Published on December 31st, 2014 | by JCDoyle0
The Primate Directive – Review
Star Trek and Planet of the Apes crossover in this new 5 issue miniseries, The Primate Directive, from IDW and Boom! Studios. Written by the same guys who brought you the Star Trek: The Next Generation/Doctor Who crossover but don’t worry, they have the help of the wonderful artist Rachael Stott, so none of that cringe worthy art that made reading the Doctor Who crossover almost impossible.
The story starts with a good old fashioned arms deal. A gorilla general is sold a shed load of advanced machine guns by a shadowy figure who will not doubt turn out to be somebody recognisable from the Star Trek Universe (hence all the shadows).
The story then shifts to a Klingon communications outpost where two instantly recognisable figures (even through their Klingon disguises) are in the process of infiltration. Sulu and Uhura are on a mission to steal information regarding a secret Klingon operation and a possible new weapon. The information they steal leads the Enterprise and her crew to a secret location where the Klingon’s have constructed a device allowing them to travel to Otherdimensional space. After a brief altercation with a couple of Birds of Prey, Kirk is left no option than to travel through the space portal into the other dimension: which is lucky, otherwise this would just be a Star Trek comic.
The Tipton’s aren’t new to Star Trek or writing crossover stories, and this one starts off very well. The opening scene tells the reader everything they need to know about this comic: it sets up the central premise of the comic and the reason for the crossover. It also tells you which of the Universes they are dealing with: we’re talking original incarnations for both franchises. Over the next five issues the reader is going to be transported into the corrupt dealings of Klingon politics and the arms of power hungry Apes as the usual band of Trek characters attempt to stop everything from getting out of hand. It’s going to be a wild ride and as long as you can accept the Dimensional Device that allows the narrative to exist then it’s going to be an enjoyable one. And to be fair, if you can’t accept the Dimensional Device you’re probably not a big fan of Original Star Trek so you’ll not be picking this comic up in the first place.
The characterisation of the main players is wonderful, you can tell that the writers have been writing Star Trek comics for a while now, and the Ape General from the opening scene feels like he has just walked out of the original movie: he’s almost perfect. However, this first issue is pretty much centralised on the Star Trek Universe and barely touches the Planet of the Apes aspect of the story after the opening scene. This would not be a problem if this was a long running or even ongoing monthly comic, but they only have five issues to fill and for me, there aren’t enough Apes.
Also, the ‘cliffhanger’ ending of this first issue is pretty poor. It’s as if they had written the story with no idea how long the first issue was going to be and simply wrote ‘to be continued’ at the bottom of whichever page happened to be last. The result of this is that you are left a little bewildered rather than wanting more from the story which is a shame because otherwise the story is very engaging.
The artwork on the other hand, I can’t fault at all. Rachael Stott brings a classic look to the characters and their settings but at the same time is not limited in the way she lays out the pages or the panels. She captures the characters likenesses brilliantly so much so that there is no need to introduce the characters through the text (this has been a problem with past franchise comics and the Doctor Who/Star Trek crossover I mentioned early suffered greatly from this). Anybody who is slightly familiar with the characters can see that it is Sulu and Uhura on the first page of the ST universe which means that as a reader you instantly become engrossed in the story instead of trying to work out who you’re looking at.
Overall, this is a worthwhile entry into both franchises and is easily accessible for fans of either. I can’t wait for Kirk to shout “Take your hands off me you damn dirty ape” before smooching with the first female ape he sees: you know that these things are going to happen.
Title: Star Trek/Planet of the Apes: The Prime Directive
Publishers: IDW Publishing/Boom! Studios
Writers: Scott and David Tipton
Artist: Rachael Stott
Colours: Charlie Kirchoff