Gorilla Grodd has been the monkey on Barry Allen’s back for three seasons now and in tonight’s episode, “Attack on Central City,” he really ups the ante to a whole new level. It’s, frankly, just really impressive that he was able to muster up an army and get them all the way over to Earth-1 from Earth-2, keep them organized and send them all against Team Flash.
In the comics, much like on television, Gorilla Grodd has been an enemy of the Flash since the Silver Age. He first appeared in THE FLASH #106, and was created by John Broome and Carmine Infantino.
Side note: If you’re not familiar with those two creators, they made such a huge impact on comic books—and especially on The Flash—that you are going to want to check them out. A good place to start would be THE FLASH: THE SILVER AGE OMNIBUS where you can get everything in one place!
Gorilla Grodd acquired his telepathic powers and heightened intelligence after exposure to a meteor (originally it was an alien spacecraft, but that was retconned away). This is a very “Silver Age” origin. The United States was heavily involved in the space race, NASA was one of the coolest places to be and comic book characters either went to space or were affected by rocks that fell from space and Grodd was no different.
Fun fact: The meteor that gave Gorilla Grodd his powers was retconned to have also given Hector Hammond his powers. Who is Hector Hammond? You’ll have to check out some Green Lantern comics if you want to find out the answer!
Did you know, like many classic DC characters, Gorilla Grodd does have an alter-ego? In fact, he has two of them! He likes to use the names “Drew Drowden” and “William Dawson” when he’s taken control of a human. In “Attack on Gorilla City” we saw Grodd control both Harry Wells and Cisco, so there’s a chance he could do it again and they might be calling themselves by very different names.
Gorilla Grodd’s rivalry with Barry Allen began almost right away. He had planned to use the population of Gorilla City to take over the world. You see, the apes had lived in peace and harmony tucked away in the African wilderness and hadn’t known violence until they were attacked by explorers and Grodd was able to seize control of Gorilla City away from Solovar. Who did Solovar telepathically contact to warn that Grodd was planning to take over the world? You guessed it, Barry Allen a.k.a. the Flash!
Barry’s not the only speedster that has gone toe-to-toe with Gorilla Grodd. During his lengthy stint as the Flash, Wally West had to face Grodd down. During one of their confrontations, Grodd increased the brain powers of almost every animal in Central City, hoping to endanger the lives of the humans who live around them. Lucky for Wally and the citizens of Central City, Grodd’s plan was ultimately a failure because the animals’ loyalty and love for their humans overwhelmed his telepathic suggestion. Grodd is defeated by Wally, assisted by Pied Piper, Vixen and Rex the Wonder Dog.
So, there is in-comics continuity reasons for a future Wally West vs. Gorilla Grodd episode. Wouldn’t it be great to see Pied Piper and Vixen show up for a two episode arc as well? Any chance to get characters crossing over from other shows is exciting to me and the two Vixens have been so wonderful on Arrow and Legends of Tomorrow—not to mention the Vixen animated series that airs on CW Seed.
Remember when I mentioned that Gorilla Grodd had attempted to take over the world? Well, taking over the world and destroying the human race became something of a pastime for him. In pre-New 52 continuity, he tried to destroy all humans no less than eighteen times. That is so many times! For being as hyper-intelligent as he is, Grodd doesn’t always have the best plans, however. In 1986’s SON OF AMBUSH BUG #5, he travels back in time to the Late Cretaceous Period in order to eliminate humanity from the timestream. What he must have failed to realize is that humanity’s ancestors at that point in history would have been his own ancestors as well. He probably needed to do a bit more research before jumping so very far into the past.
Sometimes Grodd does get what he wants. In FOREVER EVIL, for example, he gets a bunch of new super powers (including something that might have to do with the Speed Force!), and he returns to Central City in order to attend a ceremony commemorating the Flash shared by both humans and apes. While he’s there, he is able to take advantage of his cool new powers and take over Central City, name himself the King and rename it Grodd City, all quite speedily.
Ashley V. Robinson covers The Flash as a part of the #DCTV Couch Club. You can find her on Twitter at @AshleyVRobinson and on the Jawiin YouTube channel. The Flash airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. (7 p.m. CST) on The CW.