The Flash #17 gives us the conclusion of “Gorilla Warfare”, wrapping up several story threads while launching us headlong into new and uncharted waters for the New52 Barry Allen. Gorilla Grodd has proven to be a more than able opponent for the Flash, who has needed the help of his Rogues Gallery just to stay on even footing…up to now.
SOME SPOILERS AHEAD – PLEASE READ THE ISSUE FIRST BEFORE CONTINUING!
This issue picks up with Grodd’s internal monologue, showing that he is far more than just a “mad scientist” type or even a simple power-mad ape out to conquer the world. Grodd appears offended by the very existence of Barry Allen, in a way that only rulers can express. The Flash controls the Speed Force, which Grodd considers his birthright, and Grodd considers it is destiny to defeat the Flash and take the power of the Speed Force for his own.
Barry, of course, has other ideas…and in the Speed Force, Barry Allen is King! Barry begins to realize just how much control of the Speed Force he truly has in this battle, and it makes him just a bit cocky as he deals with Grodd. Barry has been a rather humble guy so far in this series, but it is understandable that he would be caught up in the wonder of such an amazing power set and that he would allow himself a little self-indulgence in this situation. He even flirts a little with Iris during the battle (we’ll come back to that in a moment). In the end, Barry finds a way to defeat Grodd while rescuing Iris and the others who were stuck in the Speed Force several issues back.
While all of this is going on, the battle rages back in Central City. Captain Frye and the police force are trying to free the people who have been captured and placed under mind-control by the apes. They get an unexpected assist from the Rogues, who are now reaching out to Turbine in attempt to get him to join their group.
As the Rogues stop the mind-control devices, the illusion of a Central City “disaster area” ends, and the armed forces are now free to enter the Gem Cities and take the battle straight to the “damn, dirty apes” (glad Manapul and Buccellato included that line). As the apes retreat and the Rogues run off to “leave the hero stuff to the heroes”, Barry returns from the Speed Force with Iris and the others. Who should be there to see Barry with Iris? Patty – and her expression is priceless.
Meanwhile, Dr. Elias is inspecting his now-trashed lab and finds that not all of his luck has run out…and vows to get “serious” with the Flash.
As Barry officially rejoins the living, Iris is waiting to speak to him, appearing to have a lot on her mind…only to be interrupted by Patty, who arrives with a big kiss for Barry. Can you say “love triangle”? Yes, I think we have some very interesting personal stories ahead for Barry!
The story then cuts to one month later…and the first official appearance of the New52 Reverse Flash! We will obviously learn a lot more about this character in future issues, but the look of this character is nothing short of stunning!
Manapul and Buccellato do a great job of bringing this story arc to a close, with plenty of action and great setups for the storylines that will be explored in upcoming issues. Barry has hit high notes in both his personal and heroic lives - which will likely lead to some hard lessons on both fronts in future issues. The artwork continues to uphold the very high standards this team has set throughout their time together on The Flash. The Flash #17 is an absolute must-read for any Flash fan, and not simply for that pic at the end with the new Reverse Flash…though that alone certainly makes this an historic issue for the Flash. Don’t miss this one!