Review: Kong on the Planet of the Apes #4

Darryll Robson Darryll Robson
Expert Contributor
February 20th, 2018

Lifetime reader of comics and fan of Planet of the Apes. When the two combine I can barely contain myself. Image, Boom and Titan comics fight for shelf space with Doctor Who DVDs.

Review: Kong on the Planet of the Apes #4
Comics
0
Price:
Entertaining

Reviewed by:
Rating:
4
On February 20, 2018
Last modified:February 20, 2018

Summary:

An impressive mix of two popular franchises. The characterisation and artistic representation of both make this series enjoyable and, with an added twist or two, the comic is entertaining from cover to cover.

Price:
Entertaining

Reviewed by:
Rating:

4
On February 20, 2018
Last modified:February 20, 2018

Summary:

An impressive mix of two popular franchises. The characterisation and artistic representation of both make this series enjoyable and, with an added twist or two, the comic is entertaining from cover to cover.

MORE NEWS FROM THE WEB

After 50 years, Boom! Studios is still keeping the Planet of the Apes franchise alive and well. They have released large collections of reprints, specific character focused titles, and of course the Kong crossover of which has reached its forth issue. Our contributor, Darryll Robson, continues to keep us updated on all things Ape.

Not only is Kong on the Planet of the Apes a crossover that is blindingly obvious, it is also a retelling of the King Kong story in a world that makes a lot of sense. The additional religious element that is almost automatically written into the narrative, and absent from the original plot, adds depth to an already entertaining read. As the series passes it's half way point the action begins to take over and the Apes are turning on each other.

Synopsis

Having found Skull Island and tamed the beast Kong, the Ape expedition returns to Ape City. While they’ve been gone an insurgence of Human Rights Activists have started protesting in the streets. Factions are forming between the once peaceful Chimpanzees, the Orangutans and the Gorillas.

It isn’t long before this unrest affects the members of the expedition and cracks in old friendships appear. Zaius must think fast if he is to reunite his people and he uses the one think he has that will act as a symbol of Ape supremacy, the God like Kong.

Credit: Boom! Studios

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Analysis

Kong on the Planet of the Apes is a retelling of the King Kong story, this is obvious. But what Ryan Ferrier does is subvert the story to fit the setting and make the narrative not about Kong but the Apes that are affected by his presence. Zaius, Cornelius and Zira’s lives are touched by the introduction of the giant gorilla and not for the best. It is in their reactions to the situation that the true drama of the comic is born.

Most people reading this will know the main characters, they have been staple characters in the movies and comics for the last 50 years. And yet Ferrier finds new aspects of their personalities to mine. The relationships between Chimpanzee and Orangutan are more strained than in any other takes on the Ape franchise and one relationship in particular suffers surprisingly because of Kong’s introduction. Ferrier is using a recognisable story to explore the characters we all know and love in new and surprising ways.

Carlos Magno’s artwork is befitting of this style of narrative. He is heavily influenced by the movie aesthetic and knows how to transfer those larger than life scenes into an easy flowing comic book. His rendering of the broken Kong is most impressive as the creators have produced a sublime contrast between the Kong the reader knows, and Zaius is claiming to have captured, and the defeated Ape in Magno’s illustrations. The closer the reader is taken to Kong the more harrowing his fate has become. He is a tragic figure, a mere shadow of his former self.

Credit: Boom! Studios

There is a major threat to Ape City in these pages and it’s not the one that the reader will be expecting but when it comes, the action hots up. The violence that ensues is quick and brutal and the reader is not spared from the full frontal assault but the same can also be said for some of the more sociological aspects of the story.  The Human Rights Activists may be Chimps in these page but the message they are spreading is relatable the world over. It calls back to the early films and the societies they were trying to incorporate into the narrative but the call for freedom is still relevant today. All the best Ape stories have social commentary and Kong on the Planet of the Apes is no exception.

There are some very big scenes played out in this comic and the pace is steady, building towards an energetic and exciting climax. But there is as much to see in the backgrounds and subplots. Take for example the little inclusion of the ‘See no Evil, Hear no Evil, Speak no evil” Apes. A single panel that contains a seemingly throwaway gag but is actually a representation of the Ape’s council reluctance to accept change; they stand as a visual testament to the council’s rejection of potential blasphemy. It’s a wonderful moment especially when juxtaposed with Zaius’ speech regarding Ape dominance.

Kong on the Planet of the Apes has been and continues to be an excellent read. The narrative is strong and the artwork creates an emotional and believable world. The central characters are starting to look old and worn as if they are being drained by their adventures; the strains of this new twist in the Apes story is showing in their faces as well as their actions. The colour by Alex Guimaraes adds depth to the scenes while making the Ape castes instantly recognisable. The dark shadows and the blue/blacks of so much of the scenery gives the comic an ominous tone which prepares the reader for the threat in the final sequence.

There is quite a lot to take in. Ferrier lulls you into a comfort zone by initially giving the reader a story they recognise, the of Kong’s capture and return to the civilised world, but the curveball he throws will leave the reader wanting more, wondering where it might lead. By the end of this issue neither Kong nor the Ape cast are left unchanged from the characters we all love. There is anything and everything to play for.

Darryll Robson is a Contributor to ComiConverse. Occasionally he remembers his Twitter account: @DarryllRobson, but he does remember to write more about comics on his website comiccutdown.com

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Kong on the Planet of the Apes #4

  • 4

Entertaining

An impressive mix of two popular franchises. The characterisation and artistic representation of both make this series enjoyable and, with an added twist or two, the comic is entertaining from cover to cover.

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