While BOOM! Studios has had no shortage of talented creators delivering quality stories for the “Planet of the Apes” license, there is just some extra special in Daryl Gregory’s writing on “Planet of the Apes,” the original title for the comic franchise. Perhaps it was the method Gregory chose to build the world or the time period in which to create a new world. Whichever the case, Gregory’s tales were exceptionally enjoyable and wonderfully entertaining.
I didn’t quite realize until I cracked open the cover just how much I missed the characters of Nix and Sully and even Voice Alaya. Gregory had built up a cast of recognizable and relatable characters that immediately feels comfortable once again. Given that it had been nearly half a year since I had read “Planet of the Apes” #16, it took me a little while to reacclimate to the characters and setting, the plot and subplots, but Gregory provides enough in “Planet of the Apes: Special” #1 to refresh and inform readers and fans of the franchise.
The other noticeable absence that hit me right away was the change of artist from Carlos Magno to Diego Barreto. While quite competent and even very good, Barreto’s work is more gestural and open than Magno’s, which works for the narrative contained in this issue: the attack of the humans against the city of Mak. The apes’ capital city is already in turmoil and upheaval as this story opens, which is the natural time for a rebellion to rise up. Barreto’s heavy use of shadow coupled with Darrin Moore’s colors heat up the rebellion, but in doing so also rob the world of light and safety. More cartoon-inspired than Magno’s work, I found myself drawing comparisons between Barreto and Carmine Infantino, right down to Barreto’s rendition of the Golden Khan bearing passing resemblance to the Gorilla Grodd drawings of Infantino’s past.
“Planet of the Apes: Special” #1 is a nice interlude, reminding readers what they’ve been missing while providing more “Planet of the Apes” product alongside Corinna Bechko’s and Gabriel Hardman’s “Planet of the Apes: Cataclysm.” This issue ends on a cliffhanger, tagged with the extra promise of “To Be Continued…” I just hope we don’t have to wait another half-year for more “Planet of the Apes” from Gregory.