I truly believe that this was a great issue. A great stand alone piece. I am not familiar with Sean Ryan but he makes a great mark on this one off issue. The great thing about what Ryan does is that he tells a great character piece. It's a day in the life of Gorilla Grodd in this Flashpoint universe.
What the issue does successfully:
- Tell a dark and morbid story in one issue.
- Emphasize the importance of Flash to Gorilla Grodd.
- Defines Grodd as cold, savage, and formidable.
- Leaves a great segue into the Flashpoint narrative.
Admittedly, Gorilla Grodd isn't the easiest character that writers have handled. Recently, he's been seen as an semi-comic megalomaniac gorilla who eats humans and brains. While I did enjoy Paul Cornell and Grant Morrison's take on the character, Sean Ryan creates a stark and deeply depressed version that's very compelling. Ryan takes advantage of the fact that Grodd is based in Africa and in fact has powers telepathy.
Geoff John's issue:
shows how destructive Grodd can physically be. This one shows the absolute horrors, he's capable of as a despot and telepath. The narrative shows a bored Grodd who must deal with a life without challenge. Richard Nixon said it best, “The unhappiest people of the world are retired – no purpose. What makes life mean something is purpose – a goal, a battle, a struggle.” And here Grodd is without a purpose. No speedster to bring him down. In what would be a more shocking move if it had been in a main book, Grodd is attack by child soldiers only to turn the tables on them. It's such a violent move and artist Ig Guara's art avoids any temping sensationalism. I did enjoy Ig Guara's art however, I felt like perhaps the whole tone of the book would've been better served with an artist whose work is more realistic and grounded.
The book is perfectly book-ended, from Grodd's sad proclamation that the world trembles for Aquaman and Wonder Woman and yet, he brutally decimates Africa and no one knows his name.
My main problems with this issue? Nothing much, aside from the fact that Catman is knowingly framed and killed by Grodd. With word that the Secret Six isn't going to be around in the new DCU relaunch in September, his death is just quite sad. Then again I don't care for Congorilla so it balances out in a way.
If you got the spare change, take a look at this issue. Nothing too crucial to the Flashpoint universe, but you see how Grodd enters in and what kind of threat he is.