Overview

Planet of the Apes #1

Review

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Planet of the Apes #1

Credits

  • Words: Daryl Gregory
  • Art: Carlos Magno
  • Colors: Juan Manuel Tumburús
  • Story Title: "The Long War, Part One"
  • Publisher: BOOM! Studios
  • Price: $3.99
  • Release Date: Apr 27, 2011

The classic Planet of the Apes franchise was born just a little before my time, so I never really got what all the fuss was about until many years later. I do remember watching a marathon of all the original movies once but that was a while ago and they’ve all pretty much bled into one. So it was without a set of preconceived notions or high expectations that I approached BOOM! Studios’ in-continuity prequel to the original film series.

Writer Daryl Gregory and artist Carlos Magno succeed in creating a lush world set in an industrial golden age in ape society, fueled in large part by the labor of human wage slaves. An award-winning science fiction novelist, Gregory takes his world-building seriously. Peppering his story with enough canonical references to satisfy hardcore fans, Gregory still manages to create something new and exciting within the confines of the established universe. By drawing parallels to similar socio-economic traits evident during the Industrial Revolution, Gregory lays the foundation for a rich and expansive era in the franchise’s history.

Populated by well-developed characters with distinct personalities, speech patterns, and motivations, Gregory’s ability to draw people into his world through its inhabitants is remarkable. The backstory unfolds so naturally through the course of dialogue and narration that it feels as if we’ve lived amongst the primates of Mak for decades.

Gregory’s collaborator, artist Carlos Magno, a recent graduate of the Green Lantern Corps, pulls out all of the stops in his gorgeous interpretation of the script. Each panel is packed with minute detail, creating a sense of the overcrowded city of Mak. Despite this feeling of claustrophobia, Magno’s visual storytelling is clean and crisp, buttressed by fluid transitions and smart, simple page designs. If I have one criticism of Magno’s art it’s that his rendering of humans is fairly standard. Technically sound, they nonetheless could be the inhabitants of any comic book universe and I didn’t feel as if they were as distinct as the rest of the primates or their shared setting.

A surprisingly fun and intelligent read, Planet of the Apes is perfect summertime fare and an exciting introduction to a classic sci-fi franchise by a writer at the peak of his abilities. While I likely won’t rush to the comic store every month to pick up each new issue as it hits the stands, I will drop my hard-earned dollars for the inevitable trade paperback.

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