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Gorilla Grodd makes his powerful return to DC Comics. Though he’s made some minor appearances already, in this issue, he is front and center. And brutal. Like many comic characters, Grodd has been played differently over the years. Being a talking gorilla, he’s been incredibly silly to absolutely terrifying. Here, Manapul and Buccellato give Grodd the savage persona. Not surprisingly, it works.
Grodd has been rebooted from the ground up. In fact, this is the first time Flash meets the him and his Gorilla City. Continuing to develop their concept of the Speed Force, M&B redefine Grodd’s relationship to the Flash. Instead of making them simply cross paths and become enemies, a more personal connection is given: the speed force gave the primates their intelligence. In essence, Grodd and Flash both draw from it. I like this.
M&B also expand on the mythology of the Speed Force. It was largely a review of what was explained last issue, but much more straight-forward. The fact that M&B are hammering this in leaves me to believe they have big plans for the speed force and Barry being the one who expels its energy by running.
There were two things that didn’t quite work for me in this issue. The first is Barry losing his memory. It felt like a forced plot device so Barry (and subsequently, the reader) could be told everything. It didn’t feel needed. Maybe memory loss is an aftereffect of leaving the Speed Force. I suppose we’ll find out for sure in the coming issues as Turbine also escaped and Iris is still there (I’m under the presumption she’ll be rescued eventually).
The other thing is that after Barry returns to Central City, the first thing he does (after being gone for months) is buy a hot dog. He doesn’t return home. He doesn’t contact anyone. He buys a hot dog. Where did he get the money for it? Or the change of clothes? Did he return to his apartment? Would he even still have an apartment since he was presumed dead? I realize this is nitpicky (and it is a comic book), but it didn’t quite ring true.
Beyond that, we get our subplots with Iris, Signh, and Patty. We get some set-up for the next issue’s villain (which actually started in issue 6). And we get a crazy cliffhanger which seems improbable. Then again, good cliffhangers are supposed to be.
Overall, a solid issue. I like the new(ish) take on Grodd. This issue was amazingly (and appropriately) violent, but wasn’t very graphic. Personally, I’m all for this. I don’t mind gore, but too often it gets overplayed in comics. Anyway: Flash vs. Grodd – this issue delivered!
Next: “Weather Wizard!”
Note: This gets me all caught up with The Flash. I’m still planning to review all future issues as long as I’m collecting them, but “Speed Reading!” may step away from being a weekly feature. However, I may open it up to discussing other stories and/or comic book topics. Whatever the case may be, it’ll be anchored by The Flash.