ISSUE #8: I am enjoying this series, but I’m a little amused that this, the eighth part of an ongoing story, is labeled “part four” and next month’s issue is yet another “part one.” Other than that, it’s the best POTA comic since the Moench/Ploog days.
I have allowed myself to fall behind on this series (the last issue I read was #12), but the initial series recently came to an end with #16 so I decided it was time to catch up. In addition, there have been two four-limited series, Betrayal of the Planet of the Apes and Exile on the Planet of the Apes, which I have allowed myself to fall behind on, too, because I missed Betrayal #4. Betrayal takes place 20 years before the events of the first movie, and Exile takes place 18 years before. Evidently Betrayal #4 had a low print run because requests to reorder it from the distributor have gone unfulfilled. I found a copy online, however, and ordered it yesterday, so I should soon be able to post thought on those two series.
Falling behind on the main series after #12 was inadvertently a good place, because #13-16 jumps 10 years up the timeline. Yesterday, Annual #1 was released, but I haven’t read it yet. Annual #1 bridges the gap between #16 and the mini-series, then soon (September, I think), Cataclysm on the Planet of the Apes will deal with the hitherto unrevealed destruction of Earth’s Moon, which will somehow presumably tie in somehow with the further Fall of Man.
PLANET OF THE APES ANNUAL #1: Four stories:
The first story is a prequel to the 16-issue series which just came to an end and deals with the two main characters, an ape and a human reared as sisters in the city of Mak, when they were little girls.
The second story is set in Ape City (the one we know from the first two movies), and deals with “A Boy and His Human” and is set during the week of the Great Human Purge (dealt with in more detai in the limited series.
The third story is set in the harbor town of Port Simian and is perhaps the most interesting of the lot because it deals with cultures the residents know from across the Great Sea (old human nomenclature: Atlantic Ocean) with which the more provincial inland apes are wholly unfamiliar.
The fifth story is set “40 years before a man named Taylor fell from the stars” and features the main character from the limited series as a young man and tells how he came to lose his eye. The story itself deals with a scroll handed down from the kinder, gentler Lawgiver of the final movie and what the Council did to cover it up in order to push their own anti-human agenda.
None of these stories is absolutely essential, yet all of them serve to flesh out details of the timeline dealt with in the main series but which wouldn’t quite fit within the stories themselves. For new readers, the annual serves as a good introduction the kind of stories Boom Studios is telling in their sundry POTA series, and for regular readers, it supplements those stories.
BETRAYAL OF THE PLANET OF THE PLANET OF THE APES:
This four-issue limited series takes place “20 years before a man named Taylor fell from the stars.” Here is the set up: “Ape society is in flux. The rigid caste system is breaking down. Humans can’t speak and are considered animals, but are tolerated in the City. Scientific curiosity is smashing old taboos. But not everyone is happy with the new status quo. Some would even break the Lawgiver’s most sacred commandment, Ape Shall Not Kill Ape, to halt the march of progress.” The setting is familiar, but the characters are mostly new.
General Aleron: A gorilla who believes in human rights. This is not the first time we’ve seen a gorilla as a central character in POTA lore, but he is the first sympathetic gorilla central character that comes to mind.
Lt. Varus: A political rival of General Aleron, Lt. Varus disappeared on a mission into the Forbidden Zone some 15 years before the opening of the story. It is widely believed he defected, but new evidence has come to light that he was murdered.
Cato: An orangutan animal psychologist who has taught his pet human to speak using sign language.
Prisca: Cato’s protégé, a female chimpanzee.
Tern: Cato’s pet human.
Tenebris: Senior member of the Ape Council.
Quintessa: Female member of the Ape Council, more progressive than Tenebris.
Zaius: The junior member of the Ape council, Zaius is surprisingly progressive himself.
The conflict begins when Cato, put on trial for teaching a human sign language, is found innocent by the council. He is later forced to drink poison in a staged suicide, but Tern, who witnesses the murder, escapes and seeks Prisca for help. Meanwhile, an ape skull with a bullet hole through it has been discovered in the Forbidden Zone. Quintessa dies under mysterious circumstances. Zaius is kidnapped by Tenebris, who reveals the secret of the Forbidden Zone to Zaius, setting him on the path to become the Chief Defender of the Faith we know from the first two movies.
EXILE ON THE PLANET OF THE PLANET OF THE APES:
Two years have passed since the end of the previous mini-series, when Dr. Zaius banished all humans from Ape City and launched a campaign of eradication. A band of humans has been staging raids on ape settlements from their base, just inside the Forbidden Zone. The humans cannot speak, but they all know how to communicate via sign language. When the apes march on the human camp, the humans are driven further into the Fobidden Zone, across the inland sea.
The stage is now set for the next mini-series, Cataclysm on the Planet of the Apes, in September.
CATACLYSM #1: The main action of this story takes place eight years before the events of the movie, but the stories prologue takes place some 2000 years earlier, before the Fall of Man. In it, the “Asian Confederacy” launches an attack on North America from their base on the Moon. In a bunker somewhere in what appears to be the western United States, preparations are being made to launch a doomsday weapon of the same model as see in Beneath the Planet of the Apes, but the retaliation is delayed and an atomic holocaust ensues on Earth.
An orangutan scientist enters the that same bunker 2000 years later, kills the gorillas guarding it, and sets off the missile, still aimed at the Moon. In Ape City, characters introduced in the previous mini-series interact, when suddenly, the Moon explodes. Unrealistically, debris from the shattered moon being raining down almost immediately, but the stage has been set for the rest of the story to play out upon.
CATACLYSM #2: In the wake of the meteor shower resulting from the destruction of the moon, Ape City is rocked by a series of natural disasters: earthquakes, fires, flash floods and volcanic activity.
CATACLYSM #3 supposedly shipped with five different covers, but I saw only two at my LCS last week. I think I am going to nominate cover “A” by Alex Ross for a “Cappie” at the end of the year. At first blush, it appears to depict apes caught in a waterfall, until one notices the buildings in the background and realizes the cover must be rotated 90 degrees counter-clockwise to see they are actually caught in a flash flood.
CATACLYSM #4: I’ve been enjoying this mini-series so far, but this is the one that has come the closest to losing me, mainly because we are asked to believe that Dr. Zauis not only had prior knowledge of the NYC mutants, but also that he had encountered them some eight or nine years prior to Beneath Planet of the Apes. Uh-uh, no way. We’ll see how they wrap it up.
“Back inna day,” among my favorite publications was Marvel’s Planet of the Apes magazine. At first attracted (in those pre-VHS days) by the movie adaptations, I later came to appreciate the back-up features, primarily “Terror on the Planet of the Apes” by Doug Moench and Mike Ploog. Each issue would feature one chapter of a movie adaptation and one chapter (or standalone story) set in Marvel’s “Ape-verse,” along with articles and behind-the-scenes featurettes. It stikes me that Boom studios has replicated this format to some degree with their two concurrent series. One is wholly original, and Cataclysm is a direct prequel to the movie series.
I sure wish they were in one publication, though. And in black and white. And magazine-size. And printed on newsprint. And…
This just in:
New York, NY— June 17, 2022 — Today, Marvel Entertainment announced the PLANET OF THE APES franchise is returning to Marvel Comics with all-new stories starting in early 2023! The legendary science fiction franchise has spanned over five decades with media including comics, books, films, television series, video games, and toys.
Marvel Comics and PLANET OF THE APES have a deep history that goes back over 40 years. Marvel first published PLANET OF THE APES stories in 1974, and in 1975, Marvel published ADVENTURES ON THE PLANET OF THE APES, full-color adaptations of the iconic Planet of the Apes films.
“We’re thrilled to welcome Planet of the Apes back to the House of Ideas!” Editor-in-Chief C.B. Cebulski said. “The new saga in the pipeline is going explore the limits of what this beloved franchise has to offer through bold comics storytelling, and we look forward to setting foot on this new adventure!”
Details on upcoming PLANET OF THE APES comic book titles, collections, reprints, and creative teams will be shared at a later date.
Ahem. If I may be allowed to fact check...
"Marvel first published PLANET OF THE APES stories in 1974, and in 1975, Marvel published ADVENTURES ON THE PLANET OF THE APES, full-color adaptations of the iconic Planet of the Apes films reprinting its adaptations of the first two films in color."
There. I feel better now.
Thanks for posting to this discussion and reminding me that it exists.
NEW OMNIBUS COLLECTS MARVEL'S CLASSIC PLANET OF THE APES COMIC SERIES
PLANET OF THE APES ADVENTURES: THE ORIGINAL MARVEL YEARS OMNIBUS arrives in 2023!
New York, NY— June 23, 2022 — Last week, Marvel Comics announced a brand-new era of PLANET OF THE APES comics storytelling! The groundbreaking science-fiction phenomenon will return to Marvel Comics with a new series next year and fans will also be able to enjoy Marvel’s previous PLANET OF THE APES stories in the upcoming PLANET OF THE APES ADVENTURES: THE ORIGINAL MARVEL YEARS OMNIBUS!
This rare collection will reprint all eleven issues of ADVENTURES ON THE PLANETS OF THE APES for the very first time! The beloved 1975 series adapted the first two iconic Planet of the Apes films and hold a special place in the hearts of Planet of the Apes and Marvel Comics fans alike!
When a crew of astronauts crash-lands on a strange and desolate world, they discover a society of apes with heightened intelligence and speech! And here, a race of mute humans are their slaves! Can the mission’s leader, Taylor, fight his way free and hold onto his humanity? What is the shocking secret of this Planet of the Apes? And what unfathomable danger lies beneath the surface? Find out when a second spaceship makes its way to this uncanny world and another astronaut faces a battle for survival, with the fate of the entire planet at stake!
It’s the simian sci-fi staple in the mighty Marvel manner! Relive Marvel’s take on the classic films Planet of the Apes and Beneath the Planet of the Apes in one action-packed volume! Check out the covers of the omnibus below and stay tuned for more news about PLANET OF THE APES’ exciting future at Marvel Comics! For more information, visit Marvel.com.
PLANET OF THE APES OMNIBUS
Written By Doug Moench
Art By George Tuska & Aldredo Alcala
Cover By E.M. Gist
Direct Market Exclusive Cover By Gil Kane
On Sale March 2023