In Review: Kong on the Planet of the Apes #5

Simply outstanding madness!

The covers: This penultimate issue shows the reader that the action has truly kicked in with Kong running rampant in Ape City. This Regular cover by Mike Huddleston looks great. Kong is in the distance, but close enough to show that he’s broken his chains. He’s throwing apes and dinosaurs skyward as he begins his wrath of destruction. Below him, within some smoke, gorillas can be seen with their rifles raised trying to bring the beast down. HA! They don’t know what they’re in for! General Ursus’s horse rears back at the dinosaur that’s leaping at it, while Cornelius and Zira race forward to escape the chaos. I love this cover and this was the one I purchased. The Connecting cover by Carlos Magno with colors by Chris Blythe is another spectacular frontpiece. This has Kong arriving at Ape City, buildings are collapsing, debris is flying, there are clouds of dust everywhere, and down at the bottom apes run in terror. This cover screams KONG! The Subscription cover by Robert Hack with colors by Dylan Todd is another retro pulp paperback. The title of this book is Legacy of Brutality with a female chimpanzee chained up like Fay Wray in offering as Kong reaches to grab her. This illustration does not look as good as the previous covers, with the white tree in the foreground and Kong looking really rushed. The colors are also very brown, with only Kong’s open mouth providing a bright red. The text states, “No man would dare stand in the way of the monster with an insatiable appetite for doom, death, and destruction except the…” with the image finishing the phrase. I do like how the art has been tagged up and folded over to give it the appearance of a beaten paperback. Overall grade: Regular A, Connecting A, and Subscription D+

The story: This issue picks right up from last issue with the escaping dinosaurs tearing into apes. Several chimpanzees go down in pieces and Cornelius is right at ground zero. He’s running as fast as he can, but he’s no match for the terrible lizards’ pace. Thankfully Ursus and his soldiers arrive, rifles blazing. “Apes, show no mercy! Use the entirety of your force! Protect the streets!” The gorillas appear to be winning, but on the beach the guards who are overseeing the humans brought over with Kong run off to help their brethren. Chained Kong watches the dinosaurs race at the cages that contain those that worshiped him and it begins to anger him. He can only watch as the dinos begin to rip at the wooden cage. The humans gather whatever they can to defend themselves against the onslaught. Ryan Ferrier really ramps up the pacing of this issue, complicating situations wonderfully with the gorillas doing something really wrong on Page 9. The violence on 11 shows that there will be no salvation for anyone in this tale. I loved seeing this frenzy and I was really impressed with the brief respite from the destruction on Pages 15 and 16, with one character seeming to make the ultimate sacrifice. The action quickly resumes and one character makes a leap in a new direction on 19 and I loved it! The final two pages take the book in an unexpected direction with the reveal of a familiar character that’s only going to complicate the situation. I have no idea how this series will end because Ferrier has the story going in several directions. Overall grade: A+

The art: Carlos Magno’s artwork is extraordinary. This is an undeniable fact when looking at the first panel as a chimpanzee is being torn apart by one of the raptors. The close-up of Cornelius as he races off is beautiful. The charge of the gorillas with Ursus on horseback is also tremendous looking. Kong’s extreme close-ups on 3 clearly communicate to the reader without text (Okay, one low growl) that the giant ape is not pleased with what’s happening to his people. I love circular panels in comics. They allow the artist to spotlight a specific character and it just looks incredibly classy to me. Magno splits a circle in half on Page 4 to show the beast and its prey and both characters look fantastic. The detail on the character at the bottom of the page looks equally fantastic. The action in the large panel on 5 is awesome. The return of a familiar character on 6 is well done, but look what Magno does with this character: he initially shows this character very small, increases his size slightly in the second panel, but in this third appearance the reader is now looking up at the character who has seemingly exploded to god-like size. The line work in this character is fantastic. Speaking of amazing points of view, check out the large panel on 8 which is from a dinosaur’s point of view as it’s finished off by a gorilla’s gun. The action that begins on 10 is what I’ve been waiting for and Magno does not disappoint in the ferocity and fury of this character. I love the profile that begins the page that’s separated by a slight white border. As with the circle panels, I love when artists do this and it looks great. There’s an incredible amount of giant sized action in this issue and every panel that features it is fantastic, but don’t race through the quiet pages, where Magno devotes just as much detail to the characters conversing. The panel that closes the issue was a big surprise and looks just as it did in the film. The visuals on this book are extraordinary. Overall grade: A+

The colors: Matching the visuals are the colors of Alex Guimarães. Harsh reds and oranges set the tone of this book as a dinosaur tears into an ape. When the background is free of images, Guimarães uses a bright orange to keep the tension high. Notice the arrival of the gorillas has a blue sky, as if they’ve arrived from heaven. Kong has got some impressive coloring throughout the book as I expected him to be a uniform color, but he’s got several tones in his skin and hair, especially around his eyes which focus the reader on the ape’s emotions. Yellows and oranges begin to dominate on 9 and grow to wonderful heights. There’s also some very clever coloring of sound effects on 12 — those sounds had to be there and coloring them could have presented a problem, but Guimarães makes a smart choice in highlighting them. This book is colored expertly. Overall grade: A+

The letters: Ed Dukeshire creates screams, dialogue, yells, sounds, yells, and the tease for next issue. With all this carnage, there are going to be screams and Dukeshire varies them up well so the reader can tell how severe their bellows are. There are also several types of yells, again showing how extreme each is. The sounds are the major takeaway this issue, with Kong cutting loose and making some incredible noises, not only by roaring but by beating his chest. Added to the mix of his mad behemoth are the repeated blasts of the gorillas’ rifles. The sounds on this book are stupendous. Overall grade: A+

The final line: Kong is finally loose, adding to the mayhem of dinosaurs in Ape City! Great action and fantastic art make this a must-read for lovers of Kong or the Apes. Simply outstanding madness! Overall grade: A+

To order a print copy go to https://shop.boom-studios.com/comics/detail/8415/kong-on-planet-of-apes-5

To order a digital copy go to https://www.comixology.com/Kong-on-the-Planet-of-the-Apes-5-of-6/digital-comic/630323?ref=c2VhcmNoL2luZGV4L2Rlc2t0b3Avc2xpZGVyTGlzdC90b3BSZXN1bHRzU2xpZGVy

To see the covers visit my Instagram account: patrickhayesscifipulse

Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer's Guide for several years with "It's Bound to Happen!" and he's reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He's taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.
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