The tension between humans and apes spikes as both sides make preparations to gain ground in the increasingly bloody social and political struggle. In this issue we spend a lot of time with various humans following their attempts to even the score against the repressive and domineering polices of the ape race. Characters like Bako, Wyn and Brother Kale shine in the second chapter of the second arc of the series and strengthen the title as a whole.
The most significant scenes are the flashbacks to what happened at the human city of Delphi a generation before the current events. Gregory and Magno team for some of their best panels of the young series as they introduce the reader to what has made the rebellious Bako such a hardened revolutionary. The look back details the vicious attack on the part of apekind, and man’s last stand before their eventual positioning as a second-tier population in the world of Planet of the Apes. Magno’s depictions of these war scenes are fierce, emotional and remarkably detailed. His distinctive, thin-lined style seems to improve with every issue and colorist Moore does an excellent job approaching the story in a way that is evocative of the original movies.
It wasn’t until I started reading this series that I realized how influential those legendary films from the late ’60s and early ’70s were to crucial in starting my deep love of fiction. Even though they were way before my time I remember being enamored by the franchise as a kid, thinking how cool the initial concept was and how it spun into so many different ideas that manifested in the respective movies. Even now, after a critically acclaimed summer blockbuster and this BOOM! Studios series, the Planet of the Apes franchise is still a ripe place for ideas.
The brand has always been fertile ground for stories with heavy political overtone, and this is played up tremendously through Gregory’s recounting of the city of Mak and its “human problem.” As human newborns are increasingly losing their ability to speak, and others who worship a bomb choose not to the de facto leader, Sully (with child!), has been forced to direct her people to a more violent means of uprising. On the other side, the H.A.I.C, Voice Alaya, has moved to open internment camps to pacify and industrialize the human population, particularly the most unruly. The picture painted of the world hundreds of years before the opening of the 1968 movie is a complicated, moody one, and it’s probably best that Charlton Heston is floating around in a spaceship during the time of this story.
While I have been a fan of the direction and execution of this series it should be noted that is has failed to blow me away. Every issue has been decent to good, but none have been terrible or great. As the narrative explores the human characters more, and we begin to see the monkeys become increasingly menacing, I have become more invested in the ongoing battle between the two sides. Still, it’s hard to get excited for a group of people you know will eventually relegate to living in the woods, picking fruit off trees, squatting in the bush and not being able to say a damn word about it. None of that is the creative team’s fault, they are working with the hand dealt, but we know the humans are fighting a battle they eventually lose. That doesn’t make for a very happy reader.
Despite the gloomy destiny of the continuity this book is a great read for Apes fans like me. The world Gregory, Magno and Moore have created in the pages of this on-going is the perfect blend of the backwards, dusty environment in the original movie and the modern world we live in today. Right now, this comic is a very good read, but its still unknown if it will evolve beyond a compliment to the franchise and into a crucial chapter of it.
Jamil Scalese is just like you — an avid comics fan and lover of sequential art. Residing in Pittsburgh, PA, he is an unapologetic Deadpool fan, lover of the Food Network and proud member of Steelers Nation.