Flash Gordon (The Original Superheroes) by NECA

Growing up, Flash Gordon was a big deal to me. No, not the original serial! I’m old, but not that old. No, I’m partly talking about the 1980 Dino De Laurentiis movie masterpiece, but also the Filmation cartoon. The cartoon was absolutely amazing to me, and I loved how it was separated into Chapters, giving it a serialized flavor like the original. It didn’t hurt that it hit at the peak of Star Wars Mania, giving me a regular dose of fantasy space opera. The cartoon still holds up, and laid a lot of the foundation for Filmation’s subsequent He-Man and the Masters of the Universe cartoon, and I think it’s worth checking out. Of course, all this is pertinent because NECA acquired some rights to the classic King Comics characters, and Flash happens to be one of them.

I’m pretty sure NECA started with figures from the Flash Gordon and the Defenders of the Earth cartoon, and I’ll get to those eventually, but I thought I’d start with what they’re calling The Original Superheroes. There are three numbered figures in this assortment: Flash, Ming the Merciless, and The Phantom. The figures come in attractive and collector friendly window boxes, which have some printed distress to reflect the age of the characters, and a slightly exaggerated half-tone printing to evoke the flavor of the old comic strip. To be clear, this Flash Gordon is not based on the Filmation cartoon, but the look is close enough to work for me.

Flash has had a number of difference comic costumes throughout the decades, but this one ranks in as among my favorites. It’s simple, but colorful, and pretty much the perfect look for a swashbuckling space hero. The bright red shirt is painted onto the figure buck, but features the row of sculpted gold discs around the wide collar. The dark blue trousers have gold stripes on the sides, and feature some nice highlights to give it that comic art flavor. And the costume is rounded out with a belt cinched over a padded yellow wrap. The belt has a permanent holster for Flash’s pistol, and a peg hole to attach the scabbard for his sword. Delete all but three of the collar discs, and the weapons, and you have a fine stand in for Filmation Flash.

You get two head sculpts, the first features the blue form fitting headgear, which frames his face, but allows his coif to fly free up top. This look is tied mostly to the comics, as I don’t recall him wearing it in the Filmation series. I like it enough to be torn on whether or not to use it as my default head for display.

The decision becomes more difficult considering how strong the portrait sans headgear is! This one is a direct hit on so many levels. The facial sculpt, dominant jawline, the paint details, the shadowing on the cheeks, and most of all the hair. It’s all superb, and normally I would be 100% for using this as my default display noggin, but I’m still probably going to go with the blue headgear, only for the sake of variety, as I can enjoy this portrait on my Defenders of the Earth Flash.

The package boasts 33 points of articulation, and this figure does indeed have some excellent poseability. It’s all very standard stuff, but most of the points feature an impressive range of motion. The arms ahve rotating hinges in the shoulders, swivels in the biceps, double-hinged elbows, and hinged pegs for the wrists. The legs have rotating hinges in the hips, double-hinged knees, and both hinges and lateral rockers in the ankles. There’s a swivel in the waist, an ab-crunch hinge in the torso, and double ball joint in the neck. Oh yeah, he even has hinges in the feet! Flash comes with two sets of hands, consisting of one pair of fists, a right gun hand, and a left sword hand.

The sword is a real beauty, and it comes with a plastic scabbard, which offers a good fit for the blade. The sword has a straight silver blade with a gold and aqua blue hilt, and painted red jewels in the crossguard. The scabbard is painted in a brilliant blue with a gold throat and tip. The scabbard pegs onto the belt quite firmly, allowing it to swivel to accommodate different poses, and it stays put without popping off. There’s just something I love about space heroes wielding conventional swords, and I wish we’d see more of it. It makes a lot more sense to me to repel boarders in space with trusty old steel, than to be firing weapons that could damage ship consoles, or rupture the hull.

Flash’s pistol is also a little work of art. It’s not quite retro-chic, but it does have a nice shape and design, and it’s packed with a load of detail. The deco is similar to Flash’s trousers, with a dark blue/black finish and some lighter blue highlights.

You also get two effect parts for the pistol, one is a simple muzzle blast, while the other is a full on beam and a contact explosion at the end. Both are cast in translucent yellow plastic, and fit over the end of the gun. These are both great, but the full beam is just absolutely awesome. Indeed, this is probably one of my favorite effect parts in recent memory.

NECA really knew their audience when it comes to this figure and me, and if I were making a list of favorites for 2022, this figure would be high on that list right now. I was more excited to get this one in hand than almost anything else I can think of in recent memory. We’ve had some decent figures release now and then from the 1980 Film, but not a lot when it comes to the classic comic character or his early cartoon exploits. The figure is versatile enough for me to stand in as the Filmation Flash, but I think he works best leaping from the pages of the timeless funnybook. On that note, NECA did give us an SDCC variant of this figure on a Filmation style card, but I’m getting ahead of myself there. Next week, I’ll revisit this series with a look at Ming the Merciless!

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