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‘Dawn of the Planet of the Apes:’ TPB Review

Humanity’s future teeters on a precipice. Whether it will fall into oblivion or regroup and step back from the edge is one of the many themes in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.  Drawing from the movies Rise of the Planet of the Apes and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, this series fills in the events that occurred between the two movies.  Though based on the book, Planet of the Apes, by Pierre Boulle, the movies take a slightly different approach to the source material.  For those unfamiliar with the series, the story follows the aftermath of a pandemic which devastates the human population while increasing the intelligence of the simians at the same time.

Malcolm, Rita, and their son Alex are eking out an existence in a world destroyed by disease and hopelessness. An engineer by training, Malcolm attempts to solve their power problems, but fails. The news gets worse when his wife reveals she has contracted the simian flu. His only hope for her is the rumor that a cure exists in distant Austin, but the journey there is fraught with danger both human and simian.  He meets up with a group led by a man named Shavers who offers them shelter and relative safety, but not much else. Even that’s destroyed when their son Alex is kidnapped by a group of human traffickers.

Not far from them, Caesar maintains a fragile hold on the growing ape community.  Caesar must not only deal with the day-to-day survival of his people, but grapple with what direction their new society should take on a cultural level. He is challenged by a brutal and authoritative gorilla named Pope who will stop at nothing to overthrow him.  The questions become, will Caesar’s dream of a peaceful ape society survive? And, what is he willing to sacrifice to achieve it?

I’m a big fan of the Planet of the Ape movies, so I’m pleased that this comic was executed so well.  The art is right on target for a dark and helter-skelter dystopian world. The colors were suitably drab. Even the blood had a sickly hue when appropriate.  My favorite page was when a woman was running for her life from Pope and his minions. The panels were jagged and gave the scene an intensity that conveyed her fear at the deepest and most primitive level.  Overall, artist Dan McDaid and colorist Jason Wordie did a terrific job, though I think the ape scenes were generally stronger than the human-centric scenes. The writing by Michael Moreci is right on target; however, I did find the early scenes with Caesar to drag just a bit. I think his musings over the future of ape society could have been tightened; however, I really appreciate the fact that he made Rita, Malcolm’s wife, a complete character in her own right and not just an extension of her husband.  Her journey and self-sacrifice is a defining moment, not only for her character, but for husband and son’s future, as well. Kudos to Ed Dukeshire for the excellent lettering.

I’d like to see this team do any future Planet of the Ape comics. Well done.

Madeleine Holly-Rosing, Fanbase Press Contributor



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