Thursday, December 8, 2011

Comics of the Week - Apes and Deerboys

I grew up on Planet of the Apes (not literally). I love everything about it. I've been reading the ongoing series and it's been solid. But this book is beyond solid. Betrayal of the Planet of the Apes, by Corinna Bechko and Gabriel Harman is like the movie that was never made in the 70's. It is set a few years before the first movie and they get everything right. Young Dr. Zaius is here, new to the council, and questioning his elders. I'm sure we will see how he goes from this to the hard line elder we see in the movies. He's clearly going to discover something that will rock his world. In this issue, our hero, General Aleron has been sent to The Reef, the apes' prison, for the murder of another ape, a violation of the first law: Ape does not kill ape. In typical POTA style, there are conspiracies working here that we are only getting glimpses of and I'm sure will tie into the state of the world in the first movie. The immersion into this story, this world, would not be complete without the pitch perfect art from Hardman. Ape city is alive with activity and nooks and crannies that invite the imagination to wonder what's over there. The Reef is extremely provocative, in that it seems to incorporate some more technological architecture than the rest of the organic city. But it's not just environments that stand out. Each ape is distinct and their behavior is ape like. The chase scene in this issue, with Aleron jumping from a building and eventually taking a horse was breathtaking. This is only a 4 issue mini-series, but I truly hope Bechko and Hardman will give us more apes soon after.

Jeff Lemire's Sweet Tooth wraps up a 3 part origin arc with guest artist Matt Kindt. This story told us where the animal babies and sickness first happened, back in 1911. And the events we saw unfold were pretty gut wrenching. The silence, as one character says at the end, is all that's left. And that silence carries over to the gap between the events in this arc and the story of Gus and Jepperd and the rest in the main plot of the series. There's still more to reveal before we know where Gus came from. How much longer Lemire intends to go with it is a mystery to me. The pieces are all there, I think. It could be several months, or it could be several years, before the story concludes. The inability to predict where this story is going is a big part of what has made it so engrossing from the very beginning. While the premise is fantastical, it's been the humanity of the characters, good and bad, that has driven the plot forward every step of the way. It has not lost anything over 28 issues and I doubt that it will. I hope it goes for as long is it needs to and ends well.

1 comment:

  1. I'm waiting for the trade on the Apes book. I've liked the current series, but switched to trade on that, too. Glad to hear that this new one is so close in tone to the original movie(s), and I'll be picking it up!