When a ravaging plague strikes the Earth, it threatens no less than global extinction. This alien disease, called the "Purple Death" by Earth's scientists, is believed to be the evil spawn of Ming, the Emperor of Planet Mongo, and the most merciless interplanetary villain that ever struck fear into the heart of man. The world's only hope seems to rest with Flash Gordon, the planet-hopping hero, who blasts off in his rocket ship to search and destroy the source of the death dust rays.
A strange purple dust is killing off the population of Earth, leaving a telltale purple smudge on the foreheads of its victims! Together, Flash Gordon, Dale Arden, and Dr. Zarkov trace the plague to the planet Mongo and archfiend Ming the Merciless! There's hope for the Earth, though, when the intrepid team discovers Polarite, the antidote to the pandemic, found only in the barren, cold reaches of Frigia. This collection of Flash Gordon serials finds Buster Crabbe teamed up with a different Dale Arden, but facing the usual array of strange creatures and spellbinding thrills. It's worth noting that Mongo looks a lot like Sherwood Forest, with its natives toting bows and arrows and wearing Robin Hood outfits. These installments of the series are unusually inventive, such as the scenes when Flash and company travel to the frozen wastelands of Frigia. The encounters with the Rock People and the "walking bombs" are also rather bizarre, even by today's standards. There's even a topical note to the story line, with a madman bent on genocide; the real-life people of Earth would face just such a threat a few short years later. It's the slam-bang pace and two-fisted action of Flash Gordon's adventures that kept audiences spellbound in the '30s, though, and Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe certainly gave them their money's worth. --Jerry Renshaw
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