November 28, 2012


There is a huge soft spot in my heart for the original Planet of the Apes...but of course, there's always a soft spot for a guy's first franchise. For many a fanboy, it was Star Wars; for me, it was weekday afternoon showings of the first five movies (as well as the infamous "Gorilla My Dreams" week showing of the old television show) that led to me really liking the Apes series.

So when I finally got around to reading Conspiracy of the Planet of the Apes (purchased at this past year's C2E2), I was intrigued by the fact that it took place "between the frames" of the movie. It is being touted as a story that takes place within the continuity of the first film, as well as serving to fill in the gaps among the other POTA films.

It's does a really good job of the latter, but at times, doesn't do all that much of the former..

First, a note - although Archaia publishes many non-superhero comics, this is an illustrated prose novel despite its packaging. Much of the art are one-pagers which illustrate key plot points of the book, and which are quite striking in their own right.

However, Andrew E.C. Gaska's prose tends to have some mixed effects. Effectively, this is "Landon's story" - we know how the character ends up (SPOILER ALERT - lobotomized), but the events which lead up to his involvement in the initial expedition - in fact, towards the inevitable end of the book - really don't do much to engage the reader. They seem rather trite and....well, really don't engage the reader or encourage any empathy with the lead characters.

However, it seems that Gaska appears more entranced with the goings-on in Ape City....and that is where Gaska's sympathies lay. When discussing the simian residents, Gaska's writing seems to sparkle just a bit more, and it really does engage the reader. It's a great take on the day-to-day life, and it's in depicting those characters - both the familiar and the new - that really elevate this book above the typical tie-in.

So for me, a mixed bag - I might recommend this for hardcore fans, but for the casual reader....well, if it piques your interest, check it out of the library. It's not horrible, but it's enough to warrant a casual glance.

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