Planet of the ApesThe quest for answers continues as Esau, Seneca, Attar, and the human woman, Crow, flee from the vicious pursuit of ape soldiers. A mysterious forest legend, a warrior in black armour, may provide a rescue…but will he be saving our heroes for a worse fate? New battles spark a new war between the ape nation and the collaborative ape-human resistance. But some allegiances — and destinies — are still left undefined. Will Attar, the once imposing military captain, return to Derkein to try to stop the bloodshed? Or, will he continue his consuming, idealistic quest for Ari? Will Seneca, formerly of the ape senate, lead the resistance forces proudly against his ape brothers? And, will Esau stand at Seneca’s side, or make an unpredictable move to bolster solely human forces, and rid the planet of their ape overlords…forever?!

Planet of the Apes: Blood Lines collects issue #4-#6 of the ongoing Dark Horse Comics’ Planet of the Apes series and continues on from the Planet of the Apes: Old Gods trade paperback.

This time our four protagonists have escaped from the clutches of the vicious Chimera half-breeds, only to now be once again chased by yet more Gorillas on horseback. Wonderful. This time however they get saved by a mysterious ‘ghost’ warrior who takes them back to a forest-dwelling human camp where they invariably get drawn into the age old struggle between the ape-hating humans and the human-hating apes. And as this series tends to do, we end off in a gigantic battle for survival between the human camp and the marauding apes.

Unfortunately Blood Lines reads almost the same as the first story arc told in Old Gods, and the addition of acclaimed British Horror and Sci-Fi/Fantasy writer Dan Abnett to the already legendary British comic book scripter Ian Edginton fails to bring anything substantial or new to this already wallowing series. It reads like a typical action comic and is not particularly horrible or bad or anything like that – just very mediocre.

However, it must be said that the mediocre feeling that Blood Lines brings is actually not the script’s fault – rather it is the inconsistent art that brings it to its knees, and this is pretty much thanks to the go ahead in using no less than four different pencillers, all with wildly different styles, and three separate inkers to tackle three issues’ worth of material.

New additions since the last outing on the pencilling front include Sanford Greene and the established Pop Mhan, both of which are actually quite enjoyable to look at and it would actually have been nice to see either one of these dynamic and fairly clean line artists to have picked up the title. As it is Paco Medina is back again and his style, although chunky and exaggerated is always nice to view, but unfortunately so is the disaster that is known as Adrian Sibar. Once again his wildly exaggerated and ‘stylish’ drawing looks like a child was handling the pencil or at least that there was an overexcited monkey on his back while drawing because once again it is simply terrible. There isn’t anything good to say about his child-like, simplistic visuals and unfortunately it leaves a bad taste in the mouth and pretty much brings down the quality of the entire publication.

So to sum it all up, Planet of the Apes: Blood Lines picks up exactly where Old Gods left off and is your typical action-orientated fight fest (though with a little more visual gore this time around) with substandard visuals (only when Sibar is on pencilling duties mind you – the rest is actually pretty nice to look at). Again a lesson in mediocre comic book storytelling, this release probably only appeals to those who actually follow the Planet of the Apes franchise in the first place.

You can probably leave this one in the bargain bin where you found it then.

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