Ahead of the release of Rise of the Planet of the Apes this summer, BOOM! Studios has launched an ongoing Planet of the Apes series, serving as a prequel to the original film saga. The first installment is out today, and it’s already setting major events in motion.
“The Long War, Part 1,” scripted by BOOM! veteran Daryl Gregory (Dracula: The Company of Monsters) and drawn by Carlos Magno, envisions a world where humans and apes enjoy an uneasy alliance. The apes are clearly dominant, having reduced all of human technology to almost nothing over the past few centuries, but the humans still enjoy a half-civilized existence, and even manage to find gainful employment (not slavery) as the apes march their own technological progress ever forward.
The peace is shattered when The Lawgiver, an ape chronicler and wise man, is gunned down by an assassin with a high-powered gun that was last known to have existed 500 years earlier. The furious apes -already divided between human haters and human lovers – immediately set in motion their investigations, led by Lawgiver’s granddaughter Alaya, a human sympathizer. Her childhood friend, human leader Mayor Sullivan, fights to keep the peace, but it’s clear that Lawgiver’s death is an event that even level-headed Alaya might not be able to cope with.
Click the jump for the rest of the review and the FIRST FIVE PAGES OF PLANET OF THE APES #1.
It’s largely a setup story, but Gregory is adept at the buildup. His script is tight while still managing to let details of the backstory slip free, and though it could have used a little more action and a little less political tension, the brief events of this first installment are engaging enough to make you want to come back for issue 2.
Gregory’s script is given weight and density by Magno’s detailed art, fleshing out a world of apes that’s both reminiscent of the film series and possessive of its own power. You can practically see it collapsing before you, giving way to the world of the films. Even if you don’t like where the story is headed, you can be sure that the creators have done their homework when it comes to the original series.
Issue #1 of Planet of the Apes is not a an action-packed ride of your life kind of book, but it is a fantastic primer for what could be the next epic comic you can’t put down. It’s a good start, and there’s nowhere to go but up.
Check out the first five pages of Planet of the Apes #1, along with a few variant covers, right here: