Greetings from the Odinson,
In the mid-80s there was a brilliantly conceived cartoon called Defenders of the Earth. In this animated series, the world’s greatest heroes and their children must unite to defend planet Earth from a threat none of them could handle alone. Sound familiar? In this instance the team of heroes is comprised of Flash Gordon, the greatest science fiction hero of all time; the Phantom, the Ghost Who Walks and legendary pulp hero; Mandrake the Magician and his assistant, the mighty Lothar. The threat is none other than Ming the Merciless!
In the not too distant future, Dale Arden, Gordon’s wife, has perished. Flash Gordon and his son, Rick, escape from Mongo and return to Earth. Ming the Merciless soon follows and brings his evil armada and his vendetta against the Earthman that destroyed his empire with him. The Defenders, like true heroes, stand stalwart and true and defend planet Earth from every single diabolical plan Ming can come up with. They are helped in no small way by their progeny. Rick Gordon, son of Flash, is a chip off the old block. Rick is smart, brave, and a bourgeoning pilot. L.J. is the son of Lothar and brings to the table considerable martial arts skills. Jedda is the daughter of the Phantom and she possesses limited psionic abilities. And Kshin is the adopted son of Mandrake and the magician’s apprentice. An interesting note is that Stan “The Man” Lee is credited with writing the lyrics to the Defenders of the Earth theme song. What a great cartoon Defenders of the Earth was, yet another example of why the 1980s was, without a doubt, one the greatest decades of imagination ever (more on that at a future date). Defenders had a much too short-lived comic series. But now, hope for the Odinson springs anew.
It seems Dynamite Entertainment is once again gathering these great heroes under one banner. And it seems Alex Ross, a well known uber fan of Flash Gordon, is spearheading the operation. In The Last Phantom, after his family is murdered, a man believed to be dead, takes on the mantle of the Ghost Who Walks and battles modern day pirates and cutthroats in the jungle and around the world. In Flash Gordon: Zeitgeist, Alex Ross re-imagines the classic science fiction adventure, paying homage to the cult movie Flash Gordon from 1980. Two out of three of our heroes are present, now if we can just get Dynamite to resurrect Mandrake the Magician they can get the band back together and Defenders of the Earth can be reborn!
But this time, our team of heroes can be even stronger!
Dynamite Entertainment has done a fabulous job of collecting a bunch of iconic heroes from throughout history under their banner. So now if they ever do decide to reunite the Defenders, Flash Gordon, Phantom, Mandrake and Lothar can be joined by the likes of Steve Austin the Bionic Man, Lord Greystoke a.k.a. Tarzan, John Carter the Warlord of Mars, the Green Hornet and Robocop. Even anti-heroes like Barnabas Collins and Vampirella can join the fun. With an assembly of heroes like this, Ming the Merciless won’t know what hit him. It could be Dynamite’s first companywide crossover event and the tag at the top of each issue could be DEFENDERS OF THE EARTH!
Oh, boy, that would be fantastic! So come on Dynamite, don’t let me down! The time is right. I’ll sit and wait patiently hoping one day to see the return of the Defenders of the Earth.
This is Odinson bidding thee farewell