Is there anyone who wasn't excited to see Gorilla Grodd finally show up in the New 52's Flash universe? I wasn't the biggest Flash fan before the relaunch but I couldn't help but giggle with glee when Grodd appeared. One of the the more ridiculous yet oddly well-suited villains for the Flash, Grod has been reintroduced by Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato in a way that somehow adds more believability to the character.
When Grodd's minions invade Central City, it's in the midst of Flash getting his ass handed to him by Captain Cold and the Rogues, the local bunch of baddies. With Flash's impressive speedforce abilities, he seems undermatched by the Gorilla City monkey brigade but Manapul introduces a plausible flaw that allows for great fight sequences and authentic tension in the scene. They're suddenly monkeys that can almost hold their own against the speedster, and in great numbers, a force to be reckoned with.
Grodd's brutality is known but re-established through a brief but vicious encounter with a token Central City Judas figure. By the end of the issue, things look bleak for the Flash and his hometown but at least there's a great set-up for an epic Flash vs Grodd fight scene in the next issue.
Manapul and Buccellato manage to make the Barry Allan a consistent, sympathetic and accessible character; an everyday guy trying to do right with the abilities he's been given. The art has not suffered at all during Manapul's run and continues the trend of dynamic splash pages that incorporate "The Flash" title into the art itself. And who doesn't love a brief homage to Planet of the Apes during a fight sequence?
Worth a read, whether you're a monkey lover or not.