Saturday, November 5, 2011

Betrayal of the Planet of the Apes #1

Written by Corinna Bechko and Gabriel Hardman
Art by Gabriel Hardman

I wrote recently about my enduring love for the original Planet of the Apes movies (well, the first two at least, it gets a little hard to love them after that), and have warmly embraced Boom's on-going Planet of the Apes monthly comic, which is set a great deal of time before the continuity of the first movie.  Now Boom has given us this other PotA mini-series, by Gabriel Hardman and Corinna Bechko, whose Heathentown I also just read (scroll down a little).

This new series is set about 20 years before the first movie, at a time when Dr. Zaius has just ascended to the Senior Council (is it possible to ever read his name again without hearing that song from the Simpsons?).  The first case he is to hear involves a chimpanzee, Cato, who has trained his mute human pet to communicate with sign language.  He is found not guilty of heresy (for trying to elevate a human to the status of an ape), but not everyone agrees with this decision.  Cato is later visited by some gorillas who force him to drink poison, although the human escapes.

In the middle of all of this is Cato's lawyer, Aleron, a former general and hero among the apes, although there are a few questions about his past.  The most central tenet of ape society is the Lawgiver's statement that 'ape shall not kill ape', and now that it appears that that law has been broken (perhaps more than once), the stability of ape civilization is threatened.

Bechko and Hardman set up their story very well, and Hardman's drawing style is well-suited to the apes.  He gives them a more ape-like appearance than they had in the movies, but also keeps the aesthetic of the films present.  I'm looking forward to reading the rest of this series.

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