Thursday, August 21, 2014

TRULY GONE & FORGOTTEN FOES : SUPER-GORILLAS PART TWO



Super-Gorillas Part Two
The second of DC’s super-gorilla-centric anthology titles, Super-Heroes Battle Super-Gorillas No.1 (Winter, 1976), suffers from the absence of a Wonder Woman story, in my opinion. The Flash, Superman and Batman all return with monkey nemeses all their own, but it’s like a gorilla sausage party in here! You ever been to a gorilla sausage party? It’s the latest in foodie get-togethers. ANYWAY. Gorillas, GO!

Haha, his little hands!
The Super-Gorilla from Krypton
The story opens with Daily Planet cub reporter Jimmy Olsen receiving a chauffeured trip around modern-day Africa and having it described to him “rapidly yielding to civilization” and the whole time it’s really hard not to notice that there are no black people anywhere on the whole page. His white tour guide and their white driver tell Jimmy “Darkest Africa isn’t what it used to be” and you can’t help but get what they’re saying, you know? Like, a super-gross “nudge nudge,” it’s getting really civilized around here, you get what I mean, civilized” and it’s messed up. Also in the background of one scene there’s a diner called “Noogas” and I am not having it. ::storms out of room::

Naturally, Jimmy can’t travel ten feet without stumbling across some remnant of Krypton. In this case, it’s a giant golden gorilla hanging out in the middle of the jungle, and the damned thing’s got super-powers! “MotherFUCKER,” thinks Jimmy, “I’d better use my motherfucking signal watch to motherfucking summon Superman.” Those are quotes so you know it’s transliterated precisely.

Racing to combat the super-gorilla – nicknamed King Krypton because Jimmy Olsen is where wit goes to die – Superman discovers a nearby rocketship and assumes that the beast must have been rocketed from Krypton as a test animal and therefore survived the destruction of the planet. Well, Superman, what do they say about assuming things?
Oh, this is odd.

Yes, the simple version of the story would be that the gorilla had been rocketed into space, but that ain’t it! After Jimmy, his guide and driver, Superman AND the gorilla have been captured by a lost tribe of Kryptonite-wielding Roman warriors – descendants of Roman soldiers once stationed in Africa, although I’m curious how they procreated – it’s revealed that the gorilla isn’t a gorilla at all! In fact, he’s a human being who was transformed into a gorilla. Oh, okay, case closed, next story.

It’s revealed that the fella in question was a Kryptonian scientist who, with his colleagues, invented an evolution ray. The dumb thing backfired and turned him into a gorilla, but luckily his partners knew exactly what to do – shoot him into space! Unprotected against the ravages of radiation, he’d eventually turn back into a human. The kryptonite has the same effect, and also it kills him dead which is sort of what I assumed his pals were trying to accomplish by sending him into space in the first place.

We never learn the Kryptonian scientist’s name, by the way, and also no one ever follows up on the lost Roman tribe in the middle of the African jungle. Next time they should send a couple reporters.

Now he'll be able to just
disappear into the crowd!
Grodd Puts the Squeeze on Flash
The Flash’s home town of Central City is overcome by some sort of ray which makes everybody move at super-speed, but at the cost of their normal human lifespan. Oh well, that’ll lower the rent anyway.

Simian supervillain Grodd claims responsibility for the phenomenon and blackmails Flash into freeing him from the monkey prison they put him in back in Gorillaville. Also Grodd appears to be the only gorilla in prison in South Gorillasburg, which makes me wonder if they have any other sort of gorilla crime. Maybe they’ve got a Scandinavian model of work-release and rehabilitation, or maybe most of the gorilla criminals do white collar crime. Probably they got pals in monkey government, get reduced sentences, end up at country club prisons. The ony evil gorilla they ever incarcerate is the one who makes attacks on the human world. I mean, follow the money you guys…

It actually turns out that Grodd didn’t cause the super-speed effect and it is, in fact, something that sometimes just happens because of the sun? Sometimes the sun makes it so everyone in a single city speeds up until they die? What kind of SPF do you use to block that? Also, the sun sounds really dangerous.

Anyway, turns out Grodd was just monkey-bluffing, which is a phrase I choose to keep close to my heart for all time. In return for his tomfoolery, the Flash basically just drowns him for the most part, problem solved!

The Gorilla Boss of Gotham City
Batman and Robin are pretty excited about the state-sanctioned execution of the criminal named Boss Dyke, a tough character who never bothered stealing anything less than a thousand dollars. That was the guy’s MO, that he didn’t ever steal like five bucks. Always big numbers, this guy, never stole anything less than the cost of a modest mid-range couch.

"He's broken. Fix it, daddy."
The Dynamic Duo would be less excited about the whole affair if they knew that Boss Dyke had arranged to have his corpse retrieved and his brain put in the body of a fifteen-foot tall gorilla. Then again, if they’re anything like me, they didn’t even know that was an option. They never mention it at the funeral home. I’ve buried both of my parents, and the only options they ever gave me was internment or cremation. “Have their brains placed in the body of a fifteen-foot gorilla” might not necessarily have topped my list, but it would have been nice to have the option. How better to remember them?

Transferring his consciousness to a titanic ape is only the first half of Boss Dyke’s insidious plan, all of which he is forced to spell out in frankly lovely handwriting for the benefit of his villainous crew. Yes, after he manages to steal a million bucks, Boss Dyke wants to have his brain transferred out of the gorilla head and into – Batman’s body! And he’s going to put Batman’s brain in the gorilla body, which seems like merely asking for trouble. It’s a tantalizing mental image though, not merely the idea of a costumed, caped and cowled giant gorilla fighting crime in the guise of a bat, but the idea of him trying to maintain his dual identity regardless of his situation. “Bruce,” says Kathy Kane, “I know you enjoy wearing that oversized gorilla costume to emulate your hero Batman, but enough is enough!”

At some point, Batman and Robin notice that the crimes committed by the giant gorilla focus on rewards worth more than a thousand dollars, and manage to put together that it’s Boss Dyke having done some sort of Freaky Friday thing with a huge ape. Somehow THAT becomes the method by which Batman undoes Boss Dyke’s criminal gorilla (or “goriminal”) career, plus at the very end the guy who performed these surgeries goes nuts off-panel and Robin tells us he’ll never operate again. Sad news for the post-mortem giant gorilla internment industry.


3 comments:

cup king said...

Do you think Grodd's hometown cinema is currently showing 'Dawn of the Planet of the Humans'?

cup king said...

I'm hoping the doctor gets some kind of Life Time Achievement Award from the the post-mortem giant gorilla internment industry body (which is probably the PMGGIAoA, since the ACPMGGI went bust due to accounting irregularities).

It's worth attending just for the speeches.

cup king said...

How many Kryptonians escaped the explosion of their entire planet? There are dozens landing on Earth alone. If you factor in how many other planets there are, I'm guessing Jor El and....um.....Wife of Jor El (I've done no research) are the only ones who actually died. And even they came back as holograms.

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