|Date||January 7, 1934 - April 15, 1934|
|Creators||Alex Raymond and Don Moore|
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|(first)||The Monsters of Mongo|
A new planet is rushing towards Earth; the collision will destroy us all. Flash Gordon, "Yale graduate and world-renowned polo player", and Dale Arden, "a passenger", are flying aboard a transcontinental plane when a flaming meteor shears off a wing. Flash and Dale bail out in a parachute, Flash holding Dale in his arms as they descend. They land near the observatory of Dr. Hans Zarkov, a brilliant but crazed scientist. He forces them at gunpoint into Zarkov's rocket ship, and they take off towards the new planet.
Zarkov loses his nerve as the rocket ship speeds toward Mongo, and Flash is forced to subdue him. The rocket flies over a strange city, and crash-lands. Dale collapses, and Flash picks her up and carries her away. Zarkov is left behind, presumed dead.
Flash, carrying Dale, is menaced by dragons. Soldiers arrive in a rocket ship armada and kill the monsters, but Flash's gratitude turns to horror when the soldiers bring Flash and Dale to Ming the Merciless. The wizened dictator takes a liking to Dale, and decides to take her as his bride. When Flash objects, Ming orders him thrown into the arena, to fight the four red Monkey Men.
Flash defeats the four monkey men in unarmed combat, and leaps into a viewing box. Princess Aura, Ming's daughter, throws herself in front of Flash, demanding that they spare his life. Flash disappears down a trap door, and the spirited Aura jumps through after him.
Flash grabs on to a water pipe and stops his fall, then catches Aura. At the bottom of the hole are the hideous Water dragons, but Princess Aura is able to subdue them with the sheer force of her royal personality. She leads him to a secret exit, and brings him in an elevator up to the surface. She locks him in a rocket ship, declaring, "Now! You are mine! Dale Arden shall not have you! I shall hold you here until she becomes my father's bride!" Flash tries to escape from the ship, but then spots a squadron of Space Gyros attacking the city. Worried that Dale will be hurt in the attack, Flash starts up his rocket ship and speeds to the city's defense.
Aura refuses to tell Ming where she's hidden Flash. Furious, Ming sends Aura away with two warrior women, to serve as a soldier for six months. Turning his attention back to Dale, Ming plans to use the Dehumanizer on her, a machine that will take away her human traits. But Ming is distracted by an underling, who sees the attack of the Space Gyros in the Spaceograph. In the sky, Flash battles bravely with the gyroships, but crashes his ship into the ground. Flash is hurled from his ship and another figure emerges from a wrecked gyroship. It's a Lion Man, and he raises his sword to kill Flash.
The Lion Man realizes that Flash is white -- not yellow-skinned, like Ming and his people -- and he decides to revive Flash. When Flash comes to, he explains that he's an enemy of Ming. The Lion Man introduces himself as Prince Thun, and the two become friends. Flash uses Thun's Thought projector to communicate with Dale, who tells him that it's hopeless to enter the city -- the gates are all guarded. Determined, Flash and Thun enter a cave, which leads to the Tunnel of Terror -- a dark passage which leads to Ming's palace. The tunnel is guarded by Tsak, a fearsome two-headed monster.
Flash and Thun finish off Tsak, and then find another room guarded by two sacred droks, giant orange lizards which are used to kill Ming's sacrificial victims.
Flash and Thun again leap to the attack, killing the droks. They also take care of two of Ming's soldiers. Finally, they find the room where the wedding of Ming and Dale is taking place. They hide behind an idol of the Great God Tao and watch the wedding procession.
Flash and Thun leap from behind the idol, knocking down Ming and the High Priest. Dale joins them, and they push the huge idol down onto Ming's soldiers. They escape through a trap door, but then fall into an underground river.
Flash, Dale and Thun are swept away by the underground river. Thun is swept away and washes up on a rock, just as Dale is pulled underwater. Flash dives in to rescue her, and is seized by the Shark Men, green scaly people who live underwater, breathing through air helmets. Flash and Dale are taken in a Hydrocycle to the palace of King Kala, ruler of the Shark Men. Kala says that Ming has demanded that Dale be returned to him. Flash mocks Kala for following Ming, so Kala proves his manhood by agreeing to battle Flash himself in the underwater arena.
In the arena, Flash pulls the air tube from Kala's helmet, defeating him. Flash has won the battle. Kala pretends to be impressed, and tells Flash that he will be freed, but then imprisons Flash in a room that quickly fills with water. Suddenly, a panel opens in the wall, and a yellow arm hands Flash an air helmet, a sword, and a message that tells him how to escape. Flash follows the instructions, and swims to Dale's room, but he finds that her window is torn out, and Dale has vanished from the flooded room.
In a flashback, we learn what happened to Thun when he was washed up on the rock. He overpowered a Shark Man and learned that Flash and Dale were taken to the palace, then stole a hydrocycle and followed. He found Dale's room and smashed the window, taking Dale away in the hydrocycle. He plans to return to the Lion Men, who will bring a fleet of Space Gyros to rescue Flash. However, as they reach the surface, Dale and Thun are captured by Ming's soldiers.
Flash discovers that his rescuer is Princess Aura, who escaped from the warrior women so that she could return and protect Flash. They watch as the city of the Shark Men rises from the sea, ascending to the surface. Ming's soldiers, guarding Dale and Thun, see rocket ships emerging from the city, as the Shark Men search for their missing captives. Flash and Aura make their way to the surface, just in time to see the Shark Men's city destroyed in a dazzling explosion.
King Jugrid of the Lion Men is looking for his missing son. He orders his soldiers to destroy the Shark Men's city with a massive weapon. Flash and Aura see the Lion Men's Space Gyros approaching, hoping to rescue Dale and Thun from Ming's soldiers. Aura sees that the soldiers are armed with magnetic the Melting rays, which could destroy the approaching ships. Flash hopes to warn the Lion Men, but Aura knocks him out with a blow to the head. She wants Dale to return and marry Ming, so that Flash will be hers. Aura gloats as Ming's soldiers destroy the Lion Men's ships, not realizing that a squad of Lion Men is sneaking up from behind.