In Review: Planet of the Apes/Green Lantern #5

An excellent issue with decisions made that lead to fatal repercussions.

The covers: An appropriately numbered five covers for this fifth issue of this series. The Regular cover is a killer by Dan Mora. All the apes have become Red Lanterns, even Gorilla Grodd. Cornelius is in the foreground, raging as he speeds forward leading his army. The Green Lanterns are tied up battling the recently turned primates, with energy being unleashed everywhere. The physical copy of this cover is much more darkly colored than any image I found online, which were incredibly bright. I do prefer the brighter cover. In the bottom right corner Ape City is seen at night, but this is covered by the book’s bar code on physical copies. I love this cover and need it to be a poster or print. The Classic Variant cover by Paul Rivoche with design by Scott Newman pays tribute to the cover of Green Lantern #147, created by Brian Bolland back in 1980. Instead of Hal in front, it’s Cornelius, who’s sporting a power ring on each hand. Behind him are Hal, Taylor, Nova, Ursuss, Zaius, Zira and Milo (both in their astronaut suits), and several other apes. Taking the place of the stingray/starfish lantern is the Icarus. The characters are flying through space as something explodes behind them, presumably the Earth. Great spin on this classic cover. The Movie Variant by Julian Totino Tedesco outstandingly playing tribute to the movie poster for Battle for the Planet of the Apes. Instead of an ape holding up a soldier, Grodd is holding Hal Jordan high above his head, while behind them Green Lanterns do battle with Red Lanterns. There’s even some text on the right that’s similar to the text on the poster, while down at the bottom all the leads are shown along with their names. If one is a fan of the Apes films, this is the one to track down. Felipe Massafera is responsible for the Spectrum Variant with Zira taking center stage as one of the Indigo Lanterns. Her brow is lowered as she wields her staff. To her left is Indigo-1 and to her right is Munk. Good cover, but not as tightly rendered as previous Spectrum Variants. One of the joys of this series has been the Action Figure Variant covers by David Ryan Robinson with character portraits by Rod Reis, and this issue continues that love. This time Zira is the figure and she’s wearing the outfit of an Indigo Lantern. The card the figure is on is fantastically aged, the figure looks great, and the portraits of the six characters to her left, by Reis, look excellent. Man, I wish this was an actual figure. Overall grades: Regular A+, Classic Variant A-, Movie Variant A-, Spectrum Variant C+, and Action Figure Variant A+

The story: Dr. Zaius is being choked in the air by a shackle created by Sinestro. The ape begs for his life, saying he needs to live because he knows his home better than anyone else alive. “Does your ring give you that?” This gives the villain pause and he allows the doctor to fall to the ground. “I know a devious mind when I see one,” says the Korugarian. He constructs a cage for Zaius and flies in the air, pulling him. “You get to live. For the time being.” Meanwhile, Gorilla Grodd’s appearance with the Red Lanterns, which come with a command for Cornelius and his companions to kneel, sparks anger in the ape, who refuses to comply. “Is that so, little ape. There is a truth you should learn. And it is a simple one.” Zira and the others place their hands to their heads. “He’s in…He’s in my mind.” Grodd’s mind abilities make quick work of everyone, except Cornelius who is to witness what happens next. Page 6 is a brutal page, with Grodd exerting his power in a terrible way. His proclamation at the top of the next page is blaspheme for several characters, yet Grodd is not wrong. There’s a great confrontation between Cornelius and Grodd on 7, with the battle resuming. It halts again, for an obvious reason, though takes a turn on 16. Hal makes a heroic stand on 17, and this is followed by something startling on 18. I was unprepared for this, as this is something that most comic books never do. This story by Robbie Thompson, written by Justin Jordan, does the unthinkable on this page. This is leads to a surprising confrontation on 20 and 21, with a surprise arrival on 22. I’m loving this story and I have no clue where it’s going. All I know is I want more! Overall grade: A

The art: Barnaby Bagenda does an outstanding job on this issue with several scenes of quiet and several where all hell has broken loose. The looks that Zaius is shooting Sinestro on the opening pages are outstanding — all that’s missing are the daggers that should be shooting from his eyes. For an artist to be able to communicate so much in silence is fantastic. Grodd also emotes well, coming off as completely arrogant created by some delicious smiles. The entire sequence of panels on 6 is stellar: they are all horizontal panels with no borders. Take note that the first three panels are shown from a tilted perspective to show that the action that’s going to occur is abnormal, straightening out only when the command is given. The final panel on the page hides the action fairly well, but enough of it is seen to make it terrible. The posture of Grodd in the panel that follows is perfection, capturing his egotistical nature. The fighting that follows is good, with Red Lanterns versus Green Lanterns flying about using all kinds of constructs. Bagenda has lanterns zipping by at every angle, making the skirmish epic. Page 14 has the fall of the heroes. Again, Bargenda moves the point of view around well, showing the lanterns’ reactions close-up and from a distance. 18 is the jaw-dropper of the issue — possibly of the entire series — and they are three powerful panels that a reader cannot escape from. The reaction from the character in the first panel of 19 is the perfect reaction to what’s occurred. The character’s surprise entrance on 22 is awesome, with the smile in the last panel opposing the blood on the construct that the individual wields. I’m really liking Bagenda’s work. Overall grade: A

The colors: For a really violent book, the colors by Alex Guimarães are gorgeous. Look at the work done on Dr. Zaius in the first panel of the first page: I love the different shades in his face and hair. The energy that Sinestro is employing is beautiful in a luminescent green. The villain’s dark violet skin is stunning. Page 4 introduces three different colored lanterns in a panel and they practically radiate off the page with Guimarães’s colors. The dominate color used for the fifth panel on Page 6 is a surprising choice, as it’s not one often associated with tension, but it works brilliantly. When the Red Lanterns jump into action they have a beautiful crimson used for their ring slinging that’s the equal of Sinestro and the other Green Lanterns’ rings. Note should also be taken of the sky behind the characters as they battle; it’s a beautiful dark blue. The energy that radiates off the character in the third panel on 15 eerily resembles hellfire, which suits the moment well. Guimarães can do no wrong on this book. Overall grade: A+

The letters: Ed Dukeshire creates dialogue, roars, yells, a scream, and the tease for next issue. The lack of sounds during the book’s battles are very noticable, but their exclusion is not the letterer’s decision. However, what Dukeshire does contribute to the book is good, with the dialogue being clear and the yells that issue from several characters strong. Overall grade: B+

The final line: An excellent issue with decisions made that lead to fatal repercussions. The story has got several surprises and plenty of action, while the visuals are equally impressive. Sure to please Apes and Lantern fans of all ages. 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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