Kong on the Planet of the Apes #6 (April 2018)

Kong on the Planet of the Apes #6

Kong on the Planet of the Apes #6 is one of those shocking disappointments. When I got done with the comic, I had to page back through to make sure I’d read it right. It really does just serve as a connective tissue between the first Apes movie and the second one. None of the character development matters. None of the events matter. It’s all about moving chess pieces.

I suppose Ferrier does an admirable job moving them. I mean, it’s soulless work, but he does the work. He and his editors do prime the scene for the second Apes movie. They just don’t do anything else.

Oh, wait, there’s an Empire State Building reference. Because Kong hits the Forbidden Zone and this time it’s basically all of New York City, just underground. There aren’t the budget constraints of the second movie.

It doesn’t come off well, visually. Nothing comes off well.

What a disappointing book. Though I’m upset with myself I had any hope for it.

CREDITS

Writer, Ryan Ferrier; artist, Carlos Magno; colorist, Alex Guimarães; letterer, Ed Dukeshire; editors, Gavin Gronenthal and Dafna Pleban; publisher, Boom! Studios.

Kong on the Planet of the Apes #5 (March 2018)

Kong on the Planet of the Apes #5

Kong attacks Ape City in Kong on the Planet of the Apes #5. And instead of being some fantastic homage to previous Kong stories, that giant ape attack just shows how poorly Magno is able at visualizing a giant ape attacking humanoid apes. The Kong action panels are sparing–though there are some questionable close-ups–and even then way too much. By the end of the comic, when the Skull Island priestess hopes on Kong’s shoulder to run off and plan their escape? Magno’s burned through all the goodwill. And the book had just on surviving nostalgia fumes.

Until Kong breaks out, most of the issue is the movie regulars being awful to one another. Cornelius has betrayed Zira, Zaius is playing martyr, Ursus (the ape general) is trying to take down Kong. It’s tiresome. And the furry dinosaur monsters aren’t any better.

Kong breaking out gives the story some energy, even if the art doesn’t work out, and Ferrier writes the issue into a perplexing soft cliffhanger. A callback, again, to the first movie and an unexpected plot development. The development makes me concerned how Ferrier’s going to wrap it all up in an issue.

Unless Boom! has Son of Kong on the Planet of the Apes planned or something.

CREDITS

Writer, Ryan Ferrier; artist, Carlos Magno; colorist, Alex Guimarães; letterer, Ed Dukeshire; editors, Gavin Gronenthal and Dafna Pleban; publisher, Boom! Studios.

Kong on the Planet of the Apes #4 (February 2018)

Kong on the Planet of the Apes #4

Maybe a quarter of the way into Kong on the Planet of the Apes #4–really makes me hope there’s a Son of Kong Beneath the Planet of the Apes sequel–but about a quarter in, I couldn’t help but wonder why I’m reading such a depressing comic. It’s not like there’s a happy ending for a Planet of the Apes story or a King Kong story. This issue doesn’t just have a captured Kong crying–dashing hopes of him stomping Ape City–it’s got the gorillas kidnapping one of the Skull Island natives and then a big twist for fans of the original movies. Especially the first three movies.

Of course, not all in the first quarter. The first quarter just has kidnapped native and crying Kong.

But I kept reading. Because even though reading some depressing sociological look at a fictive future society seems not just pointless but downright unpleasant… Ferrier writes sociological looks at fictive future societies quite well. He covers a lot. Religion. Hucksterism. Science. Military. The intersections of the four. It’s a smart script. It just happens to be for a mostly disposable licensed franchise crossover.

The last quarter of the issue is far more action-packed, with Ferrier and Magno pacing it beautifully.

I knew I read this comic for better reasons than I’m a sucker for Kong.

CREDITS

Writer, Ryan Ferrier; artist, Carlos Magno; colorist, Alex Guimarães; letterer, Ed Dukeshire; editors, Gavin Gronenthal and Dafna Pleban; publisher, Boom! Studios.

Kong on the Planet of the Apes #3 (January 2018)

Kong on the Planet of the Apes #3

I was wondering how long I could sustain interest in Kong on the Planet of the Apes and I think that answer is three issues. Kong #3 is fine–Magno’s art is less detailed, which sometimes works better than when he’s extremely detailed. Detailed meaning lines. Lots and lots of lines.

The humans are good, the Kong action is good. The Apes? Not so much. I mean, it’s fine, but boring. Ferrier doesn’t have anything for the good apes to do this issue. It’s all the bad apes planning to attack and kidnap Kong.

Why?

Because it’s what happens in Kong stories.

Unfortunately, Ferrier forces his way through it all. The scientists keep talking about making important discoveries but they aren’t discovering anything, just talking about it. The gorilla general’s story is ominous and unlikable. It’s unpleasant. The bad apes are planning to kill all the Skull Island humans, it’s just waiting for them to do it.

There’s no humor in this issue either. No witty observations about either franchise. There is some stuff from the BOOM! Kong license, which isn’t the movies and centers around the Skull Island tribal culture.

Frankly, yawn.

But those scenes are the ones with better Magno lines.

Anyway. I say I’m done but I’ll probably be back for one more. I just remembered Ferrier’s doing a direct sequel to the first movie and maybe there are some loose ends to tie up from it. Maybe Charlton Heston comes back. Maybe Kong carries Charlton Heston to the top of the Statue of Liberty.

Probably not. But maybe.

CREDITS

Writer, Ryan Ferrier; artist, Carlos Magno; colorist, Alex Guimarães; letterer, Ed Dukeshire; editors, Gavin Gronenthal and Dafna Pleban; publisher, Boom! Studios.

Kong on the Planet of the Apes 2 (December 2017)

Kong on the Planet of the Apes #2

Ferrier continues with his weird sequel to the first Planet of the Apes movie, only with a little King Kong thrown in. And a lot of Skull Island. There’s plenty of Skull Island. And its natives and its monsters.

Magno’s design on the monsters–furry dinosaurs, killer vines, a pterodactyl–all looks a little off. Even though there’s good panel composition, Magno’s a little too busy for the action. He paces well though. He and Ferrier get a lot of story into one issue.

Even if it’s just the apes walking around the island until the natives find them, so not a long present action. But an active one.

Ferrier tries to reconcile the first film’s events with the rest of the original film series’s continuity (like why do the apes now hunt humans given John Huston told them to be friends). And he and Magno are downright gentle when it comes to Zira and Cornelius.

Kong is more than competently produced and fairly interesting (thanks to Ferrier).

If you dig Planet of the Apes licensed comics, anyway.

CREDITS

Writer, Ryan Ferrier; artist, Carlos Magno; colorist, Alex Guimarães; letterer, Ed Dukeshire; editors, Gavin Gronenthal and Dafna Pleban; publisher, Boom! Studios.

Kong on the Planet of the Apes 1 (November 2017)

Kpota1Kong on the Planet of the Apes #1

For a while, Kong on the Planet of the Apes is kind of fun. Writer Ryan Ferrier is doing a direct sequel to the original movie, but with Queen Kong on the shore just behind the Statue of Liberty. Roddy McDowell and Kim Hunter are still under house arrest for helping Charlton Heston. It’s an interesting way to do the crossover–Ferrier’s doing a sequel as subplot.

Plus there are a few moments where Dr. Zaius reminds, alternately, of Robert Armstrong and, yes, Charles Grodin. Kong on the Planet might be an Apes sequel, but it also has a lot of King Kong-related feels.

Basically the remaining cast of the first movie goes on the Kong hunt expedition. Zira writes about the ocean voyage. They land at another ape settlement and get provisions and hear tales of the dreaded giant apes.

By the end of the issue, they’re at Skull Island and artist Carlos Magno is drawing a terrible Kong. Some of the mystery is gone. But hopefully next issue will have enough oddity factor to get it through. Ferrier’s script falls off once they’re underway at sea. He’s going to have to reestablish the book real quick next issue.

As for Magno’s art? Sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s not. He’s too concentrated on lines. His faces aren’t distinct. They’re busy but not distinct. It’s a talky comic, knowing a character from sight is important. And Dr. Zaius never looks the same from panel to panel. There’s always something a little off.

Anyway. It’s worth at least another issue. It’s going to be six issues; Ferrier makes the case for about three here. So two’s going to be important.

CREDITS

Writer, Ryan Ferrier; artist, Carlos Magno; colorist, Alex Guimarães; letterer, Ed Dukeshire; editors, Gavin Gronenthal and Dafna Pleban; publisher, Boom! Studios.

Kong of Skull Island 4 (October 2016)

Kong of Skull Island #4

There’s simultaneously too much and not enough going on. Asmus doesn’t do any character development, just more revelations in the political intrigue. He hasn’t built the foundation for it. While Magno has some beautiful composition for the still moments, the action’s messy. Kong’s a lot of work.

CREDITS

Writer, James Asmus; artist, Carlos Magno; colorist, Brad Simpson; letterer, Ed Dukeshire; editors, Alex Galer and Dafna Pleban; publisher, Boom! Studios.

Kong of Skull Island 3 (September 2016)

Kong of Skull Island #3

Giant apes are more interesting than political intrigue, even political intrigue involving multiple betrayals. These betrayals all happen during a crisis and all happen with characters it’s impossible to really care about because we’re three issues into Kong of Skull Island–the title does now make awesome (and plural) sense, however.

Still Asmus does a bit of a better job this issue than the last time around. Not good enough to right the course of the comic but at least enough to encourage further time and reading energy.

Another problem this issue is how much Magno has to do with the art and in how little time. He’s got a volcanic eruption, a political coup and a Kong riot. By the time the lava gets to some stranded folks, I’d forgotten about the volcano entirely. There was too much of the other stuff–including that pointless political intrigue. At least the Kong wrangler lady gets more to do, even if way too much of it happens off panel so Asmus can concentrate on moving the disaster part of it forward.

But next issue promises lots of giant apes versus dinosaurs–and some yawn-inducing political intrigue, no doubt–so I’ll be back. But Kong’s almost out of the goodwill the first issue generated.

CREDITS

Writer, James Asmus; artist, Carlos Magno; colorist, Brad Simpson; letterer, Ed Dukeshire; editors, Alex Galer and Dafna Pleban; publisher, Boom! Studios.

Kong of Skull Island 2 (August 2016)

Kong of Skull Island #2

This issue of Kong of Skull Island is a moderate disappointment. The book was off to a surprisingly strong start after its premiere issue, only to stumble through every page of this second one. Occasionally, Asmus and Magno hit a stride for a couple pages, but there’s always another drop off. Asmus loses his strong protagonist for the issue, whether she’s present or not. The opening has her, but it’s a mess of an action scene. Magno has some really cool art of the Kong, but not much else. He’s rushing through what should be the character moments.

There’s way too much with a royal wedding involving the protagonist’s boyfriend. He’s marrying a more appropriate princess. It’s annoying stuff and paced entirely wrong. When the Kong trainer does show up again, the comic’s almost over. She’s just there to have a fight with the prince dude before something else happens.

Asmus doesn’t connect with any of the material this issue. He’s adapting, so the plot isn’t his fault, just his inability to find a way to write it with personality.

I really wish the comic had been better. It’s almost there on the art–Magno has some great stuff, he really does, but better art isn’t going to fix the writing.

CREDITS

Writer, James Asmus; artist, Carlos Magno; colorist, Brad Simpson; letterer, Ed Dukeshire; editors, Alex Galer and Dafna Pleban; publisher, Boom! Studios.

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