Exploring The Strength And Shortcomings Of Apekind In POTA: The Simian Age #1

by Brendan M. Allen

Celebrate over 50 years of one of cinema’s most influential franchises with this one-shot collection of stories highlighting the simian citizens of the world of Planet of the Apes! Featuring stories from both the original films and new series canon, including the life of an Ape Soldier in General Ursus’s army, and a story set before Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, revealing Koba’s early struggles to remain loyal to Caesar.

As noted in the publisher’s blurb, Planet of the Apes: The Simian Age #1 is a one-shot collection of three stories, all taking place within the PotA universe during different periods, each exploring the strength and shortcomings of apekind.

First up is Mother of Exiles, by Jeff Jensen and Jared Cullum. This chapter centers on Amy, who, rather than deal with the strict rules and harsh judgment of her fellow apes, has chosen a life of solitude and emotional self flagellation. Without giving away too much, Amy’s story is a highly relatable, emotional opener.

Apex, by Matt Kindt and Matt Smith, takes a good hard look at the life of a young soldier, freshly enlisted in the defense of apekind. Everything about his training tells Apex to blindly obey and to complete the task at any cost. An extremely intimate encounter on his first mission deeply affects the young ape and plants the tiniest seed of dissent.

In the three-hole is Cloud and Rain, by Ryan Ferrier and Lalit Kumar, which takes place some time between Rise and Dawn on the PotA timeline. Koba is still loyal to Caesar, but his intense hatred for humankind is testing that bond and drives him to commit unspeakable acts. When two young apes inadvertently question the elder ape’s fidelity, the consequences are swift and brutal.

While these are three very different stories, spoken in very different voices, with very different aesthetics, there is a common theme. Each chapter presents a real and present threat to the deeply rooted philosophical, religious, and sociological traditions that have shaped apekind’s thinking since Caesar led the first ape rebellion.
Boom! Studios has done a fantastic job with the PotA universe, and this collection falls right in with the quality we’ve come to expect. Fans of the previous series will get a kick out of Simian Age, but it’s also accessible to new readers looking to catch a taste.

Planet of the Apes: The Simian Age #1, Boom! Studios, released 12 December 2018. Mother of Exiles written by Jeff Jensen, illustrated by Jared Cullum, Apex written by Matt Kindt, illustrated by Matt Smith, color by Joana Lafuente, Cloud and Rain written by Ryan Ferrier, illustrated by Lalit Kumar Sharma, color by Gabriel Cassata, all stories lettered by Ed Dukeshire, cover by Fay Dalton and John Keaveney, variant cover by Michael Allred and Laura Allred.

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