Planet of the Apes (Malibu/Adventure Comics) #4
writer: Charles Marshall
pencils: Kent Burles
inks: Barb Kaalberg
letters: Clem Robins
editor-in-chief: Chris Ulm
Some things have improved with this issue. Marshall's writing is getting a little more competent, though the pacing is still rushed and awkward. Meanwhile, so much of Burles' art is still virtually impossible to follow, and so many other scenes make odd choices of how to depict the action (example: a panel after Simon shouts a threat at the guards, they are still looking off as if they haven't noticed him yet, and a panel later, we are told they ran off), but he finally gets in a few truly good panels, like the one with Grunt on page 17. Striking stuff. Oh, and Simon still looks like a girl, perhaps Patty Smyth specifically.
So, still lots of logic problems in this issue:
- Why does Simon know or care about Ollo having apes kill other apes in the arena battle? He wasn't there, and that certainly shouldn't trump the killing of his mother in his own mind.
- How does Simon know Grunt's name?
- Simon teaches Grunt to sign all in one (possibly two) evenings, and Grunt suddenly knows enough to concoct a plan with him.
- Really, the entire plan consisted of distracting ONE guard. How the heck was only one guard defending the city?
- How could they be sure the guard would randomly want to take and hurt Coure's baby?
- How did Coure manage to keep a hive of hornets docile and quiet under a cloth until it was time to unleash them on the guard?
- Upon seeing Grunt, Ollo's men proclaim "He doesn't leave here alive," yet Ollo specifically ordered them to bring Grunt and Simon back alive. For a gang of soldiers who get tortured and killed for disobeying orders in the slightest, you think these guys would be more careful.
- When the heck did they contact and assemble all the apes that are suddenly behind Alexander during the invasion? Wouldn't rallying the entire city behind Alexander have been kinda' a bigger and more important aspect of the plan to depict than the distracting of a single guard?
- How is Alexander, a wishy-washy and self-doubting drunk of a leader (as depicted in the first issue) a better fighter than Ollo one-on-one? Doesn't it stand to reason that a single-minded ape obsessively driven to obtain power would spend more time training in such things than Alexander would?
- So how/when did Alexander's forces get all the weapons, and how did that prevent the already armed gorillas from fighting back? Where were they while all of this was happening? Surely, they're not going to pick up and leave just because Ollo got his butt kicked in hand-to-hand combat. Toss him a gun and keep fighting back.
- Help me out with the ending. In what way is Alexander possibly the greatest of Apes (even trumping Caesar)? He had the guts to execute a plan concocted by someone else to undo the damage that his own irresponsible absence caused.
So yeah, still definitely not a tight issue. I don't find these characters anywhere near as interesting nor as great as Marshall does, and I have to say that it's just a tad egoistic to have a monument built to your new protagonist after only four issues with others asserting he's an even greater ape than Caesar was. Sure, Marshall. You tell yourself that.
- Dr. Moto is back. He's playing a very stereotypical sadistic torturer, but even stereotypical master torturers are fun.
- Burles succeeds in making Max charming in this issue, especially as he silently struggles with trying to care for the infant Joshua. That little exchange of looks as Max tries to feed him was priceless. If only the art on every page could be this clear, purposeful, and evocative.
- Further clarification is given that a first plague wiped out all household pets prior to Conquest, and a second one deprived the humans of speech and higher cognitive functions after Battle.
Plot synopsis in one ridiculously long sentence: Simon catches the gang up on what Ollo has been doing, Ollo and Dr. Moto torture the gorillas that ran from Grunt last issue, Simon and Grunt come up with a lame plan to retake Ape City, they execute the plan, Grunt gets to defeat Ollo, then Alexander and Ollo face off in front of everyone, Alexander wins, Ollo is banned from the city, and the statue being built to honor Aldo is revised to look like Alexander, and Vonar the sculptor suggests that Alexander might be the greatest Ape of all.
I was truly hoping that, with the end of this story arc, we'd move on to a new cast of characters, but with Alexander assuring us that Ollo will be back, and with Dr. Moto on next issue's cover, I'm relatively sure we're stuck with these characters for a while yet. Oh well.