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Chapter 304: The Destroying Ray

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Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe

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Chapter 303: Walking Bombs Chapter 305: The Palace of Horror


Insisting that he has no choice but to kill Flash Gordon, Captain Torch activates the detonation control. The robot Flash is grappling with explodes, and the force of the blast throws Flash back into a small crater where he lies unconscious.

Assuming Flash is dead, Torch has another of the robots collect the unconscious Dale, as he remembers her previous escape from Ming and figures that Ming will value her as a prisoner as much as Flash or Zarkov.

Seeing Dale's plight, Zarkov rushes to her aid but this only results in him also being taken captive by Torch's Annihilatons. Once both Dale and Zarkov are on his rocket ship, Torch tells them that Flash Gordon is dead and that they are being taken to the Emperor Ming.

Flash eventually comes to and, still a little dazed, is joined by Roka and Turan. They find a groggy Ronal who tells them that the robots took Dale and must have got Zarkov also. They see the Ming ship taking off. Ronal insists they must quickly give chase to try and free Dale and Zarkov, but Flash regretfully says that they cannot, as there are more important matters to attend to. His priority right now has to be to get the Polarite to Earth as quickly as possible in order to save millions perishing from the Purple Death.

On Earth, Professor Gordon announces in one of his news bulletins that there has been an abatement in the number of casualties from the Purple Death, likely due to the activities of his son Flash Gordon and Doctor Zarkov on the planet Mongo. Behind the scenes, the scientists debate the wisdom of telling the public this when there is no proof that Zarkov and Flash have had anything to do with the drop-off in casualties. Then they get a radio message from Flash who is flying to Earth in a rocket ship to drop the Polarite, enough to counteract all of Ming's Death Dust, on Mount McKinlay. Professor Gordon assures Flash he will get a hero's welcome but Flash explains that he is not coming home yet. He has to go back to Mongo to rescue Dr Zarkov and Dale who are prisoners of Ming. Flash does not realize that Dale's father, Professor Arden, is there listening to the news. Arden is distraught to hear what has happened to his daughter.

On Mongo, Dale and Zarkov are taken before Ming. Ming wants Zarkov to reveal the formula that enabled him to survive in Frigia's harsh temperatures. Zarkov refuses but Ming says there is an easier way to find out and sends Captain Torch to retrieve Zarkov's rocket ship which was left behind in Frigia, as it will have all the relevant apparatus aboard. Ming tells Zarkov to consider whether he will agree to work for him in servitude or face death by whatever means Ming can devise. As for Dale, Ming says that with her sweetheart Flash Gordon now dead it is only fair that he take Flash's place, and orders the girl to be taken away and dressed in garments befitting of an Emperor's wife.

Torch's rocket ship arrives in Frigia, but he is surprised to find that Zarkov's ship, the one which he had come to retrieve, is airborne. Some of the mining party must have survived.

Aboard Zarkov's ship, of course, are Flash and Roka. Flash wants the Ming ship so he and Roka pretend that their ship is damaged by turning on the smokescreen and landing. The deception ruse works. Torch and Lieutenant Thong land and come aboard, right into their trap. While Flash keeps the pair held at gunpoint, Roka disarms them and ties them up. They then fly the Ming ship into the grounds of Ming's palace, forcing Torch to give them clearance over the radio for landing. Disguising themselves as palace guards, Flash and Roka set off in search of Dale and Zarkov. However, the captive Torch and Thong are soon discovered tied up in the ship and released by other guards.

Meanwhile, Dale has been taken the Ming's arena to witness the imminent execution of Zarkov who has refused to serve Ming. Manacled into a fixed position between 2 pillars, time is running out for the scientist to reconsider his position as the clock is nearly pointing to 11. When it strikes the hour a destroying ray will be automatically activated. Zarkov, however, remains resolute.

Nearby the disguised Flash and Roka overhear two palace guards saying they are on their way to watch Zarkov's execution. Flash and Roka jump them, then Flash runs up the stairs to try and save Dr Zarkov in time.

The clock reaches 11 and the destroying ray begins to creep towards the helpless Doctor Zarkov. Suddenly Flash jumps down into the arena from a window and sets about trying to free his friend. Ming's men raise their guns but the Emperor instructs them not to shoot, noticing that the deadly ray is now almost upon Zarkov and that it will strike Flash also. Dale pleads with the joyous tyrant as the devastating beam cuts into the two Earthmen in the arena below.

Recap card

FLASH and Roka capture a Ming ship and force its crew to fly them to Ming's palace, hoping to rescue Dale and Zarkov.

DISGUISED as Ming guards, they make their way to the palace corridors.

Overhearing a guard saying Zarkov is about to meet death in the arena, Flash races up the stairs leading to the arena, and through a window sees Zarkov standing manacled between two stone pillars. As Ming's voice sentences Zarkov and the "Death Ray" starts towards the helpless victim, Flash leaps through the window and........


  • Titled the "The Destroying Ray".
  • The recap at the start of the start of this chapter does not accurately describe the events of the preceding chapter. It states that Ming intercepted a radio message from Flash to his father. Although Flash did broadcast such a message, the actual message Ming intercepted was from Dr Zarkov to (presumably) Arboria.
  • After taking the Polarite to Earth, why does Flash fly back to Frigia when his reason for returning to Mongo was to rescue Dale and Zarkov from Ming?
  • 2 palace guards walk the length of a corridor in silence, stop right by where Flash and Roka are hiding to say that Zarkov is about to be executed in the arena, and then move on in silence. This seems a rather convenient way for Flash and Roka to learn essential information. Flash and Roka then attack the guards when they surely don't need to, given that they are in disguise and have already been walking about the palace undetected. And as Roka has a gun, why not simply try and make the guards surrender, rather than engage them in hand-to-hand combat?
  • Flash was believed killed by the exploding robot, and Captain Torch rightly expresses surprise to discover that Flash is still alive when he next sees him. However, Ming, Zarkov, and Dale also believe Flash to be dead, yet there is little reaction from them when he suddenly shows up in the arena later.
  • When the Destroying Ray strikes him, surely Flash can simply duck out of the path of the beam? If his aim is to shield Zarkov from it, then he isn't doing a very good job.


  • "Come back! You'll be blown to atoms!"
  • "Save yourself Flash! You'll be burnt to a cinder!"
  • "He has chosen his own death!"


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