Wednesday, May 22, 2013
The Flash #13
"Gorilla Warfare Part 1: King Grodd"
Script by Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato
Art by Francis Manapul
Colors by Brian Buccellato with Ian Herring
Letters Wes Abbott
Associate Editor Chris Conroy
Editor Matt Idelson
This Manapul-Buccellato cover would make an excellent poster. All the characters look great and there isn't anything hear that contradicts the inside story. And as usual, it looks wonderful in both color and black-and-white. Solid job.
Our story begins ten years ago in the suburbs of Central City. High schooler Barry Allen is having trouble with his algebra homework and throws his textbook on the ground. His legal guardian, Darryl Frye, comes in to give him some studying advice, but Barry is more concerned with the injuries on Darryl's face. Darryl explains that his home extends beyond the four walls of his house and encompasses all of Central City, which he has sworn to protect. Teenage Barry says, "Well ... sign me up for a desk job! You won't see me on street, knocking heads with criminals!"
Back to today, just two minutes ago downtown, Darryl is reviewing Barry's blood analysis and holding a picture of Nora Allen. Darryl apologizes to her for not protecting her son. Patty Spivot then bursts into the room with Turbine and says he has information on Barry. Darryl begins to question Turbine, and he tells Darryl, "I know who you really are." The gorilla pods then start falling on the city and one of them crashes into Darryl's office window.
Now. King Grodd is declaring war on the Flash and his city and the Rogues are criticizing Captain Cold for knocking out the Flash.
Weather Wizard revives Flash with a bit of rain and the Rogues catch him up on the situation. The gorillas then attack, but only go after Flash, so the Rogues try to make their getaway. But they're flanked by more gorillas who prevent their escape. So, reluctantly, the Rogues team up with Flash to battle the gorilla invasion. Flash is surprised to see how fast the gorillas are and that they can even anticipate his moves. He's then pinned a couple of them, but Glider pulls them off. She and Flash formally agree to call a "time out" on their fight and to resume it once the gorillas are dealt with.
A few block away, King Grodd has set up a makeshift throne for himself with an elder gorilla at his side in chains. Grodd withholds himself from the battle, but orders his soldiers to bring the Flash to him while he attends to something powerful in the city. Grodd is then approached by the Trickster, who volunteers his services as the gorilla's personal liaison. Grodd is not impressed and rips Trickster's arm off. He then orders his general to round up the humans to be used by the elder.
We then see Daniel West, who was granted early parole after five years in prison. He tries to call his sister, Iris, but only gets her voice mail, not knowing she is still trapped in the Speed Force. A gorilla then starts chasing Daniel and he decides to go look for Iris.
Back to the fight, Flash begins to wonder where Grodd is and what his end game could be. He and the Rogues quickly figure out how to coordinate their attacks and are able to tie up a bunch of gorillas. Glider is so impressed, she even offers Flash a spot on the Rogues, but he turns her down. In the brief break in the action, he explains to the Rogues that Grodd is after his power, but before they can form a plan, another wave of gorilla pods lands on the city. Flash leaves these gorillas to the Rogues and takes off to find Grodd.
As he races toward the greatest threat he's ever faced, he reflects on his role in the world. He runs because time and space need him to expend Speed Force energy. He works with the Justice League because sometimes there are threats to the world that are that dangerous. He protects the Gem Cities because they are his home. He knows his part, but Grodd had spent his whole life under a false assumption that the Speed Force is his birthright.
Flash feels Grodd's power pulling on him, which he follows to Dr. Elias' lab, where he finds Grodd has devoured one of the battery cells filled with expended Speed Force energy.
The story. I love the nonstop action of The Flash. Everything keeps building up faster and faster, and it's amazing. Ironically, I found a gorilla invasion much more intriguing than a parademon invasion. Maybe that's because the parademons were expected, but the gorillas genuinely surprised me. I also thought the Rogues' reactions were appropriate. Step one, wake up Flash. Step two, run away. And then, only if you absolutely have to, team up with Flash, but make sure to remind him you're still enemies. I also loved how a small detail from almost ten issues ago — the Speed Force batteries — has now become a key plot device. And how awesome/scary is Gorilla Grodd with super-speed? I think it's very awesome/scary.
The art. I love it when Manapul hides the words "DC Comics proudly presents The Flash." It's like a mini-game within the issue. And, of course, all the rest of the art in this issue was at the incredible level we've come to expect. I mean, how could you mess up a gorilla army vs. Flash and the Rogues? (Well, I guess you could easily mess it up, but that would be criminal.)
Darryl Frye. I loved the quick flashback with him and a teenaged Barry. I wouldn't mind a few more of those. But more importantly, I was happy to see more hints and clues that Darryl is Barry's biological father. When Turbine said, "I know who you really are," I don't think he merely meant he knew Darryl took in Barry. Of course, we still don't have any definitive evidence, but until we know for sure otherwise, I will go on believing Darryl is Barry's real dad.
Poor Trickster. Grodd ripping off Trickster's arm was one of the most unexpected and amazing moments of this run. Yes, it was a little shocking and gruesome, but this series generally avoids gratuitous violence and is allowed to have an occasional moment like this. And boy, was it something! Poor Trickster can never catch a break. But I guess he should learn that when you offer a gorilla a hand, he might take you literally!
I did notice one small typo: Grodd mentioned gathering humans for the elders, when we only saw one elder and in subsequent issues we will only see one elder. It's a slight mistake and it doesn't ruin this issue in any way, shape or form.
Final score: 9 out of 10
Next: Last ape standing!