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

4

There’s one more frontier for the crew of the Enterprise to explore.

The Good

Ahhh, crossovers. Nothing can go so wrong or so very right quite like a crossover. And not just storyline crossovers within a company, but when two separate ones agree: yes. This SHOULD happen. This MUST happen. Those can REALLY go a lot of different ways and that often depends on how well the two products fit together. But there’s also something to be said for two products that seem obvious, but would have, perhaps, never been put together for whatever reason. And that’s precisely what we get here. The original series Star Trek was equal parts sci-fi deep space exploration and Twilight Zone social commentary with its fair share of unlikely twists. And doesn’t that second part just also so perfectly describe a certain 1960s sci-fi film (with a screenplay by Rod Serling, no less)? Star Trek and Planet of the Apes were positively MADE for each other. Scott and David Tipton focus this issue mostly on the Trekking side of things to set up, but they do a great job of encapsulating what that series was about and what it did best while side-stepping some of the pitfalls of adaptation. Too often when adapting material, particularly from one medium to another, it’s all too tempting to simply form a checklist of broad character traits and check off each one as you go. What they do here, however, is take what makes these established characters great and write them as one would an actual episode of the show. These feel like characters not caricatures.

Rachael Stott handles the linework, and it is SOME linework that she puts out. The characters are defined, thick and even meaty when they need to be. The facial expressions too need to be called out for evoking the exaggerated, often melodramatic, look and feel of both these properties. If there’s one thing neither was ever short on, it was over-the-top hamminess and, rather than make everything a dark, dismal and too-serious affair, this style leans into that, again giving the issue a feel of genuineness. Charlie Kirchoff’s colors are bold and, again, evocative of the feel of both source materials without actually needing to change terribly much between the two, reinforcing the fact that these two franchises share a great deal in common.

The Bad

This issue feels a great deal like the start of a whole graphic novel experience rather than a monthly book. It’s front-loaded with a ton of exposition and large swaths of dialog, again sticking close to the original Star Trek style, this one time to its detriment, but the biggest example of that comes when the issue ends. And end it does, abruptly and practically mid-sentence. There’s a reveal (not exactly a shocking one either, seeing as how its right there on the cover and in the title) and then ISSUE ENDS. It doesn’t feel like it has the dramatic weight of a proper cliffhanger and it really feels like there should have either been a more shocking revelation or the revelation should have been given more gravity than a single mid-sized panel.

The Verdict

This idea is great on paper and has a solid execution. It evokes the source material, perhaps a bit too slavishly every now and then, while still telling an interesting story all its own within that framework. Plenty is left up in the air to discover, and with this as an example, I have ever confidence that it’ll be well worth looking into. Oh and the storyline is called The Primate Directive. That's...that's just the best.