With the brilliant Matt Reeves film War For The Planet Of The Apes impressing both critics and cinema goers alike it comes as no surprise that there is a massive call for more of the story to be told. Boom! Studios now come to all the fan’s aid with a comic book series that bridges the gap between the War of The Planet Of The Apes and War For The Planet Of The Apes films.
Written by David F. Walker (Tarzan On The Planet Of The Apes) and artwork by Jonas Scharf (Sons Of Anarchy) Part One of this series picks up in three different locations in the aftermath of Caesar and his army try to regroup after the Kubo-led attack on San Francisco. Three stories are told simultaneously – a group travel from Sierra Safari Zoo in Nevada to sell their pigs, while two bounty hunters are rounding up apes in Florida in a bid to sell them to a Research Laboratory where a scientist seems more intent on just butchering apes than bothering to do the in-depth research into the epidemic that his colleagues are expecting him to do. Then, of course, there are the survivors that are struggling to keep alive in San Francisco.
Reading through the comic and you soon realise that this is really only for hardened fans of the movie franchise… thankfully which I am. Walker gives very little back story to what has happened previously in the films and characters known to those who have watched the films are given no real introduction either, not even Ceasar. In fact, characterisation is a bit of an issue with this Part One of the four part comic series. Very few names are given which means the audience does have some problem connecting with the characters early on… although a nod must be given to Walker who had been able to read the script for the War For The Planet Of The Apes film and was able to give the audience a quick look at The Colonel… played by Woody Harrelson in the film. This, of course, might help the film out as many people criticised the film for giving The Colonel very little back story at all.
Perhaps the biggest flaw of the comic though is beginning with The Zoo storyline as it really has no bite to it at all… not when you compare it to the great sequences of San Francisco (the ape hacking panels are brilliantly drawn by Scharf with some amazing colours thrown in by Jason Wordie) and the story that really captivates that of the reader – the Research Lab. It really does feel that down the track it will be the Lab story that holds the interest because you just know at some point apes are going to rip the place apart but there already has been a character established as ‘caring’ for the ones held there.
For a Part One of a series this comic does lack a little of the bite you would expect it to have in order to build an audience but it does more than enough to keep hardcore fans of the franchise interested.