Thursday, February 9, 2012

Blogging Alex Raymond’s Flash Gordon, Part Twenty – “Battle for Tropica”

“Battle for Tropica” was the twentieth installment of Alex Raymond’s Flash Gordon Sunday comic strip serial for King Features Syndicate. Originally published between July 18, 1943 and February 6, 1944, “Battle for Tropica” marks the final installment to be completely illustrated by the character’s creator, Alex Raymond. The storyline picks up where the preceding installment, “Fiery Desert of Mongo” left off with the roguish desert chieftain Gundar pledging to aid Flash in restoring Desira to the throne of Tropica. Desira is reluctant to trust the outlaw chief, but Gundar makes it known that he has aspirations of becoming the Queen’s royal consort for his troubles. Meantime, Gundar’s discarded queen, Pequit vows to make sure that Gundar never reach the throne of Tropica.

The group makes a daring nighttime raid on the city of Placida. Zarkov seizes the communications center while Gundar takes the sentries by surprise and informs them that their lives will be spared if they recognize Desira as their Queen. The Mayor of Placida kneels before the Queen and Flash is elated that the first city has fallen without a drop of blood being spilled. The important point, that Don Moore’s script never makes clear, is that the people of Tropica are beginning to learn that the Queen is not an imposter and Brazor is a traitorous usurper. Sentries later inform Flash that Brazor’s aide, Colonel Mogard is leading a fleet of tanks to Placida. Flash has Gundar’s men abandon the city to draw them away, but Mogard gives the order to raze the city to send a message to all who would remain loyal to the deposed Queen.


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