In Review: Planet of the Apes/Green Lantern #2

Must reading for fans of apes or lanterns.

The covers: Six different covers you shouldn’t have to go through the Forbidden Zone to find. The Regular cover is by Ethan van Sciver, with colors by Jason Wright. It’s a great image of Hal, Guy, Kilowog, and Arisia powering up before two gorillas who snarl as they bring their rifles to the ready. The lanterns are buff and the gorillas awesome. The coloring on this is also really strong, with the details on all the characters looking life like. The Movie Variant cover is by Robert Sammelin. This is a gorgeous re-imagining of the original Beneath the Planet of the Apes poster, but features Sinestro (resembling Mark Strong from the Green Lantern movie) and Dr. Zaius in place of Ursus and a mutant. This pair is separated by Cornelius and Zira, rather than Brent and Nova. Taylor has been replaced by Hal. This is incredible and has to be a print or poster! The Classic Variant cover is by Paul Rivoche, with design by Scott Newman. This resembles the cover to Green Lantern #52, but with Cornelius in Hal’s position and Zaius wearing yellow in Sinestro’s position. The top of the cover even features the checkerboard design. This cover looks excellent and does Gil Kane proud. Felipe Massefera is responsible for the Spectrum Variant cover and it’s the image I chose to accompany this review. Complimenting last month’s cover, this features Zaius wielding a yellow ring, surrounded by several savage members of the Sinestro Corps. This is also an amazing cover and one to track down. The Action Figure Variant cover is by David Ryan Robinson, with character portraits by Rod Reis. This looks fantastic! A yellow suited Zaius, complete with power battery, is just flat out awesome, as are the six portraits to his right. I’ve got to track down a copy of this for myself! The final cover is the Unlocked Retailer Connecting Variant cover by George Perez, inked by Jerry Ordway, and colored by Blond. This is the left half of the cover that was one of the variants for Issue #1. As Taylor and Nova try to make their way on a raft past the astronaut’s sinking ship, Atrocitus is held by Kilowog’s ring. In the mutants’ chapel, the last of humanity reveal their true faces, while their sonic abilities hold Guy, Arisia, and Tomar-Re, while Soranik battles Star Sapphire. Four Guardians at the bottom of the illustration look at the reader. The center of the image (the far right) makes up the rest of the Lawgiver statue and Mogo. Wow! Epic, simply epic. Overall grades: Regular A, Movie Variant A+, Classic Variant A, Spectrum Variant A+, Action Figure Variant A+, Unlocked Retailer Connecting Variant A+

The story: Things escalate quickly in the second installment of this series, conceived by Robbie Thompson and written by Justin Jordan. Hal has landed on a beach with an iconic statue buried before him. A staff pokes him, waking him up. He rises, seeing that it’s an ape holding the weapon. He’s told by the simian to be quiet, which prompts him to rip the staff from the ape’s hands, only to have another gorilla raise a rifle and tell him to stop. He confidently raises his right fist, brandishes his ring, and says, “I’m not here to…fight?” The ring does nothing. He’s hit in the back of the head by the first ape and is taken away by the creatures to Doctor Zaius. Meanwhile in the mutants’ underworld, Cornelius, who has a working power ring, finds the body of imprisoned Taylor, whom the mutants killed. His suit glows with red energy, but after tossing a mutant aside, changes to green as he enters the cell. Changing to blue, he kneels before his dead human friend and says, “…I failed you. I knew this world was ugly. But I didn’t understand what we were. I didn’t know the corruption ran this deep. I am truly sorry.” He then demands to see something the mutants treasure and things occur. What Cornelius does on Page 7 is going to cause immense trouble for this Earth. Complicating things are a trio of lanterns from the DC Universe who find the means to track down their missing friend. The story returns to Hal’s plight, who finds himself reliving some of the terrors that Taylor encountered after being captured by the apes. Two of the simians’ leaders hatch a plan, but it, too, is complicated by the greatest threat to the Green Lantern Corps. As if things couldn’t get worse, one of the DC characters decides to get the assistance from another character that left me howling for joy. This issue builds the tension tremendously, with some nice surprises. When these characters meet and Hal gets his ring rejuiced, things are going to be explosive. I can’t wait! Overall grade: A 

The art: The art on this issue hails from Barnaby Bagenda. Things start strongly, but as the book progresses the visuals become very loose. The opening page is fine, establishing Hal on this different Earth and the ape coming up to him, though in the final panel it looks as though he’s going to drink from a waterskin. The reveal of the ape on 2 mimics the reveal of the gorilla from the classic film. All the simians on 2 and 3 look good, though Hal’s face is a little odd, due primarily to his vulcan-like eyebrows. The four pages focusing on Cornelius and the mutants are beautiful. The mutants are perfect and the chimpanzee looks outstanding. The emotions that this ape shows to the reader are a solid match for the text. The actions that he takes on 7 make him god-like, and not unlike that of a certain yellow lantern. The scenes on Oa are good, with the design of the Guardians, and their individual differences, particularly striking. Pages 12 – 14 are good, with Hal looking much better. The close up of the character in the fourth panel on 13 is really excellent. However, starting on 14 and going through 15, this character looks considerably different, as if he were rendered by a different artist. The appearance of an infamous character on 20 is good, but the angle at which his character is shown hides too much of him. And what’s up with the character at the bottom panel of the penultimate page? He looks nothing like he did earlier in this issue. The final page is the only full page splash of the issue and it looks magnificent. This is a good page to end the issue on, but the visuals get really different three quarters of the way through the book. Overall grade: B-

The colors: A high point for this issue are colors by Alex Guimaraes. The sky of the opening three pages is fantastic: it’s not crystal clear blue, but a blue most associated with the beach. The different shades of tan used for the beach and the mountains that surround it are also beautiful. The sun, partially hidden by an ape atop Page 2 is sensational. A reader will find him or herself squinting at its glare, much like Hal. The pages set in the mutants’ lair were also strong: Cornelius’s different colored suits and the superb blending of colors to create flesh are stand outs. Oa employs a blue-green color to give it a royal, yet futuristic feel. The shading of a famous orangutan’s yellows are also extremely well done. The reds, yellows, and oranges in the first panel on 20 up the excitement level of the action considerably. The final page’s colors are dark, to create a threat, but bright enough for any reader to see who it is that’s being looked up. A very strong job on every page from Guimaraes. Overall grade: A+

The letters: Dialogue, a yell, a scene setting, and the tease for next issue are Ed Dukeshire’s contributions to this issue. There’s no need for sound effects this issue, as ring slinging is pretty much taken off the table by the story’s direction, so that leaves the majority of the book to be told through dialogue. Every page and panel has neat and clean dialogue to be read that’s sometimes placed in italics to show the emphasis of a character’s speech. Overall grade: A

The final line: Must reading for fans of apes or lanterns. The story winds around both universes expertly, though the visuals could have been more consistent. Overall grade: B+

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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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