Thursday, July 29, 2010

JLApe part five: Flash Annual #12, "The Apes of Wrath"

This issue, and the rest of JLApe, was set during a transitional period for Flash comics. Wally had apparently disappeared (for about the fiftieth time) and the current Flash's identity was a mystery. Mystery-Flash revealed his identity to Old Flash Jay Garrick, who would vouch for him with everyone else; and Superman would do the same for the JLA. None of this really matters, since Mystery-Flash is a gorilla for a good chunk of this story; I'm mentioning it in case you're wondering why his suit looks different.

This is also when there were multiple super-speedsters running around the DCU: senior members Jay Garrick and Max Mercury, junior rookie Impulse, and Jesse Quick, the girl. The four are chasing Flashorilla, who lures them into a trap; and Gorilla Grodd, out on the front lines for the first time in JLApe, has them turned into apes. In fact, all over Central City, apes in hard hats are turning the populace into apes.

Grodd plans on using the speedsters to power his huge, satellite ape-ray, and places them all on treadmills. "Chimpulse" is having problems, though. Unlike his usual hyperactivity, he's got "existential ennui," and seems to recall Grodd's son trying to kill him back in the prologue of this thing. Unfortunately, he's distracted by bananas, and starts running.

At Central City police headquarters, scientist Angela Margolin continues Central's proud tradition of the police scientists being the only useful members of the force: seemingly trapped, she escapes with a homemade flamethrower and steals an ape flier.

Meanwhile, Chimpulse's ennui is acting up again: he doesn't think the apes should be fighting the natural order and trying to rise up. Grodd's scientists try to force him back to work, and the speedsters rally around their own. Flash and Impulse also manage to restore themselves to normal, by vibrating through a wall, their molecules went back to where they're supposed to...

Hey, an ad for a Sony MD minidisc player! I still have one, and love it. So what if it's antiquated...I'm keeping it, my VCR, my Flintstones car...

Anyway, the satellite weapon has enough juice now to fire, but the Flash overloads it, forcing Grodd to flee. He picks up a psionic amplifier his ladies had been working on for him, and fights Flash to a standstill, before Angela hits him with her flier. Grodd takes Angela hostage, and starts climbing the tower...because tradition, that's why. The tower isn't in good shape either, since apparently Grodd was trying to power the ray with pure Speed Force, as opposed to the electricity you could generate with five super-speedsters running on treadmill-generators. Flash grabs Angela, and offers to save Grodd, who of course would rather die...or escape on his own.

The other speedsters having returned to normal, Central City is still full of apes; and the heroes are left to wonder if Grodd's satellite was charged or not. A battle is won...but not the war.

Most of the Flash comics I've read have been post-Crisis, with Wally; and for some reason I thought Grodd was 'dead' for a lot of that time. I really haven't read a lot of comics with Gorilla Grodd, and have probably seen more Super Friends and Justice League cartoons with him.

Five double-page spreads this issue, or close to it: one has a narrow panel of the Flash running up a wall. The effect makes the whole issue seem to fly by. I like Doug Braithwaite's art, but he's improved by leaps and bounds since this issue. Scans from "The Apes of Wrath" Written by Brian Augustyn, pencils by Doug Braithwaite, inks by Robin Riggs. Next time: Superman Annual #11!

1 comment:

plainwater said...

hah, chimpulse