In Review: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes #3

I can't continue to follow this book with these visuals.

The covers: The Main cover is by Christopher Mitten and it’s a gorgeous close-up of Pope and it’s spectacular. I love the look on his face and the coloring only intensifies his glare at readers. This is tee shirt worthy. The Variant cover is by Hazard Graffiti with the image of an ape holding a rifle with the words “Man is a Nuisance” sprayed over it. Spooky image, but doesn’t really have anything to do with this issue. Overall grades: Main A+ and Variant C-

The story: If you’ve been wanting more ape action in this series, go no farther than this issue. There’s lots of ape action, not to mention plenty of drama with Malcolm and his family. Michael Moreci’s story begins with a group of apes living in what’s left of a zoo. Their life is fine until the arrival of Pope and his crew who attack them. The outcome of this battle is a surprise, but not the comment that comes at the bottom of Page 5. The story then turns to Malcolm, who wakes up in some type of military complex. I’ve read enough end of the world comics to know that when any type of military group enters the book certain things are to be expected. What happens with Malcolm is not surprising and neither is the offer put to him by the leader of this group of people. Much more interesting is what’s happening with Pope and his apes. I loved how his minions muttered among themselves about what was going on, and the vicious leader made interjections into their conversations. Page 9 is an excellent example of this, and if that page wasn’t strong enough, the next page is like a kick to the gut. I was unsurprised by all of the action on Pages 20 and 21. This threat was hammered heavily, so its arrival is expected. What happened to one individual on 21 was also expected, as it too was hammered earlier. Moreci has a character say this will happen and it does. Not much tension with this plotline. However, the apes’ story is sensational. If you felt bad for the humans in the films or comics, this will make you feel sad for another group. I’m hoping to see the ape and human storyline meet up again, because one is far more interesting than the other. Overall grade: C+

The art: I’m still having major difficulties with the art by Dan McDaid. It is exceedingly difficult to tell the good apes from the bad apes in the opening battle and where the apes are in relationship with each other. Several apes in this section, and in others, have their faces shaded entirely in black. This style had me wonder if it wasn’t done so that McDaid could finish the page sooner. Sloppy action panels don’t help either, such as in the third panel on Page 4 or the second panel on 5. The humans don’t fare much better. Malcolm’s arms are bigger than his head: Page 7, panel four. In close-up Malcolm and Shavers look like they came out of the classic Akira comic book. On page 11 Shavers joins Malcolm with having a head that could fit in his arm muscles, panel four. McDaid also does his own sound effects, Pages 18 and 19, but there are very sloppy and only draw attention to the primitive state of the art. This would be a better book if the visuals were done by someone else. Overall grade: D- 

The colors: Blasé browns, tans, mustards, pale pea greens, and faded oranges do not help the art. Evidently all primary colors disappeared from the world when apes gained intelligence. Brighter colors would have made both ape action scenes intense, but as they stand now they resemble something someone would find on a Magnavox television made in the 1970s. Unbelievably disappointing work from Jason Wordie. Overall grade: D-

The letters: Human dialogue, ape dialogue, and sounds are crafted by Ed Dukeshire. I wish he had been allowed to do all the sounds in this book. Overall grade: B

The final line: I can’t continue to follow this book with these visuals. This could have been so much better. Overall grade: D+

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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