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Digesting the lowest rung of pop culture so you don't have to!
When we last left The Flash, after the Scarlett Speedster battled the Rogues to a somewhat standstill (Cold sucker-punched him), Gorilla Grodd’s surprise invasion force was crash landed in the heart of Central City Red Dawn style. Now, Flash#13 kicks off the next arc of the series, Gorilla Warfare (punny).
This issue was just pure fun for two very specific reasons. The first is that the action is simply non-stop. Flash and the Rogues (whose storyline has been understandably sidelined for the moment) are zipping around using their powers to stop the gorilla invasion the best way they can. Helping this tremendously is, of course, Francis Manapul’s artwork. He keeps things intense, yet breezy and light. I hate to do this, but given the ground-level, city wide fisticuffs going on, the battle reminded me a lot of this past summer’s The Avengers. I would not be surprised if some inspiration came from the superhero flick.
The other element that works is the snappy dialogue. Action is boring without something else going on. Manapul and Buccellato write some great interplay between the Flash and the Rogues. Quite frankly, it shows how well they work together as a team. I cannot help but wonder if things were different, they would all be the best of friends.
That is the one thing I like about Flash and his main opponents. Because the Rogues are generally average Joes who just happen to be on the wrong side of the law. They do not set themselves up as criminal masterminds, and they are not “pure evil” as used in comics. They rarely intentionally reach beyond their means and see Flash as an obstacle than as someone they must take down. Personally, I have a theory that Flash and the Rogues like the game they play and genuinely like each other (though none of them would ever admit it).
This idea has been toyed with several times in the past with The Flash, and the reason I bring it up again now is that M&B do not forget this element with their writing. The back and forth, teasing, and (in Glider’s case) innocent flirting just makes all the action so much more fun and a joy to read.
I also love how the Rogues try to run away in a cowardly manner after the first invasion wave. It works and is really funny.
The fisticuffs are fun, but M&B never lose sight of the actual (and somewhat mysterious) threat that Grodd’s army brings. The gorillas are brutal (highlighted in a somewhat shocking scene between Grodd and Trickster). I am glad that M&B are following up on the characterization from issue 9 and not wussing out.
Even though the entire issue is pretty much a long fight, there is a lot going on to analyze and discuss. Much more than I can keep in a reasonably lengthed review. I recommend it. However, I should note the one downside: if you are a first-time reader, you are going to have no idea what is actually going on. Then again, I suppose that is part of the fun of comics.
Next: “Last Ape Standing!”