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War for the Planet of the Apes #1 Review

Can a prequel comic to the new film live up to the franchise’s high standards?

Just in time for War for the Planet of the Apes, it’s the book that bridges the gap between the previous movie and this one! Saddle up for War For the Planet of the Apes #1 … of four? Huh. Well, odd timing aside, is it good?

The Skinny

What are you hiding behind that pig to take to market, old man? And why is she verbally abusing that poor, faceless guy in the hoodie?! Hope you can rustle up some apes so that those scientists give you a reward.

Yes, 10 years after the virus hit, we’re still trying to figure things out before s--t gets REALLY bad. I’m sure apes didn’t ACTUALLY take over Florida — you know how urban legends spread. No matter, I bet if we slice up a few more chimps, the answer will just come to us! It’s not like they care about their dead, and they’re CERTAINLY not preparing for something.

The Lowdown

War for the Planet of the Apes #1 does a great job of immersing the reader in the film universe. Writer David F. Walker has Caesar’s voice down pat, and even gives great voices to the other, voiceless apes. He’s really able to show their childlike version of logic, as they try to figure out who to trust in this hostile world they’re only just becoming aware in. The human characters, sadly and surprisingly, don’t ring as true to life, but hey, who cares about them?

The art by Jonas Scharf is gritty and realistic, just as it should be. He complements Walker’s words with great facial detail that makes the character depicted unmistakably Caesar. Scharf is able to make the tonal switch from the down-home farm to the madness in Florida just as jarring as it should be, with harsher angles and pained expressions.

Ed Dukeshire’s colors are equally important to the overall experience, shifting from placid blues to blunt, dark tones offset by fiery reds and oranges. The quality of the inks here can’t be overlooked either, as the shadows enhance the chaotic feeling. There are even nice changes to the word balloons to denote sign language, though it would have been nice to see some actual signs, too.

The Upshot

War for the Planet of the Apes #1 is as good a movie tie-in comic as you’re likely to find. The ending is a little strange, and the last page is especially anticlimactic, but the characterizations and the verisimilitude of the settings are remarkable. Ideally, this entire mini-series would have been available before the film released, but it’s not like anything vital will be contained herein. It’s just a neat, well-done episode in Apes lore that should please any primate enthusiast.

War for the Planet of the Apes #1 Review
Is it good?
It's one of the better movie tie-in books you'll find. The entire creative team comes together to immerse the reader in the frightening Apes reality.
Walker gets Caesar's voice down, along with all the simpler apes, too
Gritty art sets the tone
Colors and inks add the right finishing touches
The book's ending is anticlimactic and a little confusing

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