In Review: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes #2

The art is so dark it considerably hinders any enjoyment the story can provide. Very disappointing.

The covers: Two choices for you to crawl out of your cage and purchase. The Main is by Christopher Mitten. This has a gigantic ape head shown screaming to the right superimposed over the wreckage of a human building. Walking toward the building is a character in robes. Nice image, but the coloring is just too pale for me. Some primary colors would have improved this considerably, because as this is it will be lost on the shelves. The Variant cover is by Hazard Graffiti. I’m not a big fan of graffiti, so this doesn’t appeal in the slightest. It’s a sad person’s face covered over by the scrawl of an ape’s screaming face, with only the human’s eyes left. There’s some writing at the bottom, but it’s so hard to read it’s completely ineffective. If no one can read it, no one will care. Overall grade: Main B+ and Variant F

The story: Picking up from last issue, Pope, who makes Koba look like a pussycat, is leading two other apes on a search party for food. They find a house and begin to empty the stocked kitchen. Unfortunately its two occupants return, catching the apes red handed. Jeremy has a rifle, which he levels at the apes. Liz gags, believing all the food that they’ve saved has now been tainted by the apes’ touch. His finger quivering on the trigger, Jeremy says, “You’re just spreading your disease, killing more humans. Let me do the world a favor.” But before readers can see what this couple does, writer Michael Moreci returns the story to Rita, Malcolm, and little Alex. They’re on the road seeking shelter for the night and find a place. The two human stories overshadow the apes, though one tale is obviously going to influence an ape’s later behavior. In fact, there’s more of a threat for the first issue’s family from something other than apes. This was a better issue than the previous because Moreci has established the players and their situations and can let his imagination run wild. And run wild it does. There’s a brief scene with Caeser, but it’s Rita and Malcolm’s tale that runs this issue. Very enjoyable. Overall grade: A

The art: It’s very difficult to see the art with the coloring being this dark. Having finished the issue, I would rather this had been in black and white than colored so that I could see more of what Dan McDaid contributed. The most difficult scenes to see are sadly the ones with the apes. These are the money shots for this book and if I can’t see the apes, why am I bothering to buy this? It’s like watching Alien and never seeing the title character. The scenes involving the humans are easy to discern, but I felt constantly like I was being cheated because I couldn’t clearly see what was going on with the title characters. Overall grade: D

The colors: It’s too darned dark–it’s that simple. Colorists have used a variety of shades to connote darkness without making a page dark. I’m surprised and disappointed Jason Wordie didn’t do that for this installment. Yes, the book is set at night, but Wordie excellently brightens pages when humans have working lights available to them. He should be able to brighten things up. Unless, and this is a scary thought, the art is so poor he’s doing the readers a favor by keeping it so dark. These are not the thoughts a reader should have. Overall grade: D

The letters: Dialogue, sounds, yells, and ape English are created by Ed Dukeshire. I had no issue with anything he did and am happy he created a new font for when the apes spoke like humans. Overall grade: A

The final line: The art is so dark it considerably hinders any enjoyment the story can provide. Very disappointing. Overall grade: C

Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer's Guide for several years with "It's Bound to Happen!" and he's reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He's taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.
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