Here’s an interesting fact about the DC universe that you may not know: It features not one, not two, but three prominent super intelligent Gorilla villains in its universe. I have no idea why this is the case, but I’ve always thought it was interesting. Another weird aspect of this is how different they all are. Ya, they’re all evil genius gorillas obviously, but their inceptions and backstories are very distinct. These 3 apes all developed independently of each other from different writers, which makes it extra strange that separate DC writers kept going to this “brilliant ape” well. Gorilla Grodd, Monsieur Mallah and the Ultra-Humanite are big hairy apes who can kill you with their bare hands or some elaborate death trap. Here’s some basic things about them.
Gorilla Grodd is your typical scumbag wannabe despot. Granted with extraordinary intelligence through unnatural means, Grodd immediately set to work to become a War Lord without parallel, but I guess he’ll have to settle for being a Flash villain. The fact that he did become so outrageously evil after gaining intellect brings up some interesting questions about the role intelligence plays in humanity’s status as the most morally reprehensible race ever to walk the Earth. On the flipside, other genius gorillas in Grodd’s ape society (did I mention DC has a thing for brainy primeapes?) being more altruistic speaks of our potential to do good. However, it’s very likely that Grodd’s creators were just big fans of Planet of the Apes and wanted to write something based on that. Fun fact about Grodd though: He’s got a thing for human women. Moist.
The Ulra-Humanite was originally supposed to be Superman’s arch-nemesis. No I am not joking, this guy as a human was the original Lex Luthor and the first supervillain Superman ever fought. He was created as Superman’s opposite, with a disabled body, but a diabolical and twisted mind he used to do evil. Eventually however, he became less and less important to the Superman world and was pushed out of his original role with the arrival of Lex Luthor. The Ultra-Humanite however found a second life as an albino gorilla when his mind was transferred into the body of one. He has all the intellect he possessed before, but with the very able body of an enormous gorilla. One last thing of note with him: Isn’t his supervillain name incredible?
Monsieur Mallah is anything but typical. He’s the loyal henchman to a megalomaniacal supervillain sure, but he’s also at the centre of DC’s most powerful gay love story. In a way, he’s a bit of an unintentional fusion of Gorilla Grodd and the Ultra-Humanite. An evil scientist sought to transfer his mind to that of an enormous ape, but at the last second decided against it and amplified its intelligence instead. That scientist would later lose his body in a horrific explosion, and that gorilla he made into his personal assistance, Mallah, saved him by preserving his brain in a containment device. Together they act as one unit, Brain and Mallah, and eventually this partnership blossoms into a romance of the ages. Besides being so delightfully weird, this romance works so well because it examines how even two beings that are so different from each other can form a connection if they simply have a means of communication. It is perhaps the least superficial love story ever.
These 3 magnificently hairy characters aren’t even the only brilliant prime apes DC has to offer. There’s also Detective Chimp, who is literally a talking chimp that works as a detective, and many more. It’s stuff like this that keeps me firmly in the DC camp despite them constantly taking losses from Marvel at the box-office (and rottentomatoes). I’m not saying DC is better than Marvel because it has so many genius gorillas, but I’m also not not saying it too.
Quote of the Day:
Flash: Me, The Flash? You’ve, like, totally lost it, Grodd. I’m Lex Luthor!
Gorilla Grodd: And I’m Charlton Heston… dolt.