Kong On The Planet Of The Apes #1
There’s a new Apes comic out and that’s a reason to be excited. It seems like forever since a new Apes comic was out (Last month, War for the Planet of the Apes issue 4) but I’m a lover of the Apes so I get excited every single time.
However, this is another in Boom! Studios crossover lines which have been a bit hit and miss in recent years. There was the Star Trek/Apes story which was quite good, fun and unapologetically nostalgic. Then the more recent Green Lantern/Apes mix which was less successful, narratively speaking. Although I only read the first few issues and am not really a DC fan so it may prove to be more popular with a different audience. And that is one of the problems I have with these; instead of been all inclusive, they tend to skew towards one of the crossover franchises at the expense of the other. This in turn can turn a large part of the readership off.
However Kong on the Planet of the Apes is very Apes centric. It’s almost like a retelling of the King Kong story but with Apes instead of Humans. This works in the comics’ favour for most of the first issue as it is a sequel to the original (Apes) movie with occasional nods to a movie that most people should know (even if not actually seen). The narrative is designed for fans of the Apes franchise and Ryan Ferrier (writer) appears to know the characters inside and out. Each of the movie favourites have a part to play and they are indistinguishable from their cinematic counterparts.
As I have stated, the story follows on from the end of the original movie, with Doctor Zaius instructing the Gorillas to destroy the remains of the Statue of Liberty. It has become a symbol of the destructive past of Mankind and must be eradicated to protect Ape society. But into this setting a newer, bigger problem washes up: The carcass of a giant Ape.
The franchise regulars are called in to, at first, investigate the body and then embark on a journey of discovery. If you’ve seen King Kong you can guess how this first issue plays out. Despite this obviousness to the narrative, Ferrier still has fun with the script and manages to use the familiarity in his favour.
The rendering of the characters is wonderful, accurate and intricate in every way. Each panel and page is highly detailed by Carlos Magno whose style captures the 70’s feel of the movie series. Add to this the immaculately referenced colour palette by Alex Guimares and you have a comic that fits perfectly into the Apes franchise.
One of the artistic achievements of this comic is the sense of scale that Magno gets into the panels. His depiction of the beasts, especially the giant Ape corpse, in comparison to the regular characters is immense. The bloated, bloody body barely manages to fit into any of the panel frames and when a part of the body is featured it manages to draw the reader’s attention to it. Whether in the foreground or background, the overwhelming size of the body dominates the illustrations, just as the enormity of the discovery dominates the life of the Apes.
I may not be a big fan of the crossover titles but when they are produced with this level of skill I can be converted. Kong on the Planet of the Apes issue 1 is a fine addition to my Ape collection and it is exciting that there are still 5 more issues of this title to come.
Kong on the Planet of the Apes is published by Boom! Studios, written by Ryan Ferrier, illustrated by Carlos Magno and coloured by Alex Guimares.
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Life long comic book reader, collector, and reviewer.