[*Mild Spoilers Ahead!]
We join the Planet of the Apes during the height of ape civilization. Amy lives in her lighthouse on the beach where a man and woman passed not too long ago. Amy is an artist, and she is quite sad. She has felt detached from her mate. One day, she finds another human collapsed on the beach, and Amy must decide if she will help the human.
In the second tale, we follow Apex, a gorilla warrior, as he raids a human conclave in a Forbidden Zone cave.
Finally, we follow to apes, Cloud and Rain, as they follow their leader, Koba, shortly after the fall of the humans and the beginning of the reign of Caesar.
Planet of the Apes: The Simian Age #1 aims to give the reader a more in-depth look at various players in the story of the Planet of the Apes universe.
As a disclosure, I’ve not actually watched any of the Planet of the Apes films outside of the original Charleton Heston-led 1968 film by Franklin J. Schaffner.
I do love that film though, and I aim watch the others some day. In any case, the three stories in Simian Age are interesting if not especially exciting. The first tale shows Amy grappling with a mixture of cowardice and compassion, the second shows how Apex grows to care for humans, and the third shows how ruthlessness towards humans began to grow under Caesar’s rule.
None of the tales are bad, mind you. It’s just that none especially surprises, and the pacing and format leave the stories feeling a little slow.
The third tale, “Cloud and Rain,” is by far the best. It does manage to shock a couple of times, and it shows how, even under a good ruler, corruption, bigotry, and violence can grow.
Jared Cullum, Matt Smith, and Lalit Kumar Sharma are the artists on this venture, and each one brings something different to the table for their story. Cullum gives a light, airy, almost mythical aesthetic to the first tale, Smith makes his look more classically comic book-ish with heavy inking and imposing figures, and Sharma brings a grittier and heavier style to the final tale. Cullum colors his own comic, and Joana Lafuente and Gabriel Cassata color the latter two stories respectively. Each color artist gives their story a good treatment and leaves nothing to be desired from their tale.
Planet of the Apes: The Simian Age #1 is a fairly entertaining read with some interesting expansion in the Planet of the Apes canon. I can’t say it was especially exciting, but fans of the Planet of the Apes and its extended universe will likely get some enjoyment out of it.
Planet of the Apes: The Simian Age #1 comes to us from writers Jeff Jensen, Matt Kindt, and Ryan Ferrier, artists Jared Cullum, Matt Smith, and Lalit Kumar Sharma, color artists Jared Cullum, Joana Lafuente, and Gabriel Cassata, letterer Ed Dukeshire, and cover artist Fay Dalton with John Keaveney, and variant cover artist Michael Allred with Laura Allred.