Following the revelations of “The Flash” #0 and couched in the modern-day goings on of an attack from the Rogues, “The Flash” #13 drops a gorilla attack — literally — on Central City. In real life, problems don’t wait for resolution before piling upon existing problems and, as Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato illustrate here, it’s certainly the case for the Flash. As such, the creative pair manages to make Barry Allen more believable and human despite the red costume and stunning speed.
This issue, like all of the others by this creative team to this point, bursts with excitement and energy. Manapul plays through the entire space of the page, and an invasion of super-simians certainly makes for great content to be showcased in that manner. It is evident that Manapul is having fun not only writing the story, but constructing the pages, including a double-page spread that looks like preliminary artwork for an all ages Flash board game along the lines of Candyland. (Oops! Flash is stuck in the Gorilla Pits. Lose a turn.)
The story itself ties in with the zero issue right away, reflecting on the timeframe established in that issue, but then pounces into the present day and hooks the reader by having gorillas literally explode on the scene. There’s very little character development, but quite honestly, a comic like “Flash” with such an inimitable creative team like Manapul and Buccellato, can be all action and succeed at being an entertaining and fun read, especially if hundreds of violent apes and a handful of Flash foes are involved.
Since gorillas are mostly black and deep brown in color, and the rubble and destruction they create shades in the same direction, Flash and the Rogues really pop from the background throughout the story. Buccellato (with an assist from Ian Herring) magnificently conserves Manapul’s wash work while splashing “The Flash” #13 with drama and emotion bathed in color, which leads me to my major gripe of the issue.
Manapul and Buccellato get in some fun nods to other pop culture ape appearances, but one that they deliver seems largely unintentional and has me wondering — why is Grodd purple, like the classic Hanna-Barbera cartoon character Grape Ape? There are white gorillas and black gorillas throughout the issue. I understand the need to have Grodd separate from the rest of his troop, but the lavender hue seems like an odd choice. All the same, “The Flash” #13 is a fun read that moves (pardon the pun) quickly and delivers a fine sample of Barry Allen’s corner of the DC Universe.