Brandon Borzelli’s Geek Goggle Reviews
Exile On The Planet Of The Apes #1 Of 4
Bechko, Hardman & Laming
Boom’s second mini-series that leads up to the events of the original film hits this week with an issue that sets up the latest problem, and delivers a terrific cliffhanger, to bring you back for more next month. The book captures the look and mood of the original film perfectly. The interesting component of this issue is that the events take place 18 years before the movie, but with the cliffhanger it really is hard to imagine how we get from point A to point B. The joy is reading that story’s execution and it continues in this comic book.
This issue gives a nice status quo check at the beginning, which will help any reader that missed the first mini series. For the most part, humans are banished from the city, but some remain in order to be experimented on. To complicate matters, an Ape, has taught a human how to communicate with his hands (since none of the humans can talk) and that leads to smarter humans with rebellion on their minds.
The opening pages show how the crafty humans are raiding the Ape City and are now mounted on horseback. Eyewitnesses relay this information to the Ape brain trust and they are all shocked, to the point of disbelief, at these events. Prisca, is the target of the accusations, led by Zaius, mostly because she works closely with the humans already. The book introduces a lot of mistrust among the apes and potentially a traitor among the ranks. It’s a very good set-up issue.
The primary problem that this issue presents that isn’t immediately answered is about the double standard towards humans. If humans are banished from the city then why would any Ape be allowed to work with them? What would the ultimate goal be from working with them? The other issue is how difficult it is to tell the characters apart.
Hardman is an excellent artist. There is no question that the pencils and the story flow all work well here. However, the choice, by either the script or the artist, to not make the various apes a little distinguishable makes it a little tough to tell who is who panel to panel. I’m not suggesting anything radical either. Earrings, bracelets, neckties or any number of accessories would have helped a lot. Overall, I love Hardman’s work and this issue is no different.
Planet of the Apes is generally thought of as a niche genre. I’m not sure I can convince a non-fan to pick this up, especially if they aren’t some level of science fiction fan. However, this story definitely sets up like a politically driven prelude to war comic book. And I think anyone that likes these kinds of stories, regardless of their background in the Planet of the Apes universe, should give this issue a try.
3 out of 5 Geek Goggles