'Kong on the Planet of the Apes' a clever mash-up of social and political significance

‘Kong on the Planet of the Apes’ a clever mash-up of social and political significance

Cover to 'Kong on the Planet of the Apes' #1. Art by Mike Huddleston/BOOM! Studios

Cover to ‘Kong on the Planet of the Apes’ #1. Art by Mike Huddleston/BOOM! Studios

By Brendan Hodgdon. This year delivered a double-dose of (awesome) cinematic simian action in the forms of Kong: Skull Island and War for the Planet of the Apes, both of which spoke to the core of their respective series. And now in comic book form, we have Kong of the Planet of the Apes, which remarkably blends both franchises together in a way that stays true to both.

Writer Ryan Ferrier honors the thoughtful nature of both King Kong and Planet of the Apes with his script, considering the implications of Kong’s presence in the apes’ world on a deep-tissue philosophical level. After the body of a Kong-like giant ape is discovered in the shadows of the destroyed Statue of Liberty, we see all the classic characters — Zira, Cornelius, Zauis and Ursus — grapple with the potential impact this knowledge could have on their world. Their disparate motivations are clearly established, and the potential for conflict is so tangible it begs to be seen through to the sure-to-be bloody finale. Ferrier then drops the characters and their conflicts into a classic quest narrative that opens up their world in some really fun ways.

Interior page from 'Kong on the Planet of the Apes'. Art by Carlos Magno, Alex Guimaraes, and Ed Dukeshire/BOOM! Studios

Interior page from ‘Kong on the Planet of the Apes’. Art by Carlos Magno, Alex Guimaraes, and Ed Dukeshire/BOOM! Studios

Thankfully, Carlos Magno’s art is a great match for Ferrier’s script, comfortably bringing to life the classic POTA designs and presenting them at an epic scale that wasn’t really feasible for the original films. This is particularly true of the last segment of the issue, as the ape expedition approaches Skull Island and run afoul of some excitingly-designed monsters. Magno also gets the chance to expand on the original production design when the expedition stops at an ape community in Africa, and he takes full advantage. Perhaps the one knock I could offer here is that during one extended scene between Cornelius, Zira and Milo it was hard to tell them all apart, but that is as much the fault of the limited ape makeup from the film as anything else and becomes a non-issue as the story continues.

A mash-up between King Kong and Planet of the Apes could easily have been a lazy cash-grab. But Ryan Ferrier clearly put a lot of thought into the social, political, and religious significance that such a mash-up might offer, and with Carlos Magno’s solid art to bring all of that to life, I can safely say: Apes. Together. Strong.

BOOM! Studios/$3.99

Written by Ryan Ferrier.

Art by Carlos Magno.

Colors by Alex Guimaraes.

Letters by Ed Dukeshire.

7.5 out of 10

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