate’s going to bring to the table next. The time travel aspect of the story opens a lot of doors for possible stories and that it’s Mandrake that sends the young Flash to the rescue, one he’ll never remember doing, and seeing them both in an age of dinosaurs well it’s refreshingly fun.
As so Prince Valiant is sent back to Camelot to see Merlin. Now by all accounts Merlin is Arthur’s trusted advisor and the most powerful wizard to ever walk the Earth but he’s also a bit of an arrogant ass. When you are that powerful you tend to have that air about you that you are beyond reproach and it all goes to your head, even though through stories we’ve seen that he is just as fallible as any man when it comes to matters of the heart.
The dialogue here when Valiant shows up and Merlin goes mad with anger at Mandrakes intrusion into his time, which he’s made clear is off-limits to the likes of him. Hackneyed Charlatan indeed if he really was that would Mandrake be a “threat” to Merlin or as powerful, respected and feared as is? Though both he and Merlin seem to share that same self-inflated egotistical side that at times make them insufferable. Regardless the characterization is fantastic and ever so much fun.
There’s a huge part of me that likes that Mandrake is kind of playing Merlin for a bit of a fool here as well. Not only that though but Mandrake is manipulating Valiant as well using him to distract Merlin for what purpose though is as yet unclear but now it remains to be seen which of them will be more responsible for the man who will become legend. I can see Merlin taking him on now and helping him grow to keep a wary eye on him so that Mandrake cannot get a hold of him again after all this just as easily as I can see Mandrake keeping up with Valiant and inadvertently training him to become that same legend.
That there are seemingly so many possibilities that could unfold here is delightful in that it keeps the reader guessing as to which way the ball will drop. This helps in keeping readers coming back issue after issue to see if they’ve guessed it right as well thoroughly enjoying what’s happening.
Old properties never die they come to Dynamite to be revived and they do it better than anyone!