Review: Planet of the Apes #1


Humans and apes have been living on the Earth side-by-side for ages as the dominant species of the planet. While ape society is on the verge of a golden era, human society seems on the wane.

And now the venerable Lawgiver, friend to human and ape, is dead, assassinated apparently by a masked human with a weapon the apes have never seen nor heard of before: a machine gun!

With the balance of society toppled, a great vacuum is created and soon will begin … the Long War!

When BOOM! Studios announced it was reviving the continuity of the Planet of the Apes film series and hiring famed novelist Daryl Gregory to craft the before-history of the franchise “1,200 years before a man named Taylorfell from the stars,” I had my doubts. I grew up on and loved most of this series, which I always called “Caesar’s World.”

But with the coming of Planet of the Apes #1, Gregory has indeed captured the unique drama and feel of the Apes movies – so much so it is indeed startling to see humans actually walking around and talking in these declining days of their society.

There is murder most foul and a mystery afoot, one which threatens to bring apes and humans into conflict. And for the first time there may also be fear dripping from the brows of the gorillas as, it is believed, some human or humans have delved into the past and manufactured a new style of weapon (at least to the apes) called a “machine gun” along with new ammo. (Caesar, of course, had sealed the last weapon of man in the Armory of Mandemus ages before.)

With this first issue put to bed, I have high hopes for this new series, and there are so many things in the future we know whose echoes and origins can be explored here. I am especially anxious to see some of the Forbidden City and its nuclear bomb worshippers, always one of my favorite areas of the mythos.

Some of the art by Carlos Magno is a bit stagnant and in one panel or two I would have had trouble telling ape from man were the strip in black and white. But for the most part, the musty odor and dusty trails of that movie franchise world has been captured wonderfully here. Kudos to colorist Juan Manuel Tumburus on his subdued hues, which really reflect the movie makers’ vision for this alternate Earth.

The Long War should be a fun one. I anxiously await what Mr. Gregory has to show us.