Brandon Borzelli’s Geek Goggle Reviews
Planet Of The Apes #1
Gregory & Magno
Set 1,200 year prior to the original movie where the apes (and other primates) rule the world, this opening issue moves into some fertile storytelling territory as the apes and humans are coexisting. This issue sets up a good plot that introduces a couple of strong characters. The tricky part of telling a story this far in the past of known continuity is that the reader knows that the humans eventually lose out. This issue manages to convincingly tell a story where it is believable that man and ape are equal. This is a strong first issue in what looks like a promising series.
The plot of the issue is that a wise, old and political ape known as Grandfather is murdered by a masked assassin. The assumption is that the killer is a human. The evidence is in the weapon that was used. The gun was a newly created automatic weapon that closely resembles those produced by man years before. The case against humans seems overwhelming.
The issue really centers on two characters: Alaya, a female ape, and Sullivan, a pregnant human. Both have ties to Grandfather aka the Lawmaker and both are mixed up in the politics of their people. The parallels of the characters seem on the clichéd side but they work in this scenario because the stakes don’t quite seem to be on the level of destroying one side or the other, but more of local unrest. This arc seems to be a step in the direction of man being seen as the lesser of the two.
The tension in the issue is illustrated very well, both pictorially and verbally. The apes throwing out the slur of “Skintown” instead of Southtown is just one example of the subtle confrontations in the issue. Generally speaking, the issue doesn’t go too many panels without some level of distrust shown in the artwork. This, to me, is the strength of the art throughout the issue. The world has plenty of characters looking over their shoulders or making dirty looks at members of the other races. Add in that the artwork builds up a terrific looking glimpse at this universe where the two sides coexist and we have quite a lot to digest in this first issue.
The Planet of the Apes has had so many avenues to the franchise in the decades since its inception but this seems like one that that has possibilities and seems rather unexplored. The question that comes out of the first issue is whether or not this arc will continue to move in the direction of physical confrontation or will the arc stall into decompressed storytelling, such as the direction for so many books these days. I hope the series keeps up a high level of fast-paced storytelling. The first issue brings together a plot, interesting characters and diverse universe. I definitely recommend checking this issue out.
4 out of 5 Geek Goggles