Ryan Ferrier (Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II, D4VE) and Carlos Magno (Kong of Skull Island, Planet of the Apes) present Kong on the Planet of the Apes. Following the events of the first Planet of the Apes film (1968), Dr. Zaius and General Ursus lead a small group of soldiers to the Forbidden Zone to destroy any remaining evidence of Taylor’s time among them. To their surprise, they discover…a Kong! Now they must venture to Skull Island with Cornelius and Zira to discover the truth, but they may not survive the deadliest journey of their lives!
Kong on the Planet of the Apes opens up following the aftermath from 1968’s Planet of the Apes film. Maybe not immediately after, but the memory of the human astronaut Taylor’s intrusion on their utopian ape society is recent enough it still stings. Cornelius and Zira are still on house arrest for their roles in allowing Taylor to challenge apekind’s entire belief system.
General Ursus and Doctor Zaius lead a party to the Forbidden Zone to destroy the “greatest symbol of man’s cruelty and ignorance,” the Statue of Liberty. By rubbing out mankind’s last remaining mark on their planet, they apparently hope to avoid addressing any of the issues Taylor’s mere existence stirred up. If humans have the capability to think, feel, and even speak, it raises all kinds of morality issues surrounding exploitation and treatment of the beasts. Best to just destroy and bury that statue. Forget the whole nasty business.
In the process of trying to reseal Pandora’s box, the team makes a discovery that could blow their entire belief system wide open. Again. The massive carcass of a Kong has washed up on the shore behind Lady Liberty.
Ryan Ferrier uses Kong on the Planet of the Apes to explore many of the themes from the film through an entirely new and fresh dilemma. Talking man-beast? That was yesterday. Dead giant ape-god-freak on the beach today. The characters dig in their heels and apply their deeply rooted philosophical, religious, and sociological biases to the mind-blowing revelation.
Carlos Magno’s art is absurdly good. Each of the apes is distinct and true to the source material, which is especially impressive considering the limitations of prosthetics in the 1968 film. Monsters and dinosaurs and flesh eating plants could easily come off cheesy or comical. Not here. Magno hits all the beats in the script with dark and expressive flair.
Kong/POTA is one of those meetings that had the potential to be off-the-wall amazeballs, or completely miss the mark. I had reservations, but this team brings a brand new story to the franchise with just enough nostalgia to keep it familiar. It’s ridiculous that these two franchises can even occupy the same pages, let alone retain their original identities and play this well together.
Kong on the Planet of the Apes SC, collects the complete 6-issue series, based on Joe DeVito’s Skull Island and Merian C. Cooper’s King Kong, published by BOOM! Studios, released 10 October 2018. Written by Ryan Ferrier, illustrated by Carlos Magno, color by Alex Guimaraes, letters by Ed Dukeshire, cover by Fay Dalton and John Keaveny, Loot Crate exclusive edition cover by Hans Woody.