Thursday, September 8, 2011

Blogging Alex Raymond’s Flash Gordon, Part Eleven – “Outlaws of Mongo”



“Outlaws of Mongo” was the eleventh installment of Alex Raymond’s Flash Gordon Sunday comic strip serial for King Features Syndicate. Originally printed between August 15, 1937 and June 5, 1938, the epic-length “Outlaws of Mongo” picks up the storyline where the tenth installment, “The Beast Men of Mongo” left off with Barin, Flash and Dale returning to Arboria. The traitor, Grombo collapses while crossing the desert, but is saved from carrion birds by Ming’s Desert Legion. Ming rewards Grombo by appointing him a Captain. Ming confronts Barin and demands that he hand Flash and Dale over, Barin refuses. Fearing the situation will quickly escalate to a war that would devastate Arboria, Flash decides to flee to the jungles of Arboria so that Barin can report his escape to Ming. The Emperor, of course, demands Barin hand Dale over and when he refuses, Ming orders Arboria destroyed by his air fleet.

Don Moore and Alex Raymond’s stories were growing more complex and as a consequence, Mongo and its lands and peoples were becoming more detailed. The two also clarify the point that the kingdoms of Mongo are denied the technology that Ming’s forces command to ensure they cannot successfully revolt. Moore’s script also specifies that Barin views Flash as a savior who has come to Mongo to liberate its kingdoms from Barin’s tyrannical father-in-law. Flash stumbles out of the jungles of Arboria into the desert and discovers Ming’s tanks are rolling in. Flash singlehandedly commandeers a tank, overpowering the crew and turns its gun on the rest of the fleet as well as the infantry. Meantime, the air fleet has launched and is en route to bomb Arboria.

Barin orders the evacuation of Arboria. Aura and Dale remain behind helping to evacuate the hospital as Barin has unconscionably made no arrangements to help the infirm. While at the hospital, Dale discovers Zarkov and learns from Aura that his mind is gone and he’s been left in a vegetative state. The air strike demolishes Arboria leaving Dale and Aura trapped with the helpless patients when the hospital collapses. The tank Flash commandeered is also bombed. An unconscious Flash is captured by Ming’s infantry led by Captain Grombo. Barin and his men clear the rubble and find the unconscious bodies of Aura and Dale. Recovering his senses, Flash strikes Grombo who has him dragged through the desert by horse as punishment.

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