Monday, October 22, 2012

Blogging Austin Briggs’ Flash Gordon – “Disaster in Space” / “Shipwrecked”

“Disaster in Space” was the fourth installment of Austin Briggs’ daily Flash Gordon comic strip serial for King Features Syndicate. Originally published between December 15, 1941 and January 17, 1942, “Disaster in Space” follows on directly from “War on Earth” and is a very brief storyline depicting the danger-fraught attempt by Flash, Dale, and Zarkov to return to Mongo to acquire more weapons to combat the Red Sword which has plunged Earth into a Second World War. Several rockets fail on re-entry into Mongo’s atmosphere trapping their ship in perpetual orbit around the planet. Flash bravely ventures outside the ship to attempt to repair the damaged rockets only to discover that no power remains. Despite the glaring omission that this should have been detected by the monitors on the console, there is more real science at work in this strip than has been demonstrated in the series up to this point. The use of the airlock and Flash’s dangerous repair work in space are particularly well done. Dale suggests sending an S.O.S. to Mongo with what power remains as it is only a matter of time before their oxygen is depleted. The message is received by their old ally Prince Barin, now President of Mongo. His chief scientist, Dr. Zolov uses a magnetic ray to pull the rocketship out of orbit but loses control and sends the ship plummeting towards Mongo. Major Rodan pilots a Mongo warship on a seeming suicide mission to intercept the out of control rocketship and alter its trajectory. He succeeds, but at the risk of his own safety as both ships plunge into the sea. TO CONTINUE READING THIS ARTICLE, PLEASE VISIT THE BLACK GATE ON FRIDAY.

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