Review: Flashpoint Grodd of War #1

Published on June 20th, 2011

The Flash is my favorite superhero ever. And as lame as it sounds, Gorilla Grodd is my favorite of his rogues gallery. Having said that, I’m gonna be honest about Flashpoint: Grodd of War. I thought it was gonna be mediocre to entertaining at best. I was definitely shocked by how wrong I was.

groddofwar1From the get-go, there is no mistaking Grodd’s state of mind. He’s a bored, egotistic, megalomaniac. The entire continent of Africa has just been conquered, and Grodd couldn’t care any less. “What’s that? I’ve pretty much taken over the second largest continent in the world? Yeah? So what? Duh. I want a fuckin’ challenge!” Grodd pretty much knows how powerful he is (both physically and mentally), and the ape’s got balls, son! He wants a challenge so bad that he “spars” with one of his own best warriors and brutally kills the guy/ape! The new leader/dictator of Africa decides he wants to confront the last human leader in South Africa (the aforementioned final conquering point for Grodd). Despite warnings of potential roadside attacks from his top aide (which Grodd seems to welcome) Grodd makes a roadtrip in a limo caravan. DUN DUN DUN! Enter the roadside attack buy a guerrilla force of children! Everyone in Grodd’s team is killed. However, Grodd is able to use his psychic ability to slow the attackers down and force one of them to turn on the rest and cut them down with a riddling of gunfire. He then tells the lone gunman to be afraid and turn that fear into anger and that one day he’d better use that anger/hate and return to kill Grodd in the future. Grodd isn’t convinced that the attack was a coincidence. He believes his assistant was involved somehow, but still doesn’t care and seems disappointed that the plan wasn’t a success. Finally arriving in South Africa and yanking out the spine of the human leader (à la Mortal Kombat fatalities), Grodd informs his new aide that his new plan is to gather an army, head north to Europe, and attack both the Atlantean and Amazon armies head-on. The last line of this book sums up the entire emotional range Grodd feels since his warmongering began.

Sean Ryan, the writer of this one-shot, pleasantly surprised me by how much brutality was in this book. But he was able to mirror that viciousness with the real feeling behind the title character: pride. Grodd knows how smart and physically strong he is. Nothing is a challenge to him any more. So the only challenge he has left is not conquering new lands, but trying to defeat himself. Time after time he is disappointed and it only enrages him more. Ig Guara’s art shows the violent nature of Grodd through his proportions and the numerous close-up panels which often focus on the red eyes. I don’t want to just mention the awesome violent scenes drawn in this book, so I’ll mention my favorite panel which is on the last page, showing Grodd leaning on the wall of a balcony. It really shows his loneliness and longing for his biggest wish: a death wish.

Last week I thought that Emperor Aquaman was my favorite Flashpoint tie-in so far. Not no mo’, sir! The thing that’s so disappointing to me is that this is just a one-shot. Hats off to the creators of this book though! Well done!

Sam Taylor