Friday, September 30, 2011

Planet of the Apes (via Boom Studios)

For prose, I have been reading Tim Willocks' The Religion, which is great so far.  But it is a thick, meaty read, so I've been knocking off some comics when I don't have time for a deep reading session.

Somewhere I had read about the new Planet of the Apes comic from Boom Studios, and read that it was set in the timeline of the original movies.  Even though I am a huge ApeHead, this information slipped to the back of my mind (as did the new movie, The Rise of the Planet of the Apes, which I have not yet seen.)

I was at the comic store, and spotted the back issues on the shelf, and figured, why not?  I bought the first issue.  I bought #2 & #3 the following week.

I'm glad I did.  I like this comic.  It remains faithful to the original setting, while creating its own niche.

The artwork is very good.  Enough detail and some nice looser designs where appropriate.

The story works within the original timeline, but the creators are able to mix in some newer elements while remaining true to the PotA universe.  Set in the timeline after Battle for the Planet of the Apes, the promise of a peaceful coexistence of apes and mankind is deteriorating.  There have been a few wars already between apes and men.  In the cities, humans are being marginalized, living in ghettos. Through some mutation, some of the new generation of humans are born mute.  There are also religious bomb worshippers.  This, of course, dovetails nicely with where the timeline ends - one group of humans deteriorated to mute savages while another group become powerful telepathic mutants.

The technological level is mixed.  Some ancient - and therefore ironically more advanced - weapons are in circulation.  The apes themselves are not very adept at creating such guns, though they do have some flintlocks.  They have dirigibles, too.

Enough of the timeline and setting.  The story deals with the assassination of the Lawgiver in the city of Mak.  The tragedy for both groups is that this Lawgiver, in particular, was one of the last to truly believe and work toward ape and human equality.  To all appearances, a human committed the crime.  The apes threaten violent action to bring the killer to justice, if the humans don't find the killer first.

The story features strong female characters, both simian and human.  The males aren't shabby, either.  The story of the Nix, the gorilla, is intriguing.  He believes in equality but he also believes humans don't believe the same for apes.  He buries his conflict under devotion to his duty - he will always do what it takes to get the job done.  In the past, this put him in prison as a war criminal.

There are many elements in this storyline.  And, they are all juggled deftly (so far.)

By the end of the third issue, the killer is revealed to the reader, which I assume will move the story from mystery into action.  There are three issues left to this storyline; "The Long War" ends in issue 4, there is apparently a coda tale in issues 5 & 6.

 I'll be buying the rest of this story.


  1. Sounds great, I always loved the concept (if not the execution of APES) and comics may be where it can best be realized.

    I'm looking forward to your review of THE RELIGION too, thats one I've been meaning to add to my ever growing TBR pile.

  2. David, the graphic novel collection is due out in a few weeks. (I know you prefer those - normally, so do I.)

    Apparently, a second series will start up soon, Betrayal on the Planet of the Apes. Some of the covers are already at the Boom site.

  3. I like the art. I just picked up The Essential Killraven. Looking forward to getting into it.