Saturday, March 24, 2012

Planet of the Apes # 12 – A Review

Planet of the Apes # 12
Writer: Daryl Gregory
Artist: Carlos Magno
Colorist: Darrin Moore
Letterer: Travis Lanham
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Price: $3.99

I’ve been singing the praises of this book since issue number one and I’m happy to say that the thrills continue as we close out the third four-part arc, “Children of Fire”. This story is PHENOMENAL and the series continues to be my favorite monthly comic.  I know Betrayal and Exile of the Planet of the Apes (also by BOOM!) have both been getting more buzz lately, but honestly I don’t think either is as exciting as this one. My theory is that the two mini-series are more popular, because it showcases familiar characters like Doctor Zaius.  I’ve got plenty of love for the old orangutan myself, but Daryl and Carlos (who have yet to need fill-in help) have created a whole slew of new characters and (not being as tied down to later continuity) literally ANYTHING can happen at ANY time!

I’ll do my best to summarize the goings on, but after a year of novel-level intrigue, there is no way I can adequately get you up to speed.  You’ll just have to purchase the trade paperback collections and read it for yourself…

The City Tree (tallest building in Mak, the Ape City) is engulfed in flames thanks to a dirigible flown by rebel humans from Skintown (the human ghetto city).  Inside the building Skintown’s mayor, Sully, is imprisoned after having given birth to a son last issue.  Her child was stolen from her by her former “sister”, Voice Alaya, the ape leader.  The ape Lawgiver was a grandfather to both women prior to his assassination by the girl Chaika.  Chaika who martyred herself in issue three is the daughter of Bako, Sully’s right-hand man.  Bako is trying to rescue Sully from the City Tree with the help of Kale, the mutant priest with the golden guns.  The bald-headed, white robed Kale has been supplying weapons to the humans and was behind Chaika’s plot to murder the Lawgiver.  He also has the ability to cast illusions (most of the time).  Alaya’s left-hand ape is Nix, the white gorilla, who has past history with Bako.


This issue is really action packed.  Bako reaches Sully’s dungeon room and after learning that her baby is up in the inferno at the top of the tower, speeds to his rescue.  Sully takes a golden hand-gun (and you thought I was just being facetious with that description) and promptly shoots her primate OB/GYN in the knee-cap. Let’s just say he forgot to give her an epidural.  Up to this point the story is narrated by Kale.  Who later on gets a shot in the arm when his illusion fails to fool the gorilla troops.

The narration then shifts to Bako as he searches for the baby.  He finds both the child and Alaya on the floor about to succumb to smoke inhalation when he is confronted by Nix.  Their battle is masterfully choreographed with Bako armed with a sword and Nix armed with tri-mace.  Bako sears Nix’s face with some flaming debris and Nix retaliates with a choke-hold, but Bako counters with a  hidden boot shiv to Nix’s neck. “HNK” -- And we get an epic half-splash of Alaya impaling Bako with his fallen sword (“He’s dead, Jim”).  Sully and Kale escape and Alaya and Nix go off with Sully’s son.

Fast forward TEN YEARS!  Alaya is the new Lawgiver trying to bring “her kind” of peace to the world, having raised Sully’s mute son as her own.  Meanwhile, the tragically fuzz-headed Sully, shorn of her beautiful feminine locks, is about to retaliate with an army of rag-tag humans. “It’s time to take back our planet.”

Can you tell I’m excited?  This book was AWESOME!!!  I totally got caught up in the action (like watching a movie).  And, boy did I hate to see Bako get killed!  Just like his daughter, Chaika.  Sniff, sniff.  Daryl has an annoying habit of getting rid of his characters right after you really get to know them.

GRADE A+:  BEST COMIC AND BEST APE SERIES ON THE STANDS TODAY!!!  Unpredictable and exciting with fully developed characters that aren’t guaranteed to survive.  I LOVE THIS BOOK!!!

Want to know more about Daryl Gregory?  Click here for my interview with him from last summer.

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