This comic isn’t for everyone, I understand that. Some people out there don’t dig on apes riding zeppelins and aiming Gatling guns down at the filthy humans below. Some people can’t see the aesthetic value of such an image, and as such, some people are wrong. This book manages to weave between honouring the classic flick from which this all stems (because it’s clearly the cultural touchstone and not Pierre Boulle’s source material) and then not being a slab of cheese like the many sequels. This book makes me care about the Planet of the Apes again in a time where I wasn’t certain anything new could.
This issue opens with the continuation of Nix and his terrible white troops descending upon a group of humans only wanting to work and be productive. Nix is a nasty ape and you can see he’s going to create more carnage than resolution in this book. He’s the alpha ape of war who knows only destruction; creation is not to be trusted. The resolution to this crisis is too simple, and even a character admits that. But it’s a true end, for now, to that problem. Not every battle ends in bloodshed, sometimes a truce is called not to fix it all but to simply put things off. The humans lick their wounds, they really aren’t the strongest creature in this world.
The mute Chaika carries herself tall and this really is her issue. She wants to scream against the system but that’s hard to do without a voice. She’s angry and smart and that’s exactly what a revolution needs to start. The scene in the church where the bomb is the center of worship is just the right blend of creepy but hopeful. You want to believe what people say, you want to trust the master plan, but in the end it is only the actions of people you can truly trust. You can think one thing of Chaika but you also have to take her on what she does. This issue gives you both sides to this intriguing character but there is still more to come.
Carlo Magno’s art brings life to this world. He doesn’t leave panels empty and characters acting in negative space. The background has depth, it has life, and so this comic comes across as a complete tale. He draws a mean ape as well as some very different humans. There’s a blend of heroic and creepy humans populating Skintown and the apes are also well differentiated. It also helps Magno knows how to make an action sequence pop on the page. He nails the spectacular moments and gives gritty and realistic details to war.
“Planet of the Apes” is a fascinating book of political intrigue with some fantastic scope and brutal battle components. There’s a great story being started in this arc, and Daryl Gregory seems to have enough reverence and intellect in him to make this book one of the best licensed properties on the stands right now. It’s a smart book with slick action and characters that already demand attention. If you like the original movie, and even some of the sequels, then this book is right up your anthropomorphic alley.