Brian Bolland, artist
|First appearance||The Flash #106 (May 1959)|
|Created by||John Broome (writer)
Carmine Infantino (artist)
|Team affiliations||Anti-Justice League
Secret Society of Super Villains
|Notable aliases||Drew Drowden, William Dawson (when in human forms)|
|Abilities||Superhuman physical attributes, and vast psionic powers|
Gorilla Grodd is a supervillain appearing in DC Comics, primarily as an enemy of The Flash. He debuted in Flash v.1 #106 (April–May 1959), and was created by writer John Broome and artist Carmine Infantino.
Fictional character biography
Gorilla Grodd is a hyper-intelligent telepathic gorilla with the power to control the minds of others. At one time, he was nothing more than an average ape, but after an alien spacecraft (retconned from a radioactive meteor, the same one that empowered Hector Hammond) crashes in his African home, Grodd and his troupe are imbued with super intelligence by the ship's pilot. Grodd and fellow gorilla Solovar also develop telepathic and telekinetic powers. Taking the alien as their leader, the gorillas construct a super advanced home named Gorilla City. The gorillas live in peace until their home is discovered by prying explorers. Grodd forces one of the explorers to kill the alien and takes over Gorilla City, planning to conquer the world next. Solovar telepathically contacts Barry Allen to warn him of the evil gorilla's plans, and Grodd is defeated. The villain manages to return again and again to plague the Flash and his allies. Originally in his first Pre-Crisis appearance he first met the Flash while searching for Solovar, who had been imprisoned while on a trip to the human world. Grodd probed Solovar's mind to find the secret of mind control so he could control Gorilla City and use the inhabitants to take over the world, but Solovar breaks out of his cage and tells the Flash, so the Flash defeats him and apparently knocks the power of mind control from his mind. But it is revealed he had not lost his power; he overcomes his guard and takes over an underground winged race by burrowing underground, trying to use a machine to take away the intelligence of the other gorillas. But Flash finds out from Solovar where Grodd has escaped and destroys the machine. The winged people are freed from his control and Grodd is imprisoned again. Grodd has four guards set to guard him, but summons a burrowing machine which he uses to escape. He transforms himself into a human and starts a factory to create a pill that will give him vast mental powers. Grodd easily stops the Flash, but then unexpectedly turns into a gorilla again, where his powers do not work as his brain is not evolved enough. He tries to get to the machine that turned him into a human, but Flash molds the metal into handcuffs for Grodd, then takes him back to Gorilla City. Grodd devises a means of transporting his mind to another body while his original one dies, and takes over a man in Central City, but is again arrested. Later he causes the first assembling of the Flash's Rogues Gallery, breaking them out of jail to distract the Flash after transferring his mind to that of 'Freddy', a gorilla in a zoo. Thanks to Solovar, the Flash found about Grodd's escape. Ironically, Grodd, despite using radiation to stop the Flash moving at super speed, is defeated by the gorilla's mate when she hears him mention another gorilla. He and Freddy are restored to their normal bodies.
In a confrontation with Wally West, Grodd increases the brain power of most of the animals in Central City. He hopes to endanger the lives of all the humans, but this plan backfires because some of the pets are too loyal to their humans. Grodd's plans are defeated by the Flash with the assistance of the Pied Piper, Vixen, and Rex the Wonder Dog.
At one point, the immortal villain Vandal Savage kidnaps Titans member Omen and uses her to form the perfect team of adversaries for the Teen Titans. Savage approaches Grodd, offering him membership in this new anti-Titans group, Tartarus. Savage sweetens the offer with promises of power and immortality. Grodd joins Tartarus on their mission to synthesize the immortal blood of the H.I.V.E. Mistress, Addie Kane. Savage seeks to create a serum that will grant immortality. Their schemes are thwarted when the Titans intervene, and Tartarus retreats. Tempest later leads a rescue mission to save Omen from Savage. During the rescue attempt, Tartarus battles the Titans, but collapses upon itself due to each member having a different agenda. This is because Omen had purposely chosen members who would not work well together. When Siren switches alliances during the battle and aids Tempest in escaping, the Tartarus members go their separate ways and the group disbands.
He has made no fewer than eighteen attempts to eliminate all traces of humanity from the face of the earth. One of the attempts occurs in Son of Ambush Bug #5 (November 1986). Grodd had traveled to the Late Cretaceous "to wipe out all traces of human evolution from the time stream" (despite the fact that, at this point in time, the ancestors of humanity would be his own ancestors as well). His plans are apparently shattered by a combination of the sudden appearance of Titano and Ambush Bug waking from a nightmare. Whether or not Grodd's plan is a failure is disputable as Ambush Bug awakes to "Anchor-Ape Clark Kong".
In the final issue of Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew, Grodd travels to Earth-C in an attempt to conquer it, but is defeated by the efforts of the Zoo Crew (plus Changeling of the Teen Titans).
In the 1991 Angel and the Ape limited series, Grodd is revealed as the grandfather of Angel's partner, Sam Simeon. This is in conflict with Martian Manhunter Annual #2 (1999), which states that Sam Simeon is Grodd’s brother.
In the Justice League of America Wedding Special, Gorilla Grodd is among the villains seen as members of the Injustice League Unlimited.
During the Final Night, Grodd attempted to use a mystical talisman called the Heart of Darkness (normally effective only in eclipses) that brought out the 'inner beast' of humans, turning the population of the town of Leesburg into feral monsters, including Supergirl. However, Supergirl was eventually able to fight off Grodd's influence thanks to some outside sources, allowing her to oppose Grodd until the sun was restored. Grodd was seemingly killed when an icicle fell into him.
One of Grodd’s widest ranging schemes was to arrange Solovar's assassination and manipulate Gorilla City into war against humanity, with the aid of a "shadow cabinet" of prominent gorillas called Simian Scarlet. In the course of this, Grodd absorbs too much neural energy from his fellow apes, leaving him with the intelligence of a normal gorilla. He has since recovered, and a failed attempt to set up a base in Florida leads to his capture and incarceration in Iron Heights.
Grodd had been trapped inside the human body of an overweight street bum. He was attacked by a gang known as the Vultures. One of them commented on how their member Iggo had the strength of a gorilla, which reminded Grodd of his true form. Suddenly changing back to his original shape and size, he quickly defeated the gang, making them believe that they are burning in molten lava by using his telepathic abilities. Reading the minds of the crooks, he saw that one of the former members of their gang was a friend of the Flash, and a plan began to form in his mind.
Grodd found another space rock, identical to the one that had given him his powers, and contacted Hector Hammond, a human who had also gained similar powers. Grodd was able to take control of Gorilla City after increasing his evolution, but was defeated once more.
Grodd is also seen in the Superman/Batman arc "Public Enemies" (Superman/Batman #1 – #7) controlling numerous villains and heroes in order to take down Superman and Batman for the prize of one billion dollars offered by then U.S. President Lex Luthor. Despite his use of foes such as Mongul, Solomon Grundy, Lady Shiva, and Nightshade, Batman is able to deduce the mind behind the attacks and they quickly dispose of Grodd.
He is responsible for crippling the Flash's friend Hunter Zolomon, resulting in his transformation into the villainous Zoom when Hunter tries to change the event so it never happened. Hunter would often think about how Grodd used him as a plaything in that fight while talking it over with the Flash.
In JLA Classified #1-3, DC, 3-issue story arc, 2004, Grodd and his forces attack the Ultramarine Corps. Grodd has most of the citizens they are protecting killed. He personally eats some of the humans. During the course of this incident, Beryl informs the team that Grodd ranks number three on the latest "Global Most Wanted".
In the Salvation Run mini-series, Grodd teams up with the Joker to gather their own faction of the exiled supervillains. He kills Monsieur Mallah and the Brain, only to be knocked off a cliff by the Joker. He is seen alive and attempting to deliver payback to the Joker.
In Justice League of America #21, Grodd is shown among the members of Libra's new Secret Society and placed in the Inner Circle. In Final Crisis storyline, Gorilla Grodd was among the high ranked superheroes and supervillains that were turned into Justifiers. He is sent to apprehend Snapper Carr and Cheetah, but fails.
The New 52
In the new continuity of The New 52 (a reboot of the DC Comics universe), the Flash (Barry Allen) first encounters Gorilla Grodd after a trip through the Speed Force which strands him in Gorilla City. The Flash is hailed as a messenger spoken of in gorilla prophecy by all but Grodd, the newly crowned gorilla king. The Flash foils Grodd's attempts to kill him until Grodd causes a building to collapse upon himself, knocking him unconscious and allowing the Flash to escape. However, Grodd returns and attacks Central City with an army of gorilla soldiers.
During the "Forever Evil" storyline, Gorilla Grodd returns to Central City during a ceremony commemorating Flash between the humans and gorillas at the time when Ultraman had caused an eclipse. Gorilla Grodd proceeds to take control of Central City as its king and renames it Gorilla City.
Powers and abilities
Grodd's psionic abilities allow him to place other beings under his mental control. Grodd can also project telekinetic force beams, telekinetically transmute matter, and transfer his consciousness into other bodies. In recent issues he has shown the ability to absorb intelligence through the consumption of human brains. He possesses great superhuman strength far exceeding that of an ordinary gorilla. He is a scientific genius who has mastered Gorilla City's advanced technology and who has created many incredible inventions of his own. He also uses big laser guns. However, his thought process still operates at a relatively human rate of speed; the Flashes have shown some degree of immunity to his telepathic illusions by moving so fast that their thoughts process Grodd's illusions in slow motion. In one story, he gains vast telekinetic powers from a pill he develops after evolving himself into a human, enabling him to control the forces of nature such as lifting thousands of tons mentally. But after he turns back, he loses this power as his brain is not evolved enough. He was able to engage Kalibak in hand-to-hand combat but was visibly not quite as strong as Kalibak.
Gorilla Grodd has a counterpart on the post-Crisis antimatter universe's Earth called General Grodd who is a member of the Justice Underground. He is a freedom fighter from a militaristic ape nation.
In the Flashpoint timeline, Gorilla Grodd has succeeded in overthrowing Solovar and taken over Gorilla City. Gorilla Grodd began a campaign to control all of Africa. Despite his conquest to be a great success, Gorilla Grodd feels unfulfilled since none of his enemies have been able to prove a challenge to him and the war between Aquaman and Wonder Woman has overshadowed his actions, constantly frustrating him. He soon begins to feel bored by his accomplishments since they prove far too easy for him and often lets his enemies live, hoping for them to become greater challenges in the future. He also decided to begin a campaign to control Europe, knowing perfectly well that this action will make him a target for the Atlanteans and Amazons. Gorilla Grodd arrives at the scene to attack during the Atlantean/Amazon war.
In other media
- On the ABC animated series Challenge of the Super Friends, Gorilla Grodd (voiced by Stanley Ralph Ross) is one of two Flash villains (along with Captain Cold) that appear as members of Lex Luthor's Legion of Doom. It should be noted that this version of Grodd, though highly intelligent, never displays telepathic abilities. In "The Time Trap," Grodd creates a method of time travel, which the Legion of Doom apparently uses other times. In "Revenge on Gorilla City," Grodd hatches a plot to take control of Gorilla City and use its citizens to conquer the world.
- Gorilla Grodd later appeared in the Super Friends short episode "Two Gleeks Are Deadlier Than One", again voiced by Stanley Ralph Ross. He and Giganta capture Gleek and replace him with a robot duplicate in order to infiltrate the Super Friends and learn what they are planning. In "Revenge of Doom," Gorilla Grodd was seen with the Legion of Doom when they got back together.
- Gorilla Grodd was mentioned in passing by the character Nightshade in the episode titled "Deadly Nightshade" of the live action Flash TV series from the early 1990s. He was a crime boss in the 1950s who worked out of Central City's Helltown, and was an adversary of Nightshade. Also, in the last episode, the chief of police in Central City wears of costume of a gorilla, which could be a reference to Gorilla Grodd.
- Gorilla Grodd appears in Justice League voiced by Powers Boothe. Contrary to stereotypes, this version hates bananas and resents being offered them. In his first appearance, the two-part episode "The Brave and the Bold", Grodd is a fugitive from the secretive Gorilla City, a spurned would-be tyrant who vows vengeance on his fellow primates. Maintaining an e-mail relationship with Central City scientist Dr. Sarah Corwin, he comes to Central City to cloak the metropolis in a similar shield as Gorilla City's. This provides him a hidden base from which to launch a nuclear assault against Gorilla City, while he controls the populace of Central City with his mind-control helmet. While the League hurries to stop the bombs, Flash, Green Lantern, and Solovar (re-imagined as the head of security for Gorilla City rather than its ruler) rush to defeat Grodd himself. Grodd becomes incapacitated when he tries to use the mind-control helmet on Flash, not knowing that Flash had switched around various wires at high speed. Later in Gorilla City, Grodd is shown in a zoo-like prison cell, appearing as though he were brain damaged. As the League and Solovar depart from the area in the last few seconds of the episode, the camera zooms in on Grodd's face as he comes to his senses and gets an angry look on his face.
Grodd's return in "Secret Society" showcases a different side of the villain. No longer focused on Gorilla City, Grodd becomes an opponent to the League as a whole. With his loyal follower Giganta, he recruits Killer Frost (who simply enjoys murder), Parasite (who hates Superman), Shade (who Grodd offered to become a master criminal), Sinestro (who has a hatred for all Green Lanterns), and Clayface (who Grodd promised to find a way to restore his human form) to make a sort of anti-League dubbed the "Secret Society". Revealed in this episode is that Grodd's accident with his mind-control helmet has given him mental powers, which he utilizes in this story as a subtle type of tampering with the League's emotions. Having watched the League via secret cameras for weeks, Grodd manipulates their feelings until the Leaguers start lashing out at each other and end up walking away from the team. Having separated them, Grodd tries to capture each Leaguer and invades a football halftime show to try to do away with the heroes publicly, only to be foiled by J'onn J'onzz, who frees his teammates after impersonating Clayface. The Society battles the League one last time, but fails to beat them and subsequently, Grodd is defeated by Superman.
- In the first season Justice League Unlimited episode "Ultimen", Giganta teams up with Bizzaro in an attempt to break Grodd out of prison, only to be defeated by Wonder Woman and Long Shadow, a member of the Ultimen (Grodd does not actually appear in the episode, however). In the second season, Grodd (voiced again by Powers Boothe) turns up as the leader of an expanded Secret Society (based more on the Legion of Doom). As he describes it, the new Secret Society is a sort of co-op for supervillains with each free to act on their own, but (for twenty-five percent of their spoils) able to call in help should they need it against the expanded League. After having the Secret Society seek out various valuable artifacts over the course of the season, Grodd reveals his master plan: to turn every human on the planet into an ape. The plan however is thwarted by the Justice League, and an unimpressed Lex Luthor usurps Grodd's position as the new leader of the Secret Society. Obsessed with reclaiming the god-like power he briefly tasted when merged with the now-destroyed Brainiac, Luthor keeps Grodd prisoner in the Secret Society's headquarters in the hopes that he will reveal how to reconstitute the living supercomputer from the last remaining fragment. When he attempts to probe Grodd's mind, bad fortune leads to Lex switching minds with the Flash, who has a psychic resonance to Grodd's mind due to once being under his control. With the discovery that Brainiac had a base in deep space that was subsequently destroyed (see "Twilight"), Luthor has the Secret Society refit the headquarters for space travel, promising them a place of leadership in the new order with himself as absolute ruler. Because of Luthor's heavy-handed leadership and romantic disinterest, the spurned Tala eventually releases Grodd, who then arranges a mutiny with many other villains. Grodd and Luthor eventually finally find themselves alone together and engage in fisticuffs. Grodd attempts to use his mind-control ability on him. However, Luthor had anticipated this and turns Grodd's power back on him, giving Luthor control of Grodd. Luthor forces him to step into an airlock after first humiliating him. Grodd is released from Luthor's mental grip and then shot into space, all the while screaming threats of revenge, but as Grodd ends up in the vacuum of space, he is most assuredly dead.
- Gorilla Grodd first appears in the Batman: The Brave and the Bold episode "Terror on Dinosaur Island!" voiced by John DiMaggio. He and his ape followers plotted to devolve the human race with an E-Ray from their headquarters on Dinosaur Island. They ran into conflicts with Batman and Plastic Man. With Batman devolved to an ape, Plastic Man helps the Ape-Batman fight Gorilla Grodd and his servants. When the E-Ray is activated, it evolved the humans (Batman put the E-Ray on reverse when Gorilla Grodd was not looking) back to their natural state. It even evolved Gorilla Grodd to a human who ended up incarcerated at Iron Heights in the end, planning his revenge. He was later shown in "Day of the Dark Knight" escaping Iron Heights (still in human form) and attempting to attack Batman, but stopped by Green Arrow. Gorilla Grodd has a heroic counterpart in a parallel universe in "Deep Cover for Batman!". This version resembles Solovar. Batman almost punches the counterpart but stops short and explains "You look like someone I know." The original Grodd (now a gorilla again) joins Owlman and other villains in "Game Over for Owlman!". Grodd and the Question are caught by Equinox in the teaser for "Mystery in Space". Batman rescues Question, but leaves Grodd hanging by the flames. He also makes a small appearance in "Legends of the Dark-Mite". He is summoned by Bat-Mite to prove Batman's mettle in combat, but apparently was reading. He is quickly replaced by Solomon Grundy. Later, when the Bat-Mite decides to assume the role of Batman himself, Batman talks the Mite through an encounter with Grodd (who is disposed of by slipping on a banana peel, a play off of JLU Grodd's oft-noted distaste for the fruit). Grodd is Batman's primary opponent once more in the episode "Last Bat on Earth" in which he travels to a post-apocalyptic future. There, he takes command of an army of intelligent apes and uses superior technology to defeat their opponents, a city of similarly-evolved tigers. (It is revealed that Grodd takes great offense to people calling him a monkey or a chimpanzee). Batman pursues Grodd to this time, where he enlists Kamandi's help in defeating Grodd. At the end, Grodd is trampled by his retreating forces, and is taken back to the present in handcuffs with Batman. Grodd later appears in the episode "Mayhem of the Music Meister" attempting to steal a new communications satellite alongside Clock King and Black Manta. They are confronted by Green Arrow, Aquaman, and Black Canary, but are forced to sing and dance due to the Music Meister's harmonious hypnotics. They are later saved and defeated once freed from the Music Meister's control, and are sent to Arkham Asylum, where they later participate in the Drives Us Bats song, where it is revealed that he has a tire swing in his cell. Grodd appears briefly in the episode "Sidekicks Assemble" as a holographic opponent for Robin, Speedy and Aqualad to fight. Grodd returns as the primary adversary of Batman, Detective Chimp, B'wana Beast, and Vixen in the episode "Gorillas in Our Midst", forming an alliance with Monsieur Mallah and Gorilla Boss to create an ape army called G.A.S.P (short for Gorillas and Apes Seizing Power) to take over the world. Gorilla Grodd captures an undercover Detective Chimp in their lair, and later captures a rescuing Batman, revealing both a ploy to capture Gotham City and an obsession with Batman in the form of a utility belt, proclaiming he has had it for years, he just simply has not worn it. He and his gorilla army later invade Gotham and face off against B'wana Beast and Vixen, who his gorilla army captures and places in a zoo. They later recapture an escaped Batman and Detective Chimp when they return to Gotham City and attempt to rescue it, only to be defeated when they use B'wana Beast's powers to both escape and to empower Batman with the form of a Bat-Griffin. He has a quick non-speaking appearance in "Requiem for a Scarlet Speedster". Batman and the Flash (Barry Allen) team up to take him down, indicating that Grodd was mainly an adversary for the Flash before the latter's disappearance. Later, he appears in the last episode "Mitefall" to transform people into bananas and eat them. He is defeated by Batman and Aquaman.
- Gorilla Grodd makes a small cameo in Justice League: New Frontier. The government made a robot copy of Gorilla Grodd in a plot to capture the Flash.
- Gorilla Grodd appears briefly in the animated movie Superman/Batman: Public Enemies where he has a small role mind-controlling the same villains he used in the comics to capture Superman and Batman. Brian George is credited to voicing Grodd.
- Gorilla Grodd is featured in the video game Justice League Heroes voiced by Neil Kaplan. A robot double of Brainiac frees Gorilla Grodd from his prison so he can take revenge on Gorilla City for imprisoning him.
- Gorilla Grodd is the first boss in the game Justice League Heroes: The Flash. He attempts to take over Keystone City with cyber-gorillas and other robots provided by Brainiac, but is stopped by the Flash.
- Gorilla Grodd appears in Batman: The Brave and the Bold – The Videogame as one of the villains, with John DiMaggio reprising his role.
- Gorilla Grodd makes an appearance in DC Universe Online voiced by Jens Anderson. He appears as a boss in one of the many solo instances. When the players have defeated Ultra-Humanite on Gorilla Island, Gorilla Grodd is shown watching the outcome from his base where he states that Ultra-Humanite is no true ape. In the hero campaign, the players infiltrate Gorilla Grodd's lab in order to rescue Flash. After the player and Flash defeat Gorilla Grodd he escapes. In the villain campaign, the players help Grodd fight the Flash and the original Flash during a raid at S.T.A.R. Labs. He is supported by Gorilla Brigadiers, Gorilla Grenadiers, Gorilla Lieutenants, Gorilla Marksmen, Gorilla Scouts, Gorilla Smashers, Gorilla Soldiers, Gorilla Technicians, Gorilla Troopers, Grodd's Pounders, and Captain Shortly.
- Gorilla Grodd appears in Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes through downloadable content. He is voiced by Travis Willingham.
- Gorilla Grodd makes a cameo appearance in Injustice: Gods Among Us. He is an interactive character in Stryker's Island. He also appears as a support card in the iOS App.
- Gorilla Grodd appears in the direct-to-video DC Super Friends: The Joker's Playhouse (2010) voiced by Phil LaMarr.
- Gorilla Grodd appeared in issue #18 of the comic book tie-in to Young Justice. This version is a Kobra venom-enhanced gorilla that was experimented upon by Brain and Ultra-Humanite where his strength and intelligence were enhanced.
- Beatty, Scott (2008), "Gorilla Grodd", in Dougall, Alastair, The DC Comics Encyclopedia, New York: Dorling Kindersley, p. 141, ISBN 0-7566-4119-5, OCLC 213309017
- Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew #20, November 1983
- Martian Manhunter Annual #2, 1999
- Flash vol. 2, #193 (February 2003)
- Birds of Prey #23
- Salvation Run #3 (March 2008)
- Salvation Run #4 (April 2008)
- Salvation Run #7 (July 2008)
- Final Crisis #4
- Final Crisis: Resist one-shot
- The Flash (vol. 4) #8 (April 2012)
- The Flash (vol. 4) #9 (May 2012)
- The Flash (vol. 4) #10 (June 2012)
- Flash Annual (vol. 4) #1
- Flash Vol. 4 #23.1
- "DCU | Heroes and Villains". Dccomics.com. 2010-04-21. Retrieved 2011-01-16.
- JLA Secret Files 2004
- Flashpoint: Grodd of War one-shot (June 2011)
- Flashpoint #5 (August 2011)
- Alan Kistler's Profile On: The Flash
- Hyperborea entry for Gorilla Grodd
- Crimson Lightning - An online index to the comic book adventures of the Flash.
- Gorilla Grodd at the Internet Movie Database