"Betrayal of the Planet of the Apes #1" Comic Review


Written by James Ferguson


Published by BOOM! Studios



Written by Corinna Bechko and Gabriel Hardman
Illustrated by Gabriel Hardman
2011, 22 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on November 2nd, 2011


Click images to enlarge.



Not content with bringing us just one awesome Planet of the Apes comic, BOOM! Studios has started up a four-issue mini-series called Betrayal of the Planet of the Apes.  While the main ongoing series takes place hundreds of years before the original movie, this one starts just twenty years before the arrival of Colonel Taylor and actually stars Dr. Zaius.

Betrayal of the Planet of the Apes has political espionage at its center.  Humans have devolved into little more than speechless pets.  They're looked down upon and an ape is actually brought to trial for heresy after he teaches his pet sign language.  The ape in question, Cato, is brought before the council for judgement and he's defended by former war hero Aleron.  The trial is just the beginning of a larger power struggle amongst the apes.

If Planet of the Apes is the big action story in this universe, Betrayal is the fast-moving, smart thriller.  It manages to pack more into a single issue than I've seen from complete story arcs from other publishers.  This is a dense comic that is filled with a story that doesn't feel rushed in the slightest.  Everything is presented very clearly and is easy to get into even if you've only heard of Planet of the Apes.


Click images to enlarge.


Besides co-writing the comic, Gabriel Hardman also handled the art in the book.  His style has a great pulpy feel to it that fits the Planet of the Apes mythos perfectly.  What accentuates this, albeit subtly, is that the gutters around the panels aren't a stark white.  They're a shade darker or off-white, giving the comic a look like it's been around for a lot longer than it has.  That, coupled with Hardman's art, makes Betrayal seem like a long lost prequel to the original film.  

The art direction is also quite good.  The panel layouts vary and are never boring. The action scenes have a hectic feel to them, often with panels that are tilted to look more like diamonds than traditional rectangles.  

Betrayal of the Planet of the Apes is a fantastic complement to the existing POTA lore (We're all agreeing to ignore Tim Burton's movie, right?).  It's a tense political thriller that is well worth the price of admission.  Any fan of the franchise should be reading this book.


Click images to enlarge.








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James Ferguson
Lord of the Funny Books
James has a 2nd grade reading level and, as a result, only reads books with pictures. Horror is his 5th favorite genre right after romantic comedy and just before silent films. No one knows why he's here, but he won't leave.
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