While The Flash is on hiatus, we’ll be running weekly content about the comic book backgrounds of characters like Firestorm, Gorilla Grodd, and Reverse Flash, to help give you your Flash fix on Tuesdays.
Gorilla Grodd just made his official debut on The Flash last week, so here’s a walkthrough of the comic book history of the character, and how he might drive the Flash bananas in the future:
Grodd has always been a huge part of the Flash’s “Rogues Gallery,” both figuratively and literally, as the ape with advanced intelligence is a villain who scares the bejeezus out of the Flash on a regular basis. Originally a simple gorilla in the wilds of Africa, an alien spaceship crashed near him and the rest of his band of primates. As a result, Grodd, along with those around him, were given hyper-intelligence, and began to create their own city that was, aptly named, Gorilla City. As the structure of their civilization took root, a leader was chosen in the form of Solovar, a gorilla who had received powers similar to Grodd’s but with a much more level head. Both Grodd and Solovar not only received intelligence on par with humanity from the ship, but they also gained the abilities of telepathy and telekinesis, meaning they could communicate with others using only their minds. and also move objects in a similar fashion.
As is the case with many megalomaniacs, Grodd wasn’t thrilled with Solovar’s ascension in the ranks. Seeing humanity as an enemy, rather than an ally, Grodd believed himself to be the rightful king of this city hidden in the mist and swore to overthrow mankind. Realizing he was in trouble in dealing with Gorilla Grodd, Solovar used his powers to communicate with the nearest hero he could find, Barry Allen, aka The Flash, and asked if Barry could help him with his ape problem. Strapping on his yellow boots and winged mask, the Flash ran to Gorilla City and promptly put an end to Grodd’s schemes, making a lifelong enemy in the process.
Throughout the years, Grodd has always been an antagonist to the Flash first and foremost. Whether the Flash was Barry Allen or Wally West, or even the short lived Bart Allen, Grodd would make an appearance to attempt to bring about the downfall of humanity. He’s ranged from flat out goofy to horrifying throughout the years, which is pretty typical for most comic book villains. He’s had plans where he attempted to turn everyone on Earth into a gorilla, he’s tried to turn himself human for some reason (seems counterintuitive), he’s literally eaten people on a number of occasions, and he’s even created his own league of super villains to try to defeat the Flash and the other heroes of the world (again, seems counterintuitive considering his hatred for people, but hey, when in Rome).
The Power of Grodd Compels You!
As I mentioned, and as is apparent, Grodd could be a tad goofy at times. I mean really, he’s a big talking gorilla with mind powers, what’s not funny about that? Well, in recent years, creators have done their best to make Grodd quite scary, not only with his size and stature, but with his ability to read (Editor’s Note: the power of literacy!), and enter people’s minds. Gorilla Grodd has the ability to not only chat with others using his mind, but can also mentally control the weaker-willed, as well as beam horrifying images into their minds in order to stop them from whatever they’re doing, which is particularly useful for fighting against someone who can move at lightspeed. He can also switch bodies with someone completely, and move objects using only his mind. He’s essentially the Professor X of gorillas!
Aside from his mental capacities, Gorilla Grodd is, well, a gorilla. As well as being quite imposing, his strength is actually far higher than that of a normal silverback, and he can even go blow to blow with Superman if need be (though he isn’t quite close to the Man of Steel’s weight class when all is said and done). Grodd isn’t scared to get his hands dirty, and won’t hesitate to ruthlessly eat his opponents if need be.
Grodd: The TV Star
Now, while Grodd may be from the mystical land of Gorilla City in the books, things appear to be a little different in the CW Show. In the very first episode of The Flash, you could see that Dr. Wells had a cage with the name “Grodd” written on the side of it, implying that Wells had kept Grodd captive since before the premiere. It stands to reason that Grodd may have fallen into the same camp as the rest of the super-powered characters in the series, and received his mental abilities and hyper-intelligence from the particle accelerator explosion. To be fair though, the show has already introduced the concept of time travel, weather control, super speed, nuclear fusion, and many other “far out there” ideas, so who’s to say that adding a city of gorillas to the mix would be too much for audiences to swallow?
Also, from the latest episode, wherein Grodd appears to General Eiling, it’s apparent that his telepathic abilities are still in check as he blasts a message directly into the General’s skull before dragging him deeper into the sewers. Grodd was really an unexpected treat for me going into the show, because he’s an idea that is so out-there, and seemingly difficult to pull off, that I almost thought he wouldn’t make an appearance at all (or perhaps be some big guy named Grodd to bypass the whole being-a-gorilla thing). The Flash has been amazingly strong since its it began this season, and I cannot tell you how excited I am to see where the series, and Grodd, go moving forward. Who wouldn’t like an episode where Barry gets turned into a gorilla and has to put on the red spandex to save the day at the same time?