Published on April 8th, 2015 | by JCDoyle0
The Primate Directive #5 Review
You will most likely have two reactions to the final issue of The Primate Directive, the Star Trek/Planet of the Apes crossover story from IDW and Boom! Studios.
The first will be “Oh my God, that’s awesome,” quickly followed by “Oh, is that it?”
The story has Kirk confront Kor, stopping him from assassinating Ursus, before the Klingon manages to transport off world with little interference.
Then Ursus confronts Marius and the two ‘fight like Apes’. Ursus gets the upper hand and he eulogises on the greatness of Apes but Marius acts like a dishonourable Klingon and pulls a gun. Luckily another gorilla steps in and Ursus is praised by the entire Gorilla army. Doctor Zaius, on ther other hand, recognises that they “may have traded today’s threat for tomorrow’s catastrophe”, a forewarning of the events in the Ape movies and also, it turns out, the ending of this comic.
After this there is a number of Goodbye’s as the characters all make whatever excuses are necessary to get them back to where they need to be to tie in with whatever franchise they are a part of. There is a cat and mouse hunt around the solar system which involves Kor trying to trap the Enterprise ala Wrath of Khan but this proves to be nothing more than a pointless narrative to keep the Enterprise around long enough for the Planet below to explode. Kirk laments at the waste and they go home.
They story concludes inside the repaired Icarus (Taylor’s spaceship from the first film) where Cornelius, Zira and Milo wonder what they are going to do now their world has gone. Luckily for them, Cornelius managed to get his paws on a Trek device that explains the ‘Slingshot Effect’ to them.
The characters throughout this series have been spot on. The Tipton’s have proven in each issue they understand each of the franchises and the people who inhabit them. They have been working on Star Trek for years and the voices of Kirk and crew are indistinguishable from the original series but they have also shown that they can turn these talents to other characters. The Ursus arc over the last 5 issues has been wonderful to read, they way they have taken a villainous character from the Planet of the Apes movies and turn him into a hero while at the same time hinting at the terrible deeds that he will undertake. It’s an extremely well thought out idea and took George Lucas three rubbish films to do the same thing with Darth Vader.
The standard of the art work hasn’t changed from issue 1. The representations of the characters is beautiful especially during the scenes of confrontation. Marius and Ursus squaring up is an excellent panel: it has the aggression of the characters but is also slightly ludicrous just like the later Apes movies. And when they start fighting, oh boy does it look good. The gorilla fight scenes are outstanding. They are full of energy and anger and the aggression reaches out of the page threatening to engulf the reader like an uncontrollable force.
The downside to all of this is the story itself. I’m afraid to say, like Battle for the Planet of the Apes, that this final part is very underwhelming. The Klingon threat is cleared up so quickly it’s almost as if Kor didn’t want to take over the world at all and was just waiting for a reason to go home. Even the space battle serves no purpose with the mighty Birds of Prey crumbling to dust with barely a shot fired. Everything on the planet returns to the original status quo without much effort from either the Apes of the Enterprise crew. Everything is taken care of and wrapped up so easily that you do question the point of the whole thing.
This issue is also in contrast to the previous ones in that it relies heavily on background knowledge of both franchises. I previously thought that Zaius’ role as narrator for the Planet of the Apes elements of the story were unnecessary and took up too much room, well here the opposite happens. If you haven’t seen Beneath the Planet of the Apes or Escape from the Planet of the Apes the entire finale of this story makes no sense. Kirk leaves the earth having returned everyone to their desired places and then, without warning or explanation the planet explodes. I’m confused that the Tipton’s used so much space in earlier issues to explain the intricacies of Ape culture (which bares no relevance to the plot) but then doesn’t spend any time at all on a major narrative development. It’s all a little disappointing. By the time Cornelius learns of the ‘slingshot effect’ the reader is left wondering why the story didn’t revolve around the planets destruction, couldn’t the plot have been linked into that in some way? It feels like a missed opportunity.
This series has had some amazing high points, the Tipton’s character representation, Stott’s spectacular illustration, but unfortunately the story arc itself has contained too much filler in the wrong places and ended rather flatly.
Title: Star Trek/Planet of the Apes: The Primate Directive
Publishers: IDW Publishing/Boom! Studios
Writers: Scott and David Tipton
Artist: Rachael Stott
Colours: Charlie Kirchoff