Traven J. Terzich | usa | 09/16/2009
(3 out of 5 stars)
"It seems tradinonal for most comic companys to have their heros forme a group. DC has JLA, as well as JSA, Teen Titans, etc. Marvel has the Avengers and so on. Thus it only seems natural for King Features to have their comic book heros team up. Fan boys like to see their heros in the same world team up and fight evil, they also like to see heros fight eachother to see whos better. Its a natural thing in the comic book world. thus its no surpise for these heros to join up to forme a team. I dont understand why so many complain about that aspect of this cartoon.
First off this was a great cartoon. Allthough admitdly of the main chartures, Flash Gordon is more well known. (Intrestingly this series was my first introduction to The Phantom). Secondly this series last for at least 65 episodes, long enough to maintain interest in the charture. In regards of Flash Gordon this series is my third favorit incarnation of the chartur. The first is the 80s movie, and the second the filmation series.
Now for a bit of background. Flash Gordon was a top althlet who was rocketed to Mongo to fight the evil tyrant Ming the Merciless. The Phantom is a hero who lives in the jungels and fights crime. (Hes like a cross between Tarzan and Zorro, but has his own special storyline). Mandrake the Magican is an illusionist who poses as a stage magigian and fights crime. His companion is Lothar (a rather uninteresting charture in the comics). what I liked with this series is that Lothar is upgraded to hero states. sure ok hes the token black guy, but he is such a great charture. its good to have him in this series. these three main chartures have previously had their own seprat comic strip adventures. for this cartoon all three join up to fight evil. Each brings something to the team, as the credits proclaim. Flash the pilot, Mandrak with his illusions, Phantom with his cunning, and Lothar brings strength. added to this are the young companions. first there is Flash's son, Rick. there is Lothar's son LJ (Lothar JR). The Phantom's daughter, Jeda, who can camunicat with the animals. finaly there is Mandrake's ward, Kashin. together they forme the Defenders fighting none other then Ming himself. (Ming seems the only big enough villain the heros could face, as Gordon has the only worth while reacuring villain on his roster.).
Flash has lost his wife to Ming's crulety (one of the few times a death is depicted in comics). she is never named on screan. allthough it would be hard to imagine Gordon marrying anyone other then Dale Arden. (I think in the four comic book series based on this cartoon she is even given that name.) However her memory lives on in the computer Dynac. Dynac is an artifial intelligence that at Ming's side are his computor Octon, his Ice warriors, and his treacherous son Kro-Tan. Ming also has a duaghter, but she is NOT named Aura. there are other villains as well. Interestingly there is the Phantoms evil brother, Kurt Walker, who becomes the Weather Demon. the Sky Band, old foes of the Phantom, the episode even retells the orginal storyline of that comic allthough breifly. the Defenders face many challenges along the way.
the setting is in the future, here Mongo is a desolat planet which Ming has used up its resourses, and he wants to claim the earth. the Defenders attempt to stop his plans. there are some interesting episodes, such as when Jedda thinks her father is dead and she must take on his mantel. Krotan would later betray his father and attempt to take over Mongo, only to face a bigger threat. there is even an episode featuring someone I call the the 10th Defender, Prince Valiant of the Hal Foster comics. Valiant's son even makes an apperance. (allthough Valiant would get his own cartoon series much later on). its still nice to see him make an apperance here.through out this series there are many surpises and interesting episodes. some so so storys, but some good episodes.
(I wonder if the story Root of Evil was an early pilot since the art is so different.)
Again this is a rather good series I felt.
a unique cartoon series. well worth watching.