In Review: Planet of the Apes/Green Lantern #3

The story is twisted and the visuals sumptuous. Recommended.

The covers: A fun five to find for this midway point of this limited series. The Regular cover is by Dan Mora and it’s the image I used for this review. Cornelius looks serious as he floats among numerous Green Lanterns. He is accompanied by Hal Jordan, Salaak, Kilowog, Tomar-Tu, Stel, Arisia, Galius Zed, John Stewart, B’dg, Guy Gardner, and several others. This is a terrific frontpiece with all the lanterns and Cornelius looking incredibly serious. I need this as a poster or print. The Movie Variant cover is by E.M. Gist and is a take on the poster for Escape From the Planet of the Apes. The picture frame image from the movie poster has been replaced with a red power battery. Zira is sitting down with Dex-starr in her lap, while Cornelius stands next to her in his Green Lantern uniform. The text says “Meet Little Dexter Who Has Ape City Terrified.” The policemen that were chasing the chimps in the film are now various members of the Red Lantern Corps, and the three ape astronauts have been replaced with John, Guy, and Kilowog. This is a great cover and I hope that Gist gets to release all of his variant movie covers as prints. The Classic Variant cover is by Paul Rivoche with design by Scott Newman. This is a reinterpretation of Neal Adams’s classic cover to Green Lantern #76. Cornelius is attempting to energize his ring at his power battery, but a gunshot from Ursus’s rifle destroys the device. The antagonistic general states, “The only good lantern is a dead lantern!” Great art from Rivoche that mirrors the original well. The Spectrum Variant cover by Felipe Massafera is a fright with a close up of Ursus who now wields a red lantern ring. He reaches for the reader as Dex-starr, Atrocitus, Bleez, and Skallox look on. This is outstanding. The final cover is also a delight: the Action Figure Variant cover by David Ryan Robinson, with character portraits by Rod Reis. The artwork for the action figure is incredible with the antagonistic general in crimson. Six circular portraits are to its right, showing the other action figures available. This is awesome. Overall grades: Regular A+, Movie Variant A+, Classic Variant A, Spectrum Variant A+, and Action Figure Variant A+

The story: Sinestro has captured Dr. Zaius. He relates to his bound captive how he came to this world and how it’s taken him considerable effort to find the good doctor. He uses the long knife he’s been toying with and places it at the orangutan’s neck stating there’s only thing he desires, “A ring, similar to this one. If you help me find it, I will leave this place and never return. And one of the ways that I am not human is that I, Dr. Zaius, always keep my word. Or I can show you my other talent. And I will tear your world down. You may choose. But remember, I am a creature of my word.” Zaius makes a decision and the scene moves to Zira and two of her allies who are trying to move across Ape City with Hal Jordan. The only way to do so is to lead him through the city on a leash, as a human would be escorted. Naturally they encounter two ape guards and things quickly go south. Justin Jordan, from a story by Robbie Thompson, has several fun moments in this issue which is equally filled with some rather tense moments, such as Zira and Hal encountering the guards. Their scene ends with the welcome arrival of a familiar individual. In a previous issue, General Ursus stated he would take a large number of soldiers into the Forbidden Zone. They encounter Cornelius who possesses a lantern ring that is able to use each color of the emotional spectrum. He is in full control of its abilities and shows Ursus this fact. Meanwhile, Guy Gardner, Arisia, and Kilowog have taken Gorilla Grodd from Belle Reve to assist them in finding Hal. They arrive in the middle of the melee between the apes and Cornelius’s forces. The battle is tremendous, but the stakes are raised when a different corps of lanterns arrive, exacerbating the situation. The final two pages tease a bigger threat, with the appearance of something very unexpected. This story continues to be exciting and holds several surprises. Highly enjoyable. Overall grade: A

The art: The opening page moves cinematically, beginning with a far shot of Ape City, moving to one residence, and focusing on Sinestro as he brings Zaius up to speed, all the while with a wicked, long blade in his right hand. Barnaby Bagenda does a slick job on Zaius, starting from a distance and then bringing the reader in close on Page 2 to show his disdain for the violet colored individual before him. This hate continues on Page 3, with a flash of teeth showing the restrained rage, culminating in resolve. Bagenda also never lets the reader forget that Sinestro has that blade, as it dominates the reader’s attention in every panel. Hal and Zira’s scenes are great, with some solid humor between the apes based on their glances at one another. The vertical panel on 7 is a terrific choice to show the reader each character’s position as well as highlight the setting. If one thinks that Ape City is a little underpopulated in these scenes, the turn of the page to 8 will show where the population is, and it’s jaw dropping. The close up of Ursus on the same page has this character looking magnificently full of himself. Cornelius’s panels on 9 are equally impressive, though for an entirely different emotion he emanates. The battle on 10 and 11 is a partial double-paged splash and it’s a superb battle sequence where magic and raw strength collide. I was pleased with Bagenda’s art at this point, but the arrival of the new corps to the story has him rendering some of the most sinister characters in lantern history. Excellent work by Bagenda. Overall grade: A

The colors: Marvelous colors throughout this book thanks to Alex Guimaraes. The cool blues of night at Ape City lead to some strong yellow lighting within Zaius’s home. The three page sequence between the orangutan and Sinestro is highlighted by the silver of the alien’s blade, an ever present threat. Zira and Hal’s scene are bright enough to see the characters clearly, even though the skies are noticeably dark. I was grateful to see Guimaraes do this; far too often a colorist will go for realism, rendering much of the artwork too dark to see, but he’s wise enough to know he can cheat reality, yet make the setting obviously evening. The Forbidden Zone is glorious in its colors, which are stunning in orange and yellow. Having the lanterns fight in this setting has them instantly catch the reader’s eyes due to their bright costumes. It is truly wonderful. The arrival of the other lantern corps brings a new color to this issue and it, too, is fantastic. I am really enjoying Guimaraes’s colors. Overall grade: A+

The letters: Ed Dukeshire creates dialogue and yells. The yells are not just a simple change in font, but there are several varieties of bellows, showing the reader visually how extreme a character’s cries are. I would have liked to have seen some sounds during the battle sequences, but there are none. It’s not Dukeshire’s decision to include or exclude them, but I’ve seen his work on other books and they would have been excellent. Overall grade: B+

Note: There is another credit in this book stating the “Design” of this book is credited to Scott Newman. I don’t know if this means layout of pages or design of characters. I can’t recall ever seeing someone receive a credit like this in a comic. I’d be nice to know what this “design” was.

The final line: The story is twisted and the visuals sumptuous. This is the only thing that will please both ape and man. A must have for fans of Apes and Lanterns. Recommended. 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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