Anything that could have possibly gone wrong since The Human War did. The human rebel Esau and the ape leader Seneca are facing a trial for crimes against the ape state. Once triumphant, they now await a hangman’s noose. Never in their wildest dreams did they think they would be rescued mere seconds from certain death by the once great gorilla warrior, Attar! But Attar has an ulterior motive. Usually reclusive, he has received a cryptic message that could finally lead him to his friend, the long-disappeared chimp, Ari. Soon hunted by the implacable Commander Kharim, Esau, Seneca, and Attar head deep into the uncharted wilds where they find a besieged outpost of apes and humans, masters and servants, fighting side by side in a battle with a primal, ancient evil…one that reveals the dark side to the origins of ape and human alike!
Planet of the Apes – Old Gods collects the first three issues of Dark Horse Comics’ ongoing Planet of the Apes comic book series and is written by Ian Edginton, pencilled by Adrian Sibar and Paco Medina and inked by Norman Lee and Juan Vlasco.
Planet of the Apes – Old Gods focuses on rebel leaders Seneca and Esau, the human and the ape that would see the human slavery overthrown and apekind living side by side with humankind as equals, will to use whatever force necessary to see their visions realised. Unfortunately for them, apekind is far superior in almost every way and their rebellion is soon crushed and their forces scattered. The two themselves are captured and taken back to the ape stronghold to face execution.
However, they receive assistance from the unlikeliest of sources and are soon embroiled in a mad dash for freedom where unfortunately they are led to a path that sees them face one of the greatest threats to both human and apes alike. Yup, if it sounds like your typical, action-driven comic book story then you are 100% right.
Ian Edginton is an extremely successful and brilliant British writer who bucked the trend and became famous in American comics before coming back to Britain and achieves success writing for 2000AD and its related franchises. He is known for a lot of franchise writing, having written a lot of the Predator, Xena and Aliens comic book series.
Planet of the Apes may not be his best writing ever, but it is a solid and enjoyable story, even if it feels a little clichéd in places and filled with moments of some real cringe-worthy one-liners and character dialogue. Of course, working with Apes doesn’t give him all that much scope to develop a very deep dramatic sense in his story (apes really seem fairly one-dimensional, honour bound critters) but he does the best with what he has.
Unfortunately his story isn’t helped by the simply appalling and uneven art, pretty much all the fault of the, in my opinion, untalented Adrian Sibar who ‘stylised’ approach to drawn is so over-simplified that it looks like a child scribbled it in places. The inkers have done the best that they could, but honestly Sibar’s less than mediocre artwork only serves to bring the entire publication down. Thankfully though he only get to draw half of the collection as Paco Medina (who has worked on quite a couple of the X-Men universe titles) steps in to save some face, also applying the same sort of exaggerated art style that Sibar tries to utilise but only with a truckload more success.
It is a pity that Medina didn’t get to handle the art chores all on his own because even though he is one of those over stylish, exaggerated and chunky visuals artists, his work is competent and enjoyable enough to be quirky and stand out as some good comic book entertainment.
In short, Planet of the Apes – Old Gods is not a masterpiece and probably will only really appeal to fans of the age old Planet of the Apes franchise. The story is fairly mediocre and enjoyable enough, it is just that the art is more than a little of a letdown.
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