Humans fighting apes, apes fighting humans, dirigibles exploding and being pirated by one-armed men. . . Yes sir, this book has everything you really want to see in a “Planet of the Apes” comic.
Three-quarters of a year after this title launched, the story of the apes and humans struggling to maintain their respective dignity and civility is turning dirty, gritty, and bloody. While the overall story of man versus ape continues, this issue provides the start of a new arc.
Manipulating the words of the Lawgiver to her own twisted means, Voice Alaya has declared war upon the humans of Southtown. She has removed any restraints from General Nix and placed him once more in charge of the gorilla army. Under Alaya’s command, Nix slays hundreds of humans, injures more, but only loses ten of his own troops. A master strategist, Nix begins to question the logic of taking the injured humans. Alaya’s ruthlessness to claim all the humans is brutal and leads to some intense imagery of interrogations and branding of human prisoners.
Carlos Magno provides some great art for the brutal scenes, the war-torn scenes, and the quiet scenes with equal dedication. Darrin Moore’s colors emphasize a great deal of the emotions in Magno’s art, but there’s no denying the near-tangible visuals brought to life by Magno’s intricate drawings. Magno plays with camera angle and perspective, but never at the expense of the story. It would be easy for an artist to just fudge his way through a story that's filled with non-distinct characters like this one is, but Magno finds a way to imbue each and every character on the page with some personality, even if the character is just an extra in the scene. This is a beautiful looking book that effectively blends art and story into one masterful narrative.
This issue isn’t a quick read, nor has the series been to this point. It is, however, the next installment of a story that is building in intensity and complexity. This issue is, truly, one of the best to date in this series, and it feels the most like a viable precursor to the stories told in the original “Planet of the Apes” movies. Gregory and Magno are filling in the gaps between the rise of Caesar and the arrival of Taylor with a gripping story.