For the 100th Anniversary of the King Features Syndicate, best known for publishing several iconic comic strips - including Mandrake the Magician, the Phantom and Flash Gordon - Dynamite Entertainment has come out with five interlocking mini-series featuring characters made popular by King. The aforementioned three, plus Jungle Jim and Prince Valiant, each start out in their own corners of the King universe, but will eventually cross over as the storyline culminates into... well, we'll see. After all, these are not characters who even live in the same century, so how can they meet?! Much as was done for Flash Gordon in Dynamite's superlative ongoing by Paul Tobin, each hero has been refreshed and updated, some more than others. But let's look at each #1 issue to see which are most worth your time...
Recommended? If you're a fan of the ongoing, this is cut from the same cloth. If not, you won't be too lost. Just a lot of fun.
Recommended? Any Phantom fans out there? I don't think you'll be disappointed. A strong action thriller that, like Flash Gordon above, has great pacing and moments of comedy.
Recommended? Not sure who this new Jungle Jim really is yet, but we're presented with an interesting cast whose stories you'll probably want to see resolved.
Recommended? I'm not sure about the crazy cartoon art when the other books are all a little more naturalistic, but the contrast isn't unwelcome either. Ultimately fun and charming, like it's title hero.
Recommended? It can only pick up from here, but this is the title I'd trade-wait under normal circumstances. Plenty happens - it's not so relaxed as to try one's patience - but still too quick a read.
While I'd like all the titles to be equally great, these are all characters I want to read about and who have been in regular stapled comics surprisingly little. Hopefully, this story will lead to more projects with them in the future and Flash Gordon won't be the only one with his own series. Gorgeous, classy Darwyn Cooke covers should help sell all five (how it's the Rob Liefeld alternate covers are any kind of incentive is beyond me, but whatever turns your crank; these also exist), and hopefully bring some attention to these long neglected properties. They're all off to good-to-great starts with this King event.