REVIEW: THE FLASH #13

(w) Francis Manapul and Buccellato
(a) Francis Manapul

I never thought I could be so terrified of Gorilla Grodd.

That sentence pretty much sums up my experience reading The Flash #13, the issue that begins “Gorilla Warfare” which pits Flash and the Central City’s Rogues against Grodd and his invasion force of super-intelligent apes. Grodd, as a character, is an instance where non-comic book fans would have a difficult time understanding how a smart gorilla is in any way a dangerous threat to Flash. Of course, those who read know that Grodd is one of Barry Allen’s most deadly enemies. In recent years (and before the ‘New 52’ relaunch) Grodd had become increasingly less viable as a villain, trading in his viciousness for higher intelligence and more scheme-centric plans. His animated self as seen in Justice League and Justice League Unlimited was also tempered for younger audiences as well as for the general feel of the shows. Fortunately, Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato do Grodd a service in The Flash #13 by revitalizing the character and making his an ominous presence once again.

Grodd himself doesn’t say a lot this month, but he doesn’t have to – the slew of soliders rocketing to Earth in capsules says enough for him. The Rogues are still on-scene, trying to make their getaway to no avail because the apes attack. One of the best parts of The Flash thus far is how he villains of the story are written just as well as Barry. These aren’t just enemies that show up for a few issues then disappear – these are Flash’s Rogues! Each Rogue answers to his or her own moral code, and it starts showing once Flash becomes overwhelmed by the gorillas.

But how is Flash having difficulty fighting giant, slow gorillas, you ask? Well, Grodd truly believes it was he who was destined to be the scion of the Speed Force, not Barry. Based on this notion, Grodd is constantly attempting to access the Speed Force, and it seems as though he was able to use it as part of the invasion of Central City. Thus, Grodd’s gorilla soliders have been affected by the Speed Force, allowing them to more easily combat Flash’s supersonic speed. It’s a bit flimsy, but I’m willing to let this pass because of how well Manapul and Buccellato frame the main story.

Grodd is insane, through and through. Trickster approaches the looming ape king and offers his services as a credible citizen of Central City, as well as a villain who knows how to find Flash. In the most graphic sequence of the issue, Grodd literally tears the Trickster’s arm off before claiming that he needs no man’s help in his conquest. It’s a powerful scene and one that shows just how much for violent and ruthless Grodd is under Manapul and Buccellato’s direction.

GRADE
9/10
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