Issue: Exile on the Planet of the Apes #2 and #3
Writer: Corinna Bechko and Gabriel Hardman
Artist: Marc Laming
Colors: Darrin Moore
Letters: Ed Dukeshire
Cover A: Gabriel Hardman with Jordie Bellaire
Cover B: Declan Shalvey with Jordie Bellaire
Cover C: Gabriel Hardman
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
While issues 2 and 3 ratchet up the action, which I like, they also make me doubt the original assumptions I made about how cool the apes and humans in Exile are going to be. I liked the idea that we are finally going to see the humans who are idiots, see the apes that are (somewhat) intelligent, and the stage would be set for Taylor to swoop in and rage against the madhouse he finds.
Then again, after reading issues 2 and 3, maybe I want to learn more about these humans and how they contrast with apes. The humans aren’t as smart as regular humans. But they aren’t total idiots like in the movie. The apes are smart, but not as smart as they think. The duality of the Planet of the Apes. Damn you dirty apes! You make me feel so Platonian!
But back to Exile. Issue 1 was a great setup. It got me all excited because these apes are pretty much the same ones we loved from the original movie (high-and-mighty, hypocritical, and experts at setting up Charlton Heston’s one-liners). Also, the humans are pretty much the humans that Charlton Heston will encounter (naked, mute, and dumber than the guy who canceled Firefly).
But the humans in issue 2 and 3 of Exile are starting to show a lot more depth. They use a Tarzan-like sign language to communicate, but they do communicate. The plotting of the apes is getting more interesting too. We learn which ape is directing the human raids, Pisca goes into the forbidden zone after him, and Zaius personally leads a chimp army (by the way, I have a bit of advice for anyone with an army: don’t put an Orangutan in charge). So the plot is thickening. And that’s great stuff.
On the other hand, I’m not sure I like where we are going with the humans in this story. A big part of the original movie was that humans were no smarter than cattle. Taylor came along, and raged against the inhumanity of it all (and bagged a woman with the intelligence of a doorknob, but we can explore how creepy that is in another post). Exile seems to be ignoring that aspect and simply making them use sign language, but otherwise behave like normal humans. This could turn to be an intelligent exploration of the society that Taylor from the original movie was too pigheaded to figure out. Or it could turn out to be a cheap and lazy way to avoid making the story entirely devoid of humans. There’s that duality again. Will it all work out? Only further reading will tell.
Rating: 3.5 / 5 Stars