Comics

Published on December 24th, 2014 | by JCDoyle

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Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes #2 – Review

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It’s the end of civilisation so it’s time for the guns to come out and the persecution to begin. And as with the film, Michael Moreci’s prequel story contrasts and compares the way that the Apes and the Humans handle their new found apocalypse.

One half of the story follows Malcolm and his family as they travel in search of medical help for Rita who has contracted the Simian Flu. They decide to hole up in a Motel because it’s obviously much safer than sleeping in the car, obviously! When Malcolm enters the seemingly deserted Motel he finds that the proprietor is still at home.  The room is disturbingly cheap and it turns out there are hidden costs when a gang of gun toting kidnappers turn up to snatch them from their beds. There is a fight and Malcolm is injured: the outlook doesn’t look good but help is at hand. Or is it?

The companion piece, the Ape tale as it were, focuses on Koba and a couple of scavenger apes as they ransack a seemingly deserted house. It’s not deserted, obviously, and when the inhabitants come back and find ‘dirty apes’ rooting through their supplies the easy to anger man pulls out his shotgun, ready to relieve some stress. Koba attacks and beats the man to death. The woman runs. Koba instructs the other apes to catch and kill her but they hesitate: it’s not what Caesar would want. Koba disagrees, thinking only of the immediate survival of the apes. His will is too strong for the scavengers and they reluctantly do his bidding.

DPOTA02 insert

The two stories weave in and out of each other brilliantly with the pace of each mirroring the other. Both start with the same  trepidation as the central characters enter an unknown location and then the action heats up with the inclusion of other characters. The comparison between Malcolm and Koba is interesting as they both basically want the same thing, to survive, but somehow their approach makes a hero out of one and a villain out of the other. Part of this is down to the depiction of the characters by the artist, Dan McDaid, who chooses sympathetic view points for Malcolm, making him the defender of his family where as Koba is shown from an aggressive view point.  The reader is forced to look up at the ape as he attacks and then is shown the wild eyed and bloodied Koba dispatching others to kill a single, petrified human.

One of the most outstanding aspects of this comic is the panel design. As the adrenaline and the fear take hold of the characters the panels start to lose coherence and the very boarders begin to buckle under the pressure. The page where the female human is hunted down by the ape is a prime example of this. As the hunt nears it’s end the panel structure breaks down and the details depicted in the panels fade into the distance as the central image of desperation is thrust out at the reader. The woman reaches out to you, her expression is the very essence of fear and as she screams, she is pleading with you not to let this happen, don’t allow the ape to take her. It’s a powerful moment handled perfectly by McDaid.

This issue is full of surprises and builds up two characters, Malcolm and Koba, who are different sides of the same coin. Both the writing and the art is engaging and there is something here for fans of the movies and newbies to the franchise. One of the things that is evident from the Planet of the Apes comics that Boom! Studios have put out over the years is that the people involved have a great love and respect for the franchise and that is something that is definitely on show in this Dawn prequel.

DPOTA02 cover

Title: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Publisher: Boom! Studios

Writer: Michael Moreci

Artist: Dan McDaid

JCDoyle

JCDoyle

Lover of comics and Art and Sci-Fi in multiple media. Currently teaching my kids the ways of the Geek (while protecting my first editions)
JCDoyle

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