In Review: Planet of the Apes: The Simian Age #1

Three different ape tales from three different time periods that are incredibly engaging.

The covers: There are a pair of covers to pick up as the world continues to change. The Regular cover is by Fay Dalton and John Keaveney and looks sensational. This features Ursus from the original film back-to-back with Caesar from the recent trilogy. With a snarl, Ursus raises his hand to emphasize his words, while his other hand holds a pistol. Before him is the Statue of Liberty with Taylor racing by it on horseback, while a chimpanzee and gorilla on horseback watch. Caesar holds a rifle and looks upon the Golden Gate Bridge as another ape spurs his horse to rear up. Gorgeous imagery. The Variant by Mike Allred and Laura Allred is a humorous piece with the filming of the first move taking a break. A chimpanzee sits in a chair reading his script, a gorilla takes a call, while another chimpanzee sits in the director’s chair with a camera behind him. Two humans are on the set, both in motion capture suits. Funny, but I prefer my Apes covers to be serious. Overall grades: Regular A+ and Variant C+

The stories: The first of three stories is the ten pager “Mother of Exiles” by Jeff Jensen. Set after the events of the original Planet of the Apes, the protagonist Amy has put herself into self imposed exile after she and her family suffered a harm. Jensen’s story explains that she’s always lived within the Statue of Liberty, even seeing Taylor and Nova. Why she lives alone is revealed as she finds someone else has come upon her doorstep. The ending is sweet. Next up is “Apex” by Matt Kindt, which is also ten pages long. This focuses on gorilla Apex going through training under General Ursus and having a revelation after he and his unit come under attack by a pack of humans. It’s always interesting to have a story told from a gorilla’s point of view and this has a neat twist at the end. The last story is the twenty page tale “Cloud and Rain” by Rayn Ferrier. This is set before Rise of the Planet of the Apes. The two lead characters are chimpanzees Cloud and Rain, who have an encounter with a human that does not go unnoticed by Koba, who is in charge while Caesar is gone. Great tension that reinforces why Koba is a character for all to fear. This story ends with a major moment in ape history. Overall grades: “Mother of Exiles” B, “Apex” A, and “Cloud and Rain” A+

The art: “Mother of Exiles” is illustrated by Jared Cullum is beautiful watercolor work. The settings are recognizable and the characters are great, with them, especially Amy, emoting perfectly. Only narration accompanies this tale, so the visuals are absolutely key in telling the story and completing the tone of the text. The final page made me smile. Matt Smith is the artist on “Apex” and this resembles typical comic book visuals. I love the gorillas in Apes works and seeing these simians train and work together is really cool. I like how Apex’s reactions to events change his demeanor as the story progresses. There’s a great action sequence and the full-paged splash that ends this story is fantastic. The backgrounds aren’t very detailed or are absent from the majority of “Cloud and Rain” illustrated by Lalit Kumar Sharma. This puts me in a disappointed mood while reading a comic, but the characters emote so beautifully in this tale, I can’t knock it too much. I was completely taken by the two title characters and Koba is absolutely monstrous. Overall grades: “Mother of Exiles” A+, “Apex” A, and “Cloud and Rain” A-

The colors: “Mother” is colored by Cullum in very light colors and I loved it. Amy stands out on every page in the darkest colors of any panel or page, her backgrounds are faint, but do contain color. The other character that she encounters is also colored lightly, but there is a good reason for this individual to be so. “Apex” is colored darkly by Joana Lafuente. The story focuses on a gorilla and his peers, so this didn’t surprise me. What did surprise me was how well Lafuente did these dark colors, creating very tense scenes at night, but not so dark as to make the art muddied. A great job. Gabriel Cassata colors “Cloud and Rain” in fairly drab colors, but these suit the woods where the apes are trying to live their lives away from human. Koba is a mass of darkness who demands the reader’s attention every time he appears. There is also very bright red for some startling moments. Overall grades: “Mother of Exiles” A+, “Apex” A+, and “Cloud and Rain” A

The letters: Ed Dukeshire is the sole letterer for this book, responsible for narration, dialogue, and sign language translations (all three are the same font), story titles, story credits, yells, sounds, and sounds. I was disappointed that the narration, dialogue, and sign language are in the same style, differed only by the shape and colors of the balloons and boxes that contain them. It makes sense that dialogue and sign language translations would be the same, but the two stories that employ narration should have had the letters physically look different. Each story has its own unique title and credits which makes each a smooth transition to a new tale for the reader. The sounds in the final story are outstanding. Overall grade: A-

The final line: Three different ape tales from three different time periods that are incredibly engaging. This is the perfect companion piece to The Time of Man comic. Each tale will thrill Apes fans and the visuals are great. Here’s hoping that BOOM! continues with these collections. Overall grade: A

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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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