Planet of the Apes Annual #1 (Boom Studios), coming quickly on the heels of the last issue of the Exile on the Planet of Apes mini-series and the last issue of the current Planet of the Apes monthly series, which ended with #16 a few weeks back, helps fill a void of ape-less comic withdrawal, but also, it seems, plays midwife to the new Apes series that are in the works. This annual acts as anthology of the ape world we've encountered thus far in the ongoing monthly, and Exile's precursor, Betrayal of the Planet of the Apes. Within these four stories are great achievements: rewarding current readers with excellent stories about known characters, while standing as a great entry point for new readers waiting to be enticed by this world.
up, Daryl Gregory and Carlos Magno flashback to when Sully and Nerissa were
young girls and Sully is about to be integrated into an ape school. The focus
of the story, in the broad sense is on the political ramification of such desegregation
and how it affects both apes and humans. Specifically, the focus is on Nix, the
white ape, who became so central to the ongoing PotA story. Gregory fills in on
some important, only previously hinted upon information about Nix that, for me,
at least, invites a closer reading of PotA 1-16 in which to put Nix's action in
new light. Magno's clear, detailed apes continue to be a joy. I hope there's
more Apes stories from these two in the near future.
comes,Corinna Bechko and John Lucas' tale of an ape boy who meets a young human girl during an ape crackdown on humans. It's a simple yet powerful tale about awareness, empathy, and compassion. The ending adds a sparkle of mischievous hope. My hope is that Bechko has plans for this ape lad in the Planet of the Apes: Cataclysm
The third story is Gabriel Hardman's "The
Scroll," which, like the opening story, delves into the past of a known
character. Here we see General Aleron from Betrayal and Exile as a Gorilla
Private First Class (OK, I may have made up that military title, he was
referred to simply as "private") on a mission to liberate some
scrolls from and orangutan in hiding. What Aleron finds is eye-opening (and,
ironically, eye-closing, as we also find out the reason Aleron wears an eye
patch) and again, gives us more perspective on what truly drives Aleron in
Betrayal and Exile. Hardman is quickly becoming one of my favorite artists. His
action scenes are dynamite: Aleron running to escape an avalanche pops from the
page, for example.
The Annual ends with Jeff Parker and Benjamin
Dewey's story about Ape City envoys visiting Simian Port, an Ape trading
outpost, that's run by a Kurtz-like ape, who defies the creeds from the Ape
City tribunalThis story seems equally inspired by Conrad and jungle
comics from the 50’s. The revelation of the unknown cargo on a docked ship is
smiling-inducing in its cleverness.
Planet of the Apes Annual #1 is remarkable in
how, across four stories, it builds upon the known the Apes universe in two of
these, and introduces new characters that are ripe for further exploration in
the other two. A great read. Highly Recommended