A female ape, Ayala, is about to be beheaded for betraying her people, then some humans barge in and wreck up the joint while some bald people telepathically talk to a kid who’s the ape’s son. Yeah, there’s a lot here I didn’t understand either, but let’s decode it together after the jump.
Sweeping, well-written story that makes me want to read more.
Art was just on the high side of mediocre.
This issue is the ultimate antithesis of a jumping-on point.
Previously in “Planet of the Apes Spectacular”… It’s supposedly a one shot, but after reading it I’m fairly sure there’s other stuff we need to have read to fully understand what’s going on.
DON’T KNOW ANY APE I SEE, FROM CHIMPAN-A TO CHIMPAN-Z
Early arrival at movie theaters is an obsession of mine. Like the White Rabbit, I fixate on my watch, all the while scaring my wife as I weave furiously around the tractors and pickup trucks that comprise rural Virginia traffic so we can get tickets and get our seats before the theater goes dark and the trailers begin. The thought of missing a story’s beginning and having to jump into a story in its narrative stride is cringe inducing. Unknowingly, this is exactly what I did when I decided to read “Planet of the Apes: Spectacular.”
Here’s what I think I know about this story: Humans and apes had a fragile peace, but now they don’t, but might again, and then there’s a bald gorilla who’s teamed up with some stereotypically asian humans and they want to conquer the continent. Also, I think most of this story is a flashback from the character Julian’s perspective—for a one-shot, this title has a fair number of prerequisites.
I have no idea who any of these people/apes/telepaths(?) are and I have only the kernel of an idea what they’re doing. Presumably there’s some backstory in some of writer Daryl Gregory’s other “Apes” books, also from Boom! Studios, and they might help clear up a lot of my confusion (let me know in the comments if that’s the case). But here’s my honest opinion: It doesn’t really matter! While, yes, reading this cold is a lot like immersion language learning, there are plenty of context clues to help you get through all 32 pages—sort of. The story is epic and, to me at least, evokes the kind of feeling I get watching “The Ten Commandments” or “Spartacus”—incredible scope of storytelling. Even at its most inscrutable, the issue will draw you into the world and maybe make you want to keep turning the page.
EMOTIONAL VOLUME NEEDS AN AMPLIFIER
The art doesn’t live up to the “Spectacular” of the title, but it’s still quite good. It shines in its bleakness, painting the portrait of a broken and dessicated world, torn by warfare of two sapient species. I see little hope here and I think that’s the intent.
There’s a good fight scene in the city of Mak, but it could have been better. The battle between the humans and the apes should have been more visceral, and by that I don’t mean more violent, rather that I should have been able to see more emotion in the eyes of both sides’ soldiers. It’s especially frustrating when I see other characters in much calmer situations with subtle tells about their state of mind, but nothing more expressive during battle.
BOTTOM LINE: I GIVE IT AN APE-MINUS
I was probably the wrong person to review this book given that the only “Apes” titles I’ve read from Boom! are “Cataclysm’s” first handful of issues and, thus, lacked the background on what’s going on. But I still enjoyed it. If, like me, you love the “Apes” franchise, then give this a look. At $4.99 it’s a little more expensive than I usually care for, but I think it’s worth it if you’re a fan. Because of “Spectacular,” I’m going to do some looking and see what, if anything, I can read to shed some light on this story. 3.5 stars.