Monday, March 13, 2017

I honestly expected a "guerrilla vs. gorilla" joke somewhere.

Well, they were setting up something else instead: from 1981, Flash #294, "The Fiend the World Forgot!" Written by Cary Bates, art by Don Heck.

By this point, pre-Crisis, the Flash had fought Gorilla Grodd approximately four hundred times, and the existence of Gorilla City was known to the public. They even had an embassy and representatives in the United Nations, and as head gorilla Solovar explains to the Flash, that's the problem. The super-gorillas achieved that lofty state by devoting themselves completely to the improvement of their species, leaving no time for the insidious cancer of..."leisure time." It's implied, yet not specified, that this is causing serious problems for the gorillas, more than just introducing slacking and goofing off. The situation is then exacerbated by guerrilla terrorists taking the Gorilla embassy, intent on using their hostages to get advanced weaponry. (The peaceful apes didn't have any, and are told they'd better get cracking, then!)

Flash disarms the terrorists in a blink, but their leader had an ace yet to play: a hidden bomb, with a five second fuse! Now, what TV Tropes refers to as "Talking is a Free Action" comes into play here, since this next explanation takes well more than five seconds. The terrorist leader explains, while the goody-goody Flash has to save him and his men, he couldn't save the gorillas, since they would be too heavy to carry! Instead, Flash just splits, leaving the terrorist and his men time to panic: with a second to work with, Flash has plenty of time to search everywhere until he finds the bomb, then ditch it with six-hundredths of a second to go.

This settles it for Solovar and the gorillas: they're going to put "Operation: Worldwash" into action, and erase the knowledge of Gorilla City from everyone on the planet, except the Flash. (It would still be in newspapers and possibly videotape, guys! Unless the erasure also put in a mental block against noticing that.) It's getting set up according to plan, and the Flash is going to call it a day; but back in Gorilla City, in Grodd's jail cell we find...a human, William Dawson! Grodd's mental power was strong enough to focus on a human's brain pattern, then teleport by sheer force of what the gorillas assume. Solovar isn't there to tell them it's a trick, but I think Grodd was so far above the average gorilla they would've believed he could do anything. Grodd had simply turned his mental power inward, to evolve himself into a human form for a bit. Simple. (An editorial footnote explains he had done something like that before.)

Step two of Grodd's plan: sabotage the Operation: Worldwash transmitter. Grodd was fine with the human world forgetting the gorillas, but took it a step further: wiping the memory of Grodd from the other gorillas, and the Flash! Flash and the gorillas are left wondering who was interfering, while Grodd muses they'll never be able to "defend themselves against a fatal attack from a foe who 'doesn't exist and never did'!"

Why do I keep finding random issues of Flash? I don't think I have two in a row of the old series yet...Also this issue, a Firestorm back-up, "The Typhoon is a Storm of the Soul" Written by Gerry Conway, art by Jim Starlin and Bob Wiacek. Starting with Firestorm vs. lady muggers, but the team was breaking up: at this point in the series, Professor Stein couldn't recall any of their adventures. Ronnie would fill him in afterwards, since to Stein his time as Firestorm was just a blackout, which might explain why he seems like he's trying to be supportive, but isn't super-invested in it. As such, Stein takes a job on a research vessel in the South Pacific, which would be problematic for them as Firestorm: although either could trigger the transformation, in effect summoning the other, when they changed back they would be wherever they were!

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