This is one of those graphic novels that I read because I wasn’t in the mood for ultra-realistic, deeply complex or serious. Nope, I wanted something mindless to pass the time, introduce me to some new characters and have a little bit of harmless fun with. The graphic novel equivalent of a B movie, I guess, and with King’s Watch I got exactly what I was looking for.
Does that mean this was a star studded comic that dazzled me with its artwork or its stellar story?
Naw. Like the three stars shows, it was just an okay graphic novel, not anything more than that.
The main reason it is even a 3 star is due to the art. Honestly, Mark Laming impressed me. He showed a diverse range of abilities from penning some fairly ferocious monster men and magical spells to big battle scenes and normal day-to-day activities. Whether the characters were in the jungles of Africa or the urban jungles of America/Europe or space, I never felt anything looked out of place. Hell, he even did a good job of making the Phantom not look too corny, and that, my reader, is a damn hard task to accomplish. So anyway, the artwork was top notch in my opinion.
The problem with the graphic novel was simply the characters. Honestly, how was Jeff Parker going to come up with a dazzling story teaming up Flash Gordon, the Phantom, and Mandrake the Magician? Not to even mention who the main super villain turns out to be.
It might be possible, I guess, but it has got to be highly unlikely. I mean, let us look at our tremendous trio.
Tops on our list is Flash Gordon: a rich guy who is a great athlete and a brave dude but has absolutely zero super powers. How is he even involved in a group of supers trying to save the world? He wouldn’t be, but here he is at ground zero, trying to turn back an alien invasion on a global scale.
Then there is the Phantom. This is the Purple Shadow we are talking about here. You know, the guy who runs around in his striped underpants in the African jungle, lives in the Skull Cave, fights crime with his two pistols and rides into action on his white horse. Yet somehow, he gets pulled into a group of heroes fighting an interstellar invader. It seemed somewhat implausible, but whatever.
And finally, there is Mandrake, who was the only one of the group that really made sense being in this position. I mean, the Magician is a master of illusions, has been fighting against an international crime organization for years, and would probably try to stop his nemesis from unleashing a global invasion. Unfortunately, for everyone, the Mandrake is a horribly boring dude.
When you put these guys together, I honestly think Jeff Parker was given the most atrocious super team since the Legion of Super Pets, but even with such a tough draw, he gave it a decent go, crafting a story that – while not terribly realistic – made it, at least, sound plausible that these three would get together. He even kept the unrealistic concoction fun until the last few chapters when it sunk into the realm of nonsense, making even me begin to shake my head at the absolute ridiculousness of it all.
So anyway, to summarize, King’s Watch is like a decent B movie; it has some really pretty pictures, some bad characters, and an okay story, . Maybe, it isn't great, but it is still very suitable to waste an hour or two following along with. I don’t regret reading it, and honestly, if the book did nothing else, it helped me not hate the Phantom as much as I did before. Don’t get me wrong, he still sucks, just not so bad now.
I received this book from Netgalley and Dynamite Entertainment in exchange for a fair and honest review. I’d like to thank both of them for allowing me to receive this review copy and inform everyone that the review you have read is my opinion alone.