Review – Planet of the Apes #1 (Marvel Comics)

Publisher: Marvel Comics
Writer: David F. Walker
Artist: Dave Wachter
Colorist: Bryan Vakenza
Release Date: 5th April 2023

For those long enough in the tooth to be hoping Marvel’s highly anticipated new Planet Of The Apes comic series was going to return readers to the days when the NYC-based publisher was printing books centred upon Franklin J. Schaffner’s iconic 1968 movie, this thirty-page periodical is probably going to prove to be something of a disappointment. However, for those readers who are more familiar with the franchise since its modern-day reboot just over a decade ago, David F. Walker’s narrative for “Devolution” should prove much more palatable.

In fact, the vast majority of the Eisner-winning writer’s script is dedicated to reminding the reader of the silver screen exploits of the primates following the Golden Gate Ape Uprising in 2016 and the deadly effect upon Humanity by the ALZ-113 virus. These flashbacks are certainly well-penned, and nicely intermingled with the W.H.O.’s desperate attempt to maintain a thriving simian population, as well as combat the military machinations of the Exercitus Viri – an “army of men” who appear to seek salvation in the total extermination of monkeykind and any “misguided souls who have chosen beasts over their fellow humans.”

However, Walkers insistence on persistently placing so many plot-threads in disconnected time zones all over the planet makes navigating them in any semblance of order a rather frustrating experience. True, this zig-zagging technique throughout history certainly provides the publication with a suitably chaotic atmosphere as different people are depicted attempting to do either right or wrong by the apes in San Francisco, Florida, Switzerland and even across the Atlantic Ocean. But by the time the spotlight refocuses upon peacekeeper Juliana Tobon, only the strongest-minded bibliophile will have fought the urge to flip back to a previous point in the story so as to reorientate themselves.

Similarly as spotty as Schaffner’s script is Dave Wachter’s artwork, which veers from awe-inspiring double splashes featuring hordes of angry primates savagely battering those people foolish enough to confront them, to some quite stiff-looking facial profiles. Indeed, the “Aliens: Aftermath” artist’s style appears far more suited to pencilling soldiers blazing away with their firearms or simians bounding about an International Research Centre in Ghana, than it does drawing anything somewhat sedentary in nature.


The writer of this piece was: Simon Moore
Simon Tweets from @Blaxkleric ‏
You can read more of his reviews at The Brown Bag

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