In Review: Planet of the Apes/Green Lantern #4

One of my guilty pleasures, this series shouldn't work, but it does sensationally.

The covers: Five fantastic frontpieces for you to find if you’re a fervent fan of this series. The Regular cover is by Dan Mora and it’s an unexpectedly frightening piece. Against the screaming head of Red Lantern Cornelius, Zira and Hal are back to back as the rocky setting around them is hurled into the air by the ire filled ape. Cornelius looks insane, Zira worried, and Hal determined to be the hero. Great cover with great use of reds. The Movie Variant by Mike Mayhew is a spin on the poster from Conquest of the Planet of the Apes. The top of the cover shows the Indigo, Violet, Red, and Yellow Lanterns. Below the title are the Green Lanterns, while below them are several gorillas with rifles, Sinestro, and Grodd. This is a must-own for fans of the film. Next up is the Classic Variant by Paul Rivoche with design by Scott Newman, which plays homage to Neal Adams’s classic Green Lantern and Green Arrow #85. Cornelius is in Hal’s spot, saying, “You always have all the answers, Zira! Well, what’s your answer to THAT–?” Zira is in Ollie’s spot spouting, “Taylor is a MUTANT!” Speedy is replaced by Taylor, whose face mask is on the table in the foreground, allowing him to reveal his vein-ridden face. This is a must-own for comic book fans. I’ve been singing the praises of Felipe Massafera’s Spectrum Variant covers, but this is the first one that isn’t strong. It’s good, but he doesn’t have many characters to fill this cover as he had on the previous three issues. The Lawgiver, the statue, has come to life with a blue ring on his finger, and he’s surrounded by the other four Blue Lanterns, with two of the Guardians in the background. Decent, but the image comes off as blurry with all the blues. The final cover is my favorite. It’s the Action Figure Variant cover by David Ryan Robinson with character portraits by Rod Reis. This has the Lawgiver statue as an action figure on a card. The figure looks great, the distress done to the card is realistic, and Reis’s work looks awesome. I wish this was an actual figure. Overall grades: Regular A, Movie Variant A, Classic Variant A+, Spectrum Variant B-, and Action Figure Variant A+

The story: The story continues to grow in strength and this issue, conceived by Robbie Thompson with Justin Jordan writing it, is amazing! the issue opens with the history of the mysterious Green Lantern corpse that was revealed last issue by Dr. Zaius to Sinestro. The Korugarian tells the ape what the ring is capable of and then aptly shows him on Page 5. If this isn’t sinister enough, you ain’t seen nothing yet! Hal and Zira, with their companions, arrive at the end of the major battle that began last issue, with the former green lantern coming upon some of his fallen brethren. Mysteriously, three members of this party disappear, just before someone powers up. Who this trio comes upon is awesome, with his words being incredibly strong. Another character powers up on Page 18, and the color that this individual identifies with should be immensely troubling. More rings are given out, with another taken, culminating with one character appearing on the wrong end of color wheel. This is probably the most vague I’ve been in summarizing a story, but, trust me, you don’t want this spoiled. I’m loving what Thompson and Jordan are doing with these characters. Overall grade: A+

The art: Barnaby Bagenda sold me long ago on his illustrating skills, but the first three pages of this book, which focus on the mysterious lantern’s story, has launched him into the stratosphere. I love the wonder that Bagenda gives this character on the first two panels on Page 1. The strength she exudes in the third panel is great, and her posture in the last panel on the page gave me a chill. Her look of resolve in the second panel on Page 3 is awesome. Returning to her current state on 4, Bagenda counters her loss with the terrible visages of Zaius and Sinestro, ending with the evil lantern looking tremendous. Page 6’s largest panel is great, but the sense of dread it creates is sensational. The massive group of characters on 8 look cool, because they’re never shown like this, and I loved it! The top of 8 has a great point of view angle. 10 features a wonderful return, and looking at this character with the pair in the last panel produces chills. The most frightening panel of the issue is the bottom of 18. I can’t say what it contains, but it’s the image I remember most after reading this issue days ago. The final page wraps the book up with some surprising images, because it’s not what one expects, and I, for one, did not see that coming. Size does matter in that final panel. Overall grade: A

The colors: With the plethora of characters in this series, Alex Guimaraes has ample opportunities to show off his talent and he certainly does. I love the warmth he gives to the lantern on the opening pages, and the explosive oranges that end her life are beautiful, albeit deadly. The dark pink that comprises Sinestro’s skin makes him an instant eye magnet for the reader and their darkness a symbol of his soul. The sky that marks Hal and Zira’s entrance is beautiful. The shifting of colors that telegraphs Cornelius’s mood are stunners, but it’s the colors in that last panel on 18 that I can’t get out of my mind. This is superb work. Overall grade: A

The letters: Ring speak, dialogue, yells, and the tease for next issue are created by Ed Dukeshire. I’m glad to see that the ring that opens the issue has a slightly different font than that of individuals’ dialogue, rather than just relying on the color. Doing so gives this device personality and individuality it deserves. There are no sounds this issue, as there are no actions that warrant one. However, the book’s last panel reintroduces a character that will undoubtedly require Dukeshire to creates some sounds next month. I also have to mention that the final character’s speech is a perfect match for his visual. Well done, Mr. Dukeshire. Overall grade: A 

The final line: One of my guilty pleasures, this series shouldn’t work, but it does sensationally. Every character is true to their nature as they clash in surprising ways. The visuals are both beautiful and haunting. I don’t want this limited series to end. 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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