This week on The Heroes, Villains and Sidekicks Show we look at another flash villain, I do love The Flash, today we’ll learn all there is to know about one of Flash’s most fearsome and ferocious enemy, Gorilla Grodd.
Gorilla Grodd was created for DC comics by John Broome and the amazing artist Carmine Infantino to be one of Flash’s most fearsome enemies. Gorilla Grodd first appeared way back in 1959 in issue # 106 and is, as you may have surmised, a Gorilla. But not just any ordinary Gorilla. Grodd is a super-intelligent gorilla with incredible mental powers on top of his incredible strength and ferocity.
Flash # 106 is a fairly strange issue as first appearances go, but this is a Silver Age book and wacky storylines are par for the course. It starts with an alien craft arriving at Central City. We then see a gorilla walk through the door and soon realize that it’s a man in a gorilla suit. He’s an actor friend of Barry’s who plays a gorilla onstage and has for a while. But he’s distressed because there has been reports of a fearsome gorilla wandering the streets of Central City. Worried he’s blacking out and running around in his stage costume he calls his friend Barry for help. Barry runs over to help him out and that’s when he first comes into contact with Gorilla Grodd racing though the city in his craft. But Barry doesn’t get a look at him and Grodd escapes. He appears at a circus saying he is looking for the greatest mind in the world so he can steal his “Force of Mind” power that will allow him to control the minds of his fellow super-intelligent gorillas or his home Gorilla City.
There in the circus he finds Solovar in a cage. Solovar is also from Gorilla City and was captured while exploring the human world and has been playing dumb, waiting to escape, but also hid from Grodd. In the end Gorilla Grodd’s “telepathic radiation” peirce’s Solovar’s mind which knocks him out. Grodd is then able to steal the power to control minds. Solovar wakes and escapes realizes he must get some help to stop Grodd from using his new mind control powers to enslave Gorilla City and stop Grodd from attacking Central City and the world. Flash and Solovar race to Gorilla City and fight Gorilla Grodd with Flash knocking him out and thwarting his plans and apparently robbing him of his ability to control minds. But not really, because Gorilla Grodd comes back many times through the years with numerous attempts to take over the world.
The first thing we see is a shining spacecraft falling from the sky landing in the jungle. The ship is found by gorillas and when it is opened there is little baby like alien inside. The apes take him out of the ship and also find a large diamond sphere that shoots out power rays.
We then jump to the human world where a man is restrained in a mental hospital. He has some wild stories of a city filled with super-intelligent apes. He recounts his story to his doctor. And I have a lot of great pages from all these issues over on the episodes page at Heroesvillainsandsidekicks.com.
He and his partner find Gorilla City and are amazed at the technologically advanced civilization. Amazing architecture and scientific advancement. They are even more amazed by the fact that is is being built by gorillas. They are captured and are taken to the alien who they now think of as a god or mentor. The alien recounts how this has all come to be. He tells them that when the gorillas found him and the diamond sphere which he calls the Evolution/Identity-Caster, the caster shot out two beams as the group of gorillas held on to the sphere. One beam, the “straight/pure” beam hit Solovar and another beam, the “warped/dangerous” beam hit an unknown gorilla. The alien cannot sense who it was and fears for the safety of the city and himself with this dangerous ape.
The humans meet with Solovar who says he’s ready to share their secrets with the world, but that would not happen. It’s then that Grodd takes control of humans and makes them steal the alien and kill him. The gorillas see this and not knowing they are being mind controlled kill them. This makes Solovar change his mind about letting humans know about themselves and Gorilla City. He erects a force field that renders the city invisible and rails against humans, all the while Gorilla Grodd stands in the crowd, listening and smiling at how well his plan worked. He would bide his time until he could take over and rule Gorilla City.
We flash forward, get it, flash forward, to the New 52 and a new origin for Gorilla Grodd and Gorilla City. This new origin ties Grodd and his brethren to the Flash, jettisoning the idea of an alien and or meteorite all together. In this new retelling the gorillas received their intelligence and mental powers from what they call, The Light. And as you may have guessed, the light was a bolts of lighting, but not ordinarily lighting. It was the speed force. I really like this new origin, many times new origins really don’t make a lot of sense. But here we have one of Flash’s biggest villains and his powers derived from the source where Flash go his own powers. Very neat. And in this new origin Gorilla Grodd is even more fierce. For example, he gets to be leader of Gorilla City not by scheming, but by killing his father in battle. He is then crowned King Grodd. And it’s just then that Flash appears in a flash of light. See in the issues before Flash was stuck in the Speed Force and finally escaped. But this was a real out of the frying pan and into the fire. Now the rest of the gorillas see Flash, the lighting bolt on his chest and his power and they believe him to be a prophet from the light. Grodd see Flash as a challenger to his supremacy and he attacks him. Flash and Grodd battle, Flash believes grodd to be defeated, but of course he is far from defeated. In their last battle Grodd attacks Central City and absorbs a canister of Flash’s speed force. The two them actually battle in the Speed Force. But Grodd made a terrible error. Flash is the speed force, Grodd just has a touch of it in him. Flash declares that he is King in the Speed Force and he defeats Gorilla Grodd.
Since then Gorilla Grodd has not made an appearance in DC’s new Rebirth, but he may be coming soon. In some of the latest issues of the Flash stating with 14 the comic has been highlighting s rouge in each issue. So hopefully Grodd is coming soon.
Gorilla Grodd is another one of those Flash characters that have made it to many other types of media. He’s been in almost every animated tv series out there. You can see him in: Challenge of the Super Friends, Batman: The Brave and the Bold, Justice League, Justice League Unlimited and he even appears in Lego form in Lego Batman 2: DC Super-Heroes.
But where most non comic book readers know Grodd from is from the just fantastic CW show, The Flash. He was one of the first villains to be seen early on in the show but then he was just an ordinary gorilla until STAR LABS experiment changed many of the inhabitants of Central City into meta-human. The gorilla escapes and we see the name Grodd on his cage. It was pretty cool .Gorilla Grodd returns on the show several times and looks pretty cool as a totally CGI character. The CW has even done a two-part episode title Flash: Gorilla City where Grodd lures the heroes to Earth 2, where Flash sent him, in hopes of going back home, to Earth Prime. Head over to the site to see some really cool clips from the episode.
The family and I have watched the first episode and really loved it and I can’t wait to see part two! It’s such a great show. As a side note, I wonder if the popularity of the show is one of the main reasons that nobody seems to like how the Flash on the upcoming Justice League looks. I think so. I’m usually not one to just discount something without seeing it first, but I do have a problem with the suit. It’s just ugly, I’m sorry, that’s as delicate as I can put it. I’m sure though if they do an actual Flash spin off that can actually get off the ground though, at one point I am sure Gorilla Grodd will be there to make Flash’s life miserable.