REVIEW: ‘Planet of the Apes,’ Issue #1

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Planet of the Apes #1 - But Why Tho

Planet of the Apes #1 is a new comic by Marvel Comics, written by David F. Walker, art by Dave Wachter, colors by Bryan Valenza, and letters by Joe Caramagna. With the Simian Flu leading to confusion and hate towards apes, there are different opinions on how to handle them. Some humans want to save and protect the apes, while others want to eradicate them.

This first issue has a great structure, with a cinematic feel to the story. The opening is almost iconic within the franchise, as chimpanzees are experimented on in a lab. A lot of history and exposition follows, but that is necessary given the world-building within that universe. It’s important to know where we are in the timeline of the war. Here, it is after the revolution, but humans still have the control. There’s a power imbalance, and sides begin to push against each other. Four years have passed. The comic does bounce between locations and years, but Walker provides context and dates to help keep track of things. There are some situations in this first issue that raise the tension, with settings such as a plane adding a lot of interesting attributes to this story. It does feel like the opening act of a movie. The final page may be expected, but it also leads to a lot of excitement.

How the characters are used in this comic will be fascinating going forward. The humans in Planet of the Apes have always been secondary. It is the apes that have driven the franchise and property to great heights. But Planet of the Apes #1 does introduces a broad spectrum of human characters. It creates the potential for separate arguments. There is a thematic sentence uttered throughout the book: “The apes can’t understand you.” It’s brilliantly implemented as you know there is an answer coming.

The art is also fantastic. The question of whether the apes will be able to carry a book based on their personalities and characters alone is answered by the magnificent art style of Wachter. The detail on the faces of the apes is incredible. The recent movies needed Andy Serkis and motion capture technology in order to generate facial expressions, whereas Planet of the Apes #1 has one phenomenal artist. That terrifying, dark stare from Caesar is always haunting, but every face is perfect at creating emotion. The action could be considered brief in this first comic, although there are three different instances. There isn’t a huge sense of motion from these, but the spectacle and explosive nature is there. The large splash pages used for these moments help elevate the cinematic quality of the issue.

The colors are sublime. Valenza goes for both a natural and stylised approach. The tones aren’t exaggerated but are also not entirely realistic, beautifully contrasting with each other. The brushstrokes are especially intricate, and there is extraordinary detail on the apes in particular. The lettering is brilliant, but special mention has to be given to the directional balloons used for the sign language.

Planet of the Apes #1 is a superb adaptation of the supreme Simian story. Every creator involved in this brook terrifically captures what makes a Planet of the Apes project great. Walker takes the tone and societal questions the story posits, also tapping into the horror parts of the franchise, and the artists pick up the blend of bestial and human facial expressions. It feels faithful to the franchise yet trying to delve into places that some of the movies haven’t tapped into yet.

Planet of the Apes #1 is available where comics are sold.

Planet of the Apes #1


Planet of the Apes #1 is a superb adaptation of the supreme Simian story.

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