In Review: Planet of the Apes/Green Lantern #1

An excellent start as one ape gets a power ring.

The covers: There are nine covers for this first issue and there really is something for every fan to love. The Regular cover is by frequent Green Lantern illustrator Ethan Van Sciver, with colors by Jason Wright. A single ape arm emerges from the bottom center of this cover, as green energy wraps around it, revealing a green ring on one of its fingers. Several famous green lanterns have arrived to see this new lantern revealed, including Hal Jordan, Kilowog, Guy Gardner, and John Stewart. Van Sciver is an incredible artist who puts lost of details into his work, and this cover shows it, with all the line work coming out of the ring. The colors are also strong, with plenty of greens, but also a slick orange background to make those emeralds pop and make the brown hair of the ape arm stand out. The Movie Variant cover is by Steve Morris and it’s excellent! Cornelius, dressed as a green lantern, is on his knees on the beach. Before him is an enormous broken power battery, with the head of Sinestro looking down upon him. This is a great take on the iconic ending to the original Apes film. The blues and violets used for the night sky and Sinestro give it an eerie feeling. The Classic Variant cover is by Paul Rivoche with design by Scott Newman. This is a new take on the classic Showcase #22 cover, with Cornelius wearing a lantern uniform, using his ring to try and stop the ship Icarus from crashing onto a beach. In the background on said beach, the Statue of Liberty can be seen. This, too, is an excellent cover–classic and fresh! The Spectrum Variant cover is by Felipe Massafera. This is a WOW! of a frontpiece. This features Cornelius, front and center, in his lantern uniform, showing the reader his ring proudly. Behind him is every conceivable green lantern. This looks terrific. I thought I was looking at an Alex Ross cover, but this beauty is by Massafera. The Action Figure Variant cover comes courtesy of David Ryan Robinson, with character portraits by Rod Reis. This cover resembles a carded figure from the Classic Mego line. In fact, Robinson has made the card look aged by having several folds on it. This has Cornelius in full lantern uniform, flanked by upcoming figures in portrait: Zaius as a Yellow Lantern, Ursus as a Red Lantern, The Lawgiver as a Blue Lantern, Zira as an Indigo Lantern, and a mutant as an Orange Lantern. This is sensational and I’m looking forward to seeing the rest of this line. There’s a Wondercon Variant by Elsa Charretier with colors by Nick Filardi, but I couldn’t find a copy of it anywhere online. Sadly, I have to say the same about the Emerald City Comicon Variant cover by Gabriel Hardman, who is one my favorite artists, with colors by Jordan Boyd. There’s also a Comicspro Variant cover, again by the insanely talented Massafera, but, again, I couldn’t find an image of it anywhere. Thankfully, I was able to find the final cover, the Unlocked Retailer Connecting Variant cover by George Perez, with inks by Jerry Ordway and colors by Blond. This cover will connect with a variant for Issue 2. From the spine, a statue of the Lawgiver can be seen, bathed in green from Mogo who is over him. Two scenes are coming out of the power battery that lies before the Lawgiver: John Stewart battling gorillas in Ape City and Hal and other green lanterns battling Star Sapphire, Sinestro, and members of the Sinestro Corps before the Statue of Liberty. This is gorgeous in every possible way and I cannot wait to see how it looks when joined with the next issue. Overall grades: Regular A+, Movie Variant A, Classic Variant A, Spectrum Variant A+, Action Figure Variant A+, and Unlocked Retailer Connecting Variant A+ 

The story: On a desolate alien world, a cloaked figure chants some alien words toward bound and gagged Arkillo, Bleez, Star Sapphire, Saint Walker, a member of the Indigo Tribe, and Larfleeze. Yellow energy erupts from this individual’s hand, causing all the lanterns to fall back. It even throws the cloaked figure. Far from this planet, a blast of yellow energy spews out, making its way through space. It finds its way toward a desert portion of Earth and Nova goes to the crater when it fell. A hand reaches for her from behind and it’s Cornelius. He thought the explosion might have been related to Taylor who’s missing. He ventures into the crater and finds something. This is a quick introduction to several characters of this book, conceived by Robbie Thompson and written by Justin Jordan. As with last year’s Star Trek/Green Lantern team-up, this book is equally fun. What Cornelius finds will change his life, and possibly Ape City’s future as well. Zira appears in the story to ground Cornelius in the here and now of his world, but his scientific nature can’t let him leave the artifact he’s found alone. How the green lanterns are brought into the story is clever, as is who the cloaked figure is revealed to be. What the artifact is seems very similar to another currently in use in the DC Universe; in fact, another one just finished out in Green Lanterns #14. I like how Hal is introduced to the ape world and what Cornelius does with his artifact on the final page is awesome. This story has a lot of potential and Thompson and Jordan look as though they’re going to pack everything into this. Overall grade: A 

The art: Barnaby Bagenda is the artist on this book and he melds both of these franchises together neatly. He captures the grandeur of the lanterns very well. The first three pages introduce the reader to the characters’ cosmic nature and the terrible power of the cloaked character. When the lanterns are shown again, on Pages 8 – 9, they are instantly identifiable and battle gloriously with their rings. Bagenda really shows that he can draw super heroes when Hal battles the book’s antagonist. As impressive as these scenes are, it’s with the apes that I was really wowed. The desert setting that appears on 4 – 6 is great. They might sound odd to mention, but the mountains that make up the background look exactly as one would expect if familiar with the Planet of the Apes films. Nova looks child-like, yet strong. Cornelius and the other chimpanzees are nice. Considering that the actors had to perform in those fairly non-moving masks in the films, Bagenda has captured their likenesses and gets a considerable amount of emotion out of them. I really like the close up on 6 in the second panel shows a side of the character that hasn’t been seen before. I also like Cornelius’s lab; full of many instruments, seemingly primitive but high tech for the apes. The large panel at the bottom of 18 is sweet; it’s a scene that always appears in Ape stories, but Bagenda really makes it work. Also working well is the reveal on 19 — love that third panel! The final pages has a jaw dropping scene, with the violence being a shock, but even more is the crowd’s reaction. This is really well done, since the dialogue is minimal. I’m really looking forward to what Bagenda will do on this series. Overall grade: A

The colors: The colors on this book definitely increase the mood of every page. Lantern books must have extraordinary colors to make their energy and constructs look powerful and Alex Guimaraes does this superbly. The opening three pages explode with yellow energy that is definitely otherworldly. The colors of the real world (Okay, real for this series) come to life once the story turns to the apes’ world. The desert setting looks real with the colors and the characters receive excellent depth with the shading Guimaraes gives them. Reds and oranges look amazing on the lantern pages, as does yellow when its wielder is revealed. The coloring ups the tension on the penultimate page, when one color dominates the final panel. This is a terrific lead in to Page 22, which uses some dramatic coloring against a beautiful blue sky. Guimaraes was the right choice for this book. Overall grade: A

The letters: The cloaked character’s odd alien dialogue, sounds, dialogue, a Red Lantern’s unique outburst, ring dialogue, a scream, a character’s weak speech, yells, and the tease for next issue are crafted by Ed Dukeshire. I loved the opening figure’s alien speech. The sounds are also excellent, punctuating all the actions, especially across Pages 16 and 17. The yells on the final pages are really powerful, leaping out of the page to slam the reader as hard as the characters around the speaker. Overall grade: A

The final line: An excellent start as one ape gets a power ring. The story is faithful to lanterns and apes and the visuals are strong. This combination of characters is extremely fun and should please fans of both franchises. 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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