Planet of the Apes Giant #1 is a one-shot issue in the continuity of the ongoing Planet of The Apes series by Boom! Studios. The issue is written by Daryl Gregory (Planet of the Apes) with pencils by Diego Barreto (Irredeemable).
Tension is at boiling point and war looks imminent. Past histories have to be put aside for the salvation of Mak. The vicious war lord ape Great Khan and his army The Golden, look set to invade. Discussions are had with Mayor Sullivan and Alaya to buy them 48 hours to discuss with their generals to find a way to avoid war and loss of life on both sides. Alaya and Sullivan must find a way to not only work together and come up with a plan, but also find a way to get both humans and apes of Mak collaborating. Both accept that a battle is inevitable. Neither however, expect The Golden to attack soon!
Despite the extra pages in the issue, a lot of them felt wasted. The dialogue as a whole was so scattered, and at times unnecessary, that it felt like Gregory was struggling to use all 30 pages and relied on Barreto for a lot of fill in. A lot of the meaningful dialogue took place at the beginning of the issue. It was almost as if Gregory just eventually ran out of things for his characters to say to each other!
The saving grace for the issue was the development of the character Julian. Gregory utilizes his character as a narrator for sections of the story. This provided the best insight possible to the story, and also allowed him to conclude the issue nicely. In a short amount of pages Gregory manages to connect you to a child character in the midst of war and make you truly interested in what he has to say. By the end of the issue you find yourself wishing the entire story was simply told from his perspective. This was the best contribution from Gregory; the sections that he limited character interaction, and relied heavily on Julian to narrate the story. Those pages had the best flow and were the most entertaining to read.
I was disappointed with Barreto's art. There was ample opportunity, due to the lack of dialogue between characters for a large portion of the second half, for Barreto to truly make the story his own. His characters are too simply drawn to warrant paying much attention to. While I can accept a minimal approach to art, this hurt the issue in this instance. Blame has to be shared partially with colorist Darrin Moore (Incorruptible). Moore's choice of colors were simply too dark. The black fur apes and Great Khan had indistinguishable features due to their color being the same shade as Barreto's pencils. This doesn't take away the lackluster depictions of the battle scenes by Barreto. With a battle that contained that much death and destruction, Barreto managed to make it look generic and dull with every face on the page sharing the same facial expression.
The first half of the issue was written in a way that would only keep readers of the ongoing Planet of the Apes title engaged. New or casual readers would feel lost as their is a lot of history behind the City of Mak, the relationship between Sullivan and Alaya, and the hostilities between the city's ape and human inhabitants. Gregory could have used narration by Julian, which he utilized well in the second half of the issue, to address this. Instead we are left to push through until the dialogue becomes less entrenched in previous encounters and more current event driven. While the story does wrap up neatly, although slightly rushed, it would be a tough recommendation, especially with a $4.99 price tag.