With new comics on hold for the time being, my colleague Tony Thornley and I decided to dive deep into our longboxes and collections to bring you a new Comicon feature we’re calling New To You Comics.
Tony and I have very different tastes in comics. He tends to drift toward the superhero and sci-fi genres, and I pretty much stick to horror, noir, and thrillers. Sometimes our paths cross, but we, like most readers, tend to stay in our lanes.
The challenge here is for me to introduce Tony to some titles he probably missed on first pass, and for Tony to hit me with some of the stuff he really likes that I haven’t read. All of the titles we will discuss will be brand new to one of us, and all are available on digital platforms. You should be able to access them even if your local shop is temporarily closed or out of stock.
This installment, we have Comicon’s Editor-In-Chief Erik Amaya joining us for a triangle match as we take a look at BOOM! Studios’ Kong on the Planet of the Apes SC by Ryan Ferrier and Carlos Magno.
Here’s what BOOM! says about the book:
The damn dirty crossover event you demanded! 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!
Brendan Allen: Kong on the Planet of the Apes SC takes place just following the blowoff of 1968’s film. Maybe not immediately after, but close enough to the events of that film that Cornelius and Zira are still on house arrest for helping the human astronaut Taylor challenge apekind’s whole belief system.
In their attempts to erase any evidence of humankind’s last stain on their planet, they make a discovery that threatens to blow their whole belief system wide open. Again.
There’s an obvious commitment to the source material that explores many themes from the ‘68 film and Joe DeVito’s Kong of Skull Island. Let me just lead off by saying, it’s ridiculous that these two franchises can even occupy the same pages, let alone retain their individual identities and play this well together. What’d you guys think?
Tony Thornley: I absolutely love that the story takes such a silly premise and makes it not just work, but work really well. I mean, this story is really a remake of the classic King Kong in the Planet of the Apes universe, but that isn’t a strike against Ryan Ferrier’s story or plot. It’s a lot of fun, it has some great intense action moments, and actually has some solid character moments.
The only thing that disappointed me a little (and this is a very minor thing) is that we don’t really see Kong kick ass in this story. Most of the action is given to Ursus’ gorilla troops or the human tribe from Skull Island. Otherwise, it’s a very fun read.
Erik Amaya: Coming to this as a huge fan of the original Apes film series, I was impressed by how accurately Ferrier captured the voices of characters like Zira, Zaius and Ursus. It feels like a very natural sequel to the original film even as it teases the events of Beneath the Planet of the Apes.
Brendan: When I first went through this book, I was shocked by how well the art works. Carlos Magno’s talking apes are spot on. They have the same look and feel as they do in the film, without the distracting limitations of 1968 prosthetics. That could have easily come off as cheesy or comical, but they fit seamlessly into the aesthetic of Skull Island.
Tony: I really liked Magno’s work here too. It’s photoreal without being stiff, which is a REALLY hard balance to strike for a licensed property, and he blends together the new characters and the movie characters seamlessly, another frequent problem with licensed adaptations. He really brings Skull Island to life. I almost wish the series had been set entirely on the island, because it looks that good.
Erik: You definitely get the impression he knows how to draw the PotA designs without requiring a lot of reference photography. I have to admit, though, it was occasionally unclear if Zira or Cornelius was on the page unless quickly indicated by dialogue. Their silhouettes are so similar that they can easily be confused if not standing right next to each other.
Erik: Beyond my art quibble, though, I was impressed by the way the story incorporated people’s obsession with Kong into the established Apes characters. Zaius and Cornelius’s religious zeal mirrors the greed of Carl Denham from the original film, and similar characters in other remakes and sequels. But it’s doubly interesting that Ferrier resisted the temptation to cast Zira in the Fay Ray role. Even the new human character introduced never really resolves into the damsel.
Tony: Good point. To what I said about it following the plot of the classic Kong, it only does so in broad strokes. Zaius and Cornelius are not exactly in the Denham role. Ursus’ role is more like Sam Jackson’s in Kong: Skull Island than anything from the original. The female characters all get a LOT more agency than anyone from King Kong. Overall, I’d drop in to check it out again!
Brendan: All right, fellas. Let’s have it. Final word?
Erik: One of the best mash-ups of licensed properties I’ve read. It’s true to the spirit of both film series and still introduces provocative and interesting ideas — like the Ape island where Ursus finds a kindred spirit. I wish it could’ve continued into Beneath’s storyline with the underground mutants.
Tony: I liked it. It was a little bit more low key than I expected, but it was worth a read. The art alone here is worth the price of admission. It’s probably not good for a Planet of the Apes noob, but otherwise, I’d check it out again!
Brendan: The great thing about these BOOM! Studios’ Planet of the Apes crossovers is they made a bunch of them, and most of them are really, really good. You should check out Planet of the Apes/Green Lantern. And Star Trek/Planet of the Apes. Also, Tarzan on the Planet of the Apes. Actually, you know what? Buy them all. All the books.
Also, I get double points for this recommendation, since you both liked it.
Tony: Wait, we’re keeping score?
Brendan: Of course we’re keeping score. And I am crushing it. Thanks for popping by, Erik. See you around the water cooler. What’s up next, Tony?
Tony: We’re going to shuffle things around a little bit from what I originally told you. We’re going to cover Tom Taylor and Trevor Harsine’s DCeased from DC Comics!
Kong on the Planet of the Apes SC, BOOM! Studios, 16 October 2018. Written by Ryan Ferrier, illustrated by Carlos Magno, colors by Alex Guimaraes, letters by Ed Dukeshire.
We’d like to ask, on behalf of our friends and colleagues that own and are employed by comic shops, that you first try to get these books at your local shop. This is a very uncertain time for owners, employees, and their families. Show some love for your community and friends by buying from your regular shop when possible and safe.
If your local comic store is temporarily closed, not offering safe curbside pick up or mail order, or is out of stock on this title, you can find a digital copy of Kong PotA for $14 at Comixology right here. Atomic Empire has physical copies available for $16 mail order right here, and Amazon has them for $18 here.