DC Database

"Fear": When Barry Allen was a kid, he developed a fear of gorillas when he was on an African safari, and his tour bus was flipped by one. With stunned horror, he had watched that gorilla tear out the throat of a nearby gazelle. He had seen how violent a gorilla could be.

Quote1 We are all afraid of something, Barry. There are things that scare us so bad that we feel like cowards. But the thing is being afraid is normal. It's more than normal... it's necessary. There is no courage without fear. Remember, Barry, it's okay to be afraid. So long as you don't let it stop you. Quote2
Nora Allen

The Flash (Volume 4) #9 is an issue of the series The Flash (Volume 4) with a cover date of July, 2012. It was published on May 23, 2012.

Synopsis for "Fear"

When Barry Allen was a kid, he developed a fear of gorillas when he was on an African safari, and his tour bus was flipped by one. With stunned horror, he had watched that gorilla tear out the throat of a nearby gazelle. He had seen how violent a gorilla could be.

Now, the Speed Force has dropped him in the midst of a vicious battle between the Gorilla Grodd and his father. The younger ape defeats his elder, smashes open his skull, and begins devouring his brains in the hope of gaining his father's power from it. With this, Grodd is now King of Gorilla City. The gorillas' attentions are drawn to the strange human's arrival in their city. The elders point out that he bears the symbol of "The Light", which indicates that he is a messenger who must be honoured. Unfortunately, Barry can't remember who he is, let alone a message. This suits Grodd fine, as he would much rather consume Barry's brain as dessert.

Somewhere, lost in the Speed Force, Iris West examines one of the wings from the Flash's uniform, and introduces herself to her companions. Their sense of time has become confused, but they hope that one day, the Flash will get them home. Suddenly, a loud growling sound fills their ears, and they sense imminent danger.

Meanwhile, in Central City, Hartley Rathaway visits his lover David Singh, with the intention of returning to his vigilante persona of the Pied Piper. David is no more pleased by this revelation than he is the possibility that he will be outed as a gay man by Hartley's presence. Hartley can see through his lover's anxiety for what it is - fear. Even so, he lets David keep his secrets. The experience flusters David to the point that he agrees to let Patty Spivot take a leave of absence to solve a cold-case without question.

In the mountains of Gorilla City, the elders discuss their options. It is clear that the city cannot be kept a secret for much longer. It is foretold that Grodd will expose the Gorilla City to the world of men, just as the messenger's arrival was foretold. The messenger's arrival signals the end of the gorillas' time. In order for the world to survive, the gorillas must allow their own society to perish, so that the messenger might live. They will have to set the messenger free before Grodd decides to kill him. Unbeknownst to the elders, one of Grodd's guards is listening.

Barry has been chained to a great golden pillar in the middle of the city. He wonders aloud why he has been chained, if he is supposed to be a messenger of the Light. His guards explain that the pillar is a symbol of the Light; a lightning rod for the same power that brought him to them. His ignorance prompts the gorillas to doubt his authenticity. Suddenly, the elders club the guards over the head and drag Barry away, promising to explain who he really is.

In the caves below the city, the elders show Barry cave paintings which show the city's history. A great light hit the Mayan civilization and wiped them out. That same lightning hit the gorillas and sped up their minds, allowing them to see past, present and future. With each new generation, though, the Gorillas have been losing their connection with the Light. That light - the Speed Force - showed the gorillas that one day they would have a visitor, who would be its perfect vessel. Barry is not the messenger - the gorillas are the messengers. He is the runner, and with every stride Barry takes, he keeps the world safe with the power of the Speed Force. His destiny is to run for all the world's sake.

Grodd appears and smashes the elder's heads into the wall, declaring their story lies. He can smell Barry's fear of him, and by devouring his brain, Grodd will taste it, and hopefully gain his power. Pinned to the wall by Grodd's giant fist, Barry remembers his childhood and the safari experience. His mother had taken him aside afterwards, explaining that fear is nothing to be ashamed of. From fear comes courage. It is something to be overcome. Barry remembers his true identity, and faces his fear.

As Barry fights Grodd with renewed vigour, the gorilla's rage-filled attacks begin to cause structural damage to the caves. He destroys a load-bearing pillar, which causes the courtyard in which the lightning rod stands to collapse on top of him. Barry and the elders escape, but Grodd is buried.

With Grodd left unconscious, the elders take the opportunity to explain that Barry must be let go free from the city, in order to save the world. Grodd's greed and thirst for vengeance will be their downfall, otherwise. Without their destinies fulfilled as messengers for the Flash, the gorillas feel purposeless. Barry explains that they are now free; free of their destiny and free of any responsibility to him. They can remake their city if they like, or they can fade away.

Later, Patty takes her leave of absence in South America, hoping to solve her cold case. Somewhere in the same continent, Marco Mardon faces a powerful rainstorm, and vows that his Mardon Family Cartel will one day have such a powerful reach that even the weather will bend to their command.

Barry returns to Central City, and wonders how he will give a sign that the Flash has returned to the city. He is surprised to find that his friend Dr. Darwin Elias has taken up leading a group of protesters against the Flash.

Appearing in "Fear"

Featured Characters:

Supporting Characters:


Other Characters:







  • The lens on the camera in the first flashback sequence is labelled Garrick Piotr Limited

See Also

Recommended Reading

Links and References