I’ve got to be honest, I’ve never been in love with the whole Planet of the Apes “thing.” The first movie is excellent, of course, but beyond seeing the disappointing Burton reboot in theaters, I never got the motivation to watch the other movies, TV show, read the comics, or even get jazzed about the – reportedly excellent – recent preboot.
I’m not going to tell you I’m a total convert based on BOOM!’s ‘Betrayal of The Planet of the Apes #1,’ but I will say it’s a pretty damn solid comic book.
A large part of that credit probably has to go to Gabriel Hardman, who not only provided the art for the issue, but also co-wrote it with Corinna Bechko. The story is solid enough, and even those who have less Apes knowledge than me will be able to follow along. Basically, there’s this world where apes are the rulers, and humans are slave beasts. The story centers around a scientist who has started to teach a human sign language, which is directly against ape law… And how it starts to cause a schism in ape society.
From there, things get worse for both our ape heroes, and our humans, and those readers who are fans of both political thrillers, and scifi will be in hog heaven. NOTE: “All Apes Go To Hog Heaven” is an entirely different animated series, and we’ll discuss that at another time.
Point being, it’s a fun romp with easy entry points for new readers, and enough of an interesting scifi world, with shout outs to the movies and lunchboxes and whatnot to also keep older readers engaged. What raises this to the next level, though – and this should be no surprise to anyone familiar with his Marvel work – is Hardman’s art, along with Jordie Bellaire’s nuanced, noir inflected coloring. More than the rubber suits of the movies, Hardman manages to impart an incredible amount of expression in his apes, and ably draws landscapes from rocky cliffs, to an ape city, to the inside of a hut with ease.
His action is also incredibly dynamic: a marketplace chase jumps off the page, and is fraught with tension, all building up to a surprising splash page worthy of framing.
When it comes down to it, if there had never been any movies, any books, or anything Apes before, this would still be a good, solid, exciting comic book. That’s the mark of a, well, good comic… But it’s also the mark of a great adaptation. I may not head out to the discount theater right now to watch Rise of the Planet of the Apes… But I’ll definitely be getting my damn dirty hands on issue two.
That is, if they don’t blow it all up, first.
By which I mean, the comic book store.
BETRAYAL OF THE PLANET OF THE APES #1 hits comic book stands this Wednesday, Nov. 2nd, 2011. Please do NOT blow up your local comic book store.