Thursday, August 21, 2014

80-Page Thursdays: DC Special Series #11!

Two weeks in a row! Yay! Today, a book that brings back a character that I didn't think appeared again, a couple plot points I'm not sure were readdressed, and proof that capital punishment isn't a deterrent, in DC Special Series #11, "Beyond the Super-Speed Barrier!" Written by Cary Bates, and art by Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez, Irv Novick, Kurt Schaffenberger, Alex Saviuk, and more.

In the heart of deepest Africa (as they said in an old Batman Power Records story!) there lies a hidden city. Gorilla City, home of super-advanced simians, and longtime Flash villain Gorilla Grodd. Fed up with his years of super-crimes both there and in the human world, the city's High Council has voted 6-to-1 to execute Grodd. (Even though his crimes to this point are probably pretty tame compared to anything he's probably done in the last ten years or so.) Only the gorilla's leader Solovar voted to let Grodd live--Solovar's kind of like Commissioner Gordon in these stories: although he's the authority figure, he's usually not given a ton to do.

After Grodd's molecules are dispersed and spread into another dimension, Kid Flash has a harrowing encounter after a date goes badly and his girlfriend takes off on his motorcycle--at super-speed, to the point where she burns up! Luckily, it's an illusion, created by an unseen gorilla intruder...Kid Flash's segment ends with him about to graduate high school, and revealing his secret identity to his parents. (Who were utterly horrible in the 90's Flash comic: his dad was a Manhunter plant, and his mom was merely passive-aggressively guilt-mongering, if I recall.)

The current Flash, Barry Allen, visits Solovar in Gorilla City and gets the scoop on Grodd's execution. He then races back to Central City, to get to work before his assistant, Patty, as seen in Five-Star Super-Hero Spectacular as the imaginary Lady Flash. Then Flash has to face the bad guy from Showcase #4, the Turtle! The Turtle zaps the Flash with his "slow laser," affecting the Flash's super-speed vision. Luckily, a quick couple of laps around the world until the Flash hits the same frequency as the laser fixes his vision. But the slow laser had also been adjusted by the unseen gorilla...

Later, on Earth-2, Jay Garrick has revealed his secret identity to the world! Which makes it easy for the gorilla to track him down, at a press conference attended by the other super-speed hero, Johnny Quick. The gorilla affects Johnny's super-speed formula, making him a super-fast menace. Jay has to accelerate to another dimension to snap Johnny out of it, all part of the gorilla's plan.

That night, Barry and Iris push their beds together; when Flash's costume explodes out of his ring without warning! That...that never happens...

But it happens to Wally at the dinner table, too! All three Flashes are then summoned (Jay all the way from Earth-2) to face the gorilla. Grodd? No, Grodd's assistant. Or the animated corpse of Grodd's unwilling assistant, controlled by Grodd's mental powers: his execution was all part of his master plan, to harvest speed from the Flashes when they hit the right frequency. Grodd's reformed and has super-speed to boot, but the Flashes manage to beat him by merging their atoms for a triple-powered punch.

The issue ends with Wally's graduation (and a bunch of heroes show up) but a troubling conversation with Barry: Wally plans on being Kid Flash only for the next four years while he's in college, then retiring as a superhero. Of course that's not what ends up happening, since I think Wally was sick, possibly on the verge of dying before Crisis on Infinite Earths. I don't know if Jay's reveal would come up again or not, nor do I know if Patty appeared again. And this is so close to introducing the Speed Force--but not quite.


Dale Bagwell said...

Wow. Now that's a pretty ambitious story. Not bad, though it seems a lot like Grodd went the long way(especially involving Jay) to get his revenge so to speak on the flashes.
Gotta say though, kind of a cool concept, both conceptionally and visually, having all three flashes combined into a super flash. Why Morrison or Johns never mentioned or brought that bit back I'll never know.

googum said...

Any master plan that starts with, "OK, after they execute me..." is straight-up ballsy.

Dale Bagwell said...

Ha ha, right? That Grodd. Ape balls of steel.