Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Comic Reviews: Planet of the Apes & The Calling

Planet of the Apes

    Many people of my generation hold Star Wars as their ‘holy trilogy.’  I love Star Wars (the originals, obviously).  But I lean toward the Indiana Jones series.  Raiders of the Lost Ark was a life shaper for this cat.  But, if I had to go back over the history of cinema, my favorite series of films isn’t James Bond.  It’s not Star Trek.  It’s Planet of the Apes.  From the first movie, with its lambasting of stodgy religiosity and racism, to the Kung Fu-like TV series.  Five films, one season of a live action show and one of an animated series.  Love it all.  So, when the always interesting but not always good Boom! Studios launched a comic series in my beloved setting, I did take note.  But for various reasons, it took me a danged long time to finally sit down and read the first volume.

    The story takes place during the age of The Lawgiver, an idealist leader of the Apes who believes that Apes and Men can live together in harmony.  His assassination plummets the world into chaos, as cultural tensions, already near the breaking point, explode in violence, fear, and hate.  What I find interesting is that the writers have tried very hard to blend the post-Conquest world of Apes and Men living together with the silent human cattle world of the original film.  I’ve always figured the events of Escape started an alternate timeline where things might turn out differently than the world seen by Taylor.  The art is serviceable and the writing fine.  The story seems interesting and has potential.  And it certainly doesn’t do a disservice to the films.  It’s good enough that I’ll be reading further.

The Calling

    Another H.P. Lovecraft inspired comic from Boom! Studios, The Calling is a pretty good story about cultists, mass murder, dimensional collapse, and advertising.  I think the story could probably have used half again the page count, maybe more, to establish the characters a bit more, and explore some of the aspects a bit deeper.  It feels rushed.  But it also doesn’t take too long or get boring.  And it doesn’t wander, as the longer Fall of Cthulhu series did occasionally.

    The art isn’t amazing, but it’s adequate.  The writing is fine.  Mostly, I would have liked more meat to the story, more depth on the cult.  It feels like an introductory story, except that there doesn’t seem to be anything more.  Maybe there will be a follow-up one of these days.  For the gamers out there, there are a couple fun ideas for your CofC game.  Nothing Earth shattering.   But worth checking out.

Planet of the Apes: The Long War
Writer: Daryl Gregory
Artist: Carlos Magno
Publisher: Boom! Studios
ISBN: 978-1-60886-660-1

The Calling: Cthulhu Chronicles
Writers: Michael Alan Nelson & Johanna Stokes
Artist: Christopher Possenti
Publisher: Boom! Studios
ISBN: 978-1-60886-051-7


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