Our Trek Comics editor Patrick Hayes is back with a review of this month’s issue of IDW Publishing’s ongoing Star Trek crossover comic series: the third chapter of “The Primate Directive,” where the Enterprise crew visits the Planet of the Apes!
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- The regular cover is by Rachel Stott on art, and Charlie Kirchoff on colors. This is a fantastic image on the bridge of the Enterprise, tilted slightly to suggest the ship is in duress. Kirk and Taylor leap at each other with fists ready to pound one another. I love that they look as though they’re going to simultaneously connect. The characters look great, and the setting is superb. I love this cover!
- Kevin Wada does the subscription cover and it’s a new look for any Trek book done by IDW. Both casts are facing each other in a very stylized form. The line-up is Marius and McCoy, Taylor and Spock, Cornelius and Uhura, and Zira and Kirk. The likenesses are good, the colors strong, and you can’t miss the vibe that Kirk is sending Zira — wow! Her reaction is also great.
- The retailer incentive cover is again a classic Dell inspired cover with the madhouse tag at the bottom. This time the smaller image is the famous publicity bust shot of DeForest Kelley as McCoy, while the larger photo is a monstrous close-up of the right side of an ape’s face. It’s okay — I mean, I like it, but the ape photo seems like a hurriedly included piece, given the filter placed over it and its black and white colors.
Dr. Zaius informs readers of the sorry state of ape society, due to their agricultural failures in a time of population growth. The gorillas are getting wound up and the chimpanzees are reluctant to go to war. Only the friendship of Cornelius and Zira are giving him peace of mind. If he was aware of what was transpiring among those friends, he might feel differently.
Last issue, Taylor knocked out Chekov to take his communicator. At a distance from the Enterprise crew, he contacts the ship and has himself beamed aboard. With the group, Kirk realizes Taylor and Chekov are missing. The young ensign is found and Taylor’s plans learned.
Putting Taylor aboard the Enterprise is the perfect futuristic mix. After all, Taylor is from Earth’s future, as are Starfleet’s finest, but they’re from two different dimensions, and the sole survivor of the crashed ship tries all that he can to help the humans of this ape-run world.
There are some sensational lines, such as in the fourth panel on Page 6 and the second panel on 8. The sequence that begins on Page 11 is everything a Star Trek fan could want in fisticuffs. The way the scene ended in the first three panels on 17 is classic Trek and had me smiling.
Naturally Scott Tipton and David Tipton couldn’t just focus on the heroes, so both villains make appearances on the final two pages. One character receives the worst possible weapon and a change of clothes. It is a glorious moment and Kor’s dialogue drips with smug pride and venom. Be sure to stand and clap after you read this issue’s final dialogue.
Another sensational installment from Rachel Stott. She masterfully has captured all the characters’ likenesses, human and ape, having them resemble the actors who played them. I have to admit, I was wowed by the sixth panel on Page 2 — I could hear the unstated sound.
The first page to feature the heroes is spectacular with Taylor in action and McCoy and Nova giving each other not so subtle smiles. In fact, McCoy exchanges similar glances with a smiling officer on Page 8. What’s up with McCoy? It’s cracking me up, but that man’s hormones are raging!
Taylor and Kirk get most of the screen time in this issue, and Taylor is phenomenal. His emotions are right on his sleeves. The fourth panel on page 13 had me hearing Charlton Heston growl. Kirk is also incredible, and I love his distressed look, verifying what was said about the good captain on Futurama. The top three panels on 17 are a signature Trek moment done flawlessly.
Attention must also be drawn to the settings drawn by Stott. In the monthly ongoing series artists have been using pictures for backgrounds and it’s been horrendous. Stott shows that outstanding backgrounds can be drawn, and not just cut and pasted.
Her Enterprise is gloriously accurate. The angles are beautiful love letters to fans and Page 10 is a wonderful late valentine to fans who treasure cut-aways. Page 7 is a joy.
Completing the awesome imagery are the colors by Charlie Kirchoff. The pale violets done for the dim interiors of Zaius’s quarters are wonderful. Contrasted with the pale violets of the apes’ garb, the first two pages pack a strong punch. The colors continue strongly with Taylor’s piercing frosty blue eyes, the chimpanzees’ emerald clothes, and Kirk’s strong yellows.
Once on the Enterprise, bright reds are brought to the front of the color scheme and it’s sensational with Taylor’s sandy locks. The final two pages return to the opening pale violets for the two big bads’ appearances.
Narration and dialogue (the same font), yells, and sounds are created by Tom B. Long. I needed to have all these sounds in the issue’s slugfest and I’m so happy the Tiptons gave Long the opportunity to punch up these scenes.