One of the things I like most about it is how closely it sticks—both in story and in visuals—to Alex Raymond’s brilliant full page Sunday comic strip. The serial begins with Earth threatened by the approach of the rogue planet Mongo. Flash Gordon and professional Damsel-in-Distress Dale Arden meet when they are forced to bail out of a plane damaged in a meteor storm. This brings them into contact with Doctor Zarkov, who takes them along in his newly invented rocket ship to Mongo.
Aura is a great character. She’s in love with Flash, but is (at least at first) just as ruthless as her dad. If winning Flash means disposing of Dale Arden or committing other acts of violence (including at one point a rather casual attempt to commit genocide against Mongo’s city of Shark Men), then by golly she’ll do it.
But at the same time, Aura shows some positive traits and, by the end of the serial, has morphed into one of the good guys. The Flash Gordon Serials correctly points out that this sort of character development was rare in the serials and it’s one of Flash Gordon’s strongest points.