Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Review - Star Trek/Planet of the Apes: The Primate Directive #1

"If I do say so myself, you make most convincing Klingons."

If you find yourself on the U.S.S. Enterprise, then you're in good company. You might know Captain Kirk, maybe Spock. There's a list of others on the ship who would also be good company and you would want those folks if you find yourself stuck on the Planet of the Apes. In Star Trek/Planet of the Apes: The Primate Directive #1 from IDW Entertainment, those folks are put to the test. The issue is written by Scott Tipton and David Tipton, illustrated by Rachael Stott, colored by Charlie Kirchoff and lettered by Tom B. Lang.

Dr. Zeus has a primate problem of sorts. He's struggling to protect Ape City, looking for all the help he can get. The crew of the Enterprise just so happens to be willing to contribute their talents and when their pursuit of Klingons takes them through a portal, they'll get their chance. Captain Kirk and the others are struggling to take it all in; namely, why a bunch of apes are running planet Earth.

Both the Star Trek and Planet of the Apes universes are rich and feature devoted fans, despite both taking slightly different approaches to intergalactic travel and encounters. The approach of the Tiptons to those universes is admirable and does a great job blending them together. The crew of the Enterprise have the requisite characteristics that make them easily recognizable to the reader, right down to Spock's insistent pursuits of logic. The story leans heavy on the Star Trek side, but it establishes the universe effectively and leaves the impression that the Planet of the Apes characters will mix in effectively. The way it's broken out does offer a pace that's a little uneven because of how the two properties are presented.

The issue relies on a look that's a throwback to pulp comics. Stott's characters are physically recognizable based on trademark characteristics, even though their looks bear that nostalgic appearance. Most of the panels with a character features them sort of floating against an empty background, which doesn't really give them much context in terms of the action they're participating in. There is a disparity in styles when Stott goes from the Star Trek looks to the Planet of the Apes, as the former feels brighter and the latter darker. Despite this, Stott handles the transition well and makes both sides feel like they really are part of one bigger universe.

Star Trek/Planet of the Apes: The Primate Directive #1 is a solid mash-up of two storied franchises. Both feature the best of both, yet still manage to make them each feel distinctively natural to that specific universe. The Tiptons offer a story that's relevant to both worlds; blending them together in a way that feels organic. Stott's illustrations are are concise and maintain the right look and feel to bear the names on the front cover. Star Trek/Planet of the Apes: The Primate Directive #1 is a book that will appeal specifically to fans of either universe, but also has some appeal to fans of science fiction in general.

Star Trek Planet of the Apes: The Primate Directive #1 is in stores December 31.


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