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Digesting the lowest rung of pop culture so you don't have to!
September 2013 is “Villains’ Month” for DC Comics. What that means is that instead of their regular publishing schedule, all of the company’s books will each feature a specific villain. As an added bonus, all the Villain’s Month issues have special “3D covers” (in reality, they are lenticular…but done really well). By a twist of fate, The Flash gets three villains’ issues. First up is Gorilla Grodd.
A lot has happened since we last saw the apes of Gorilla City in issue 17. Solovar has recovered and is now in charge. More importantly, Gorilla City has made amends and is helping Central City recover from the damage they caused during Grodd’s invasion. However, happiness doesn’t last long as Grodd finds himself released from the speed force and wanting revenge.
In quick manner, he re-takes control of the Gorilla forces and declares himself king of Central City. Due to the events of The Trinity War and Forever Evil stories, Flash is nowhere to be seen, so Grodd’s takeover is swift and without much opposition.
A lot of this issue is set-up designed to pay off in the upcoming mini-series Rogues Rebellion, so it never feels “complete”. However, it does give us some great insight into the mind of Grodd. He has become such a complete megalomaniac. I suppose he always was, but now, after spending time in the Speed Force and developing new abilities, he’s gotten much worse. The scary part is that his narration throughout the story is very calm and collected. He’s gotten almost philosophical. The calm mixed with the rage is a terrifying contradiction.
That is why I am somewhat mixed on this issue. We get a nice look into what makes Grodd tick, but not much of a story to go along with it. How he got out of the Speed Force is largely left unexplained (possibly Forever Evil goes into it – I don’t know; I haven’t read it), but with Manapul and Buccellato’s run coming to an end, I can see them wanting to put all the toys back into the box.
We did get some nice cameos by some new-ish and obscure villains trying to take Central City from Grodd (spoiler: they fail). We also got to see that Pied Piper is all fixed up as well (his fate was unresolved when we last saw him during the Gorilla Warfare story), only for him to get owned again in a quick manner. I wish more was done with Piper and Singh. I felt there was some good direction there, then suddenly dropped.
Chris Batista is our artist on the issue, and while his work is okay, it is nothing revolutionary. His style reminds me a lot of Marcus To who has previously subbed on The Flash in the past, so with that in mind, Batista’s art style feels somewhat natural for an issue of The Flash.
Would I recommend this issue? Probably not. It isn’t terribly by any means, but I do not feel I got a lot out of it. It doesn’t tie into what is currently going on in the main title (but it looks like it will connect with the upcoming Rogues mini-series). If you really like Grodd, then go for it. If not, then you can probably survive skipping it.
Cover Comments: Since the Villains’ Month had special covers, I think it is worth talking about. The “3D” element is pretty cool, but it is probably the weakest of the three Flash covers. In the comic book store, one of the employees mentioned how some of these covers look like they were made specifically for 3D and others don’t. This one doesn’t. The 3D doesn’t really “enhance” the original image, in my opinion. To see an idea of how the 3D motion works, click on the image above.