With IDW and Boom Planet’s “Star Trek/Planet of the Apes: The Primate Directive” #1, the crew of Starship Enterprise and whoever the recurring characters in “Planet of the Apes” finally come together. Check out our spoiler-free review below to find out whether they should have met in the first place.
Written by Scott and David Tipton
Illustrated by Rachel Stott
It’s the crossover nobody ever expected! STAR TREK: The hope for the best of mankind’s future! PLANET OF THE APES: A chilling look at the fall of humanity! How could these worlds possibly collide? What could possibly cause Captain Kirk and the crew of the Enterprise to side with Dr. Zaius to protect Ape City? And what does Colonel George Taylor have to say about it? It’s a madhouse! A madhouse!!
When a crossover like “Star Trek/Planet of the Apes” #1 is produced, there’s usually the question of why have the crossover at all. Some like “DC vs. Marvel” made sense because middle schoolers in the 90’s desperately needed to know who would win in a fight between Ben Reiley and Superboy or Wolverine and Lobo. Others like “The Punisher Meets Archie” seemed insane but worked with the zaniness of these two antithetical properties clashing to provide a pretty great comic. Essentially, there’s usually a reason for a crossover to occur, be it because the two properties shared a similar fan base or because the image of Snake Eyes sniping two Decepticons while hang gliding was too good to pass up.
If that’s the case then the first issue of “Star Trek/Planet of the Apes” struggles to find its “reason for being”, so to speak. The premise of the crossover is that the Klingons are selling weapons to the ape conquerors who apparently haven’t conquered everything. I don’t know, I thought “Planet of the Apes” implied that the apes were pretty much in total control but apparently not. Anyway, the USS Enterprise gets word of strange going ons with the Klingons and this ape-planet and decide to investigate.
In practice, the crossover works rather well. Star Trek was all about exploring weird planets and Planet of the Apes being Earth gets neatly hand waved by Spock explaining this is a different timeline than Star Trek’s Earth. And then he continues explaining it. And explaining it. And explaining it.
A crossover between Planet of the Apes and Star Trek seems like it would need a lot of exposition but not nearly as much as the Tipton Brothers lay down in the first issue of their series. Honestly, the entire scenario is neatly described within the first few pages. After seeing an Ape commander and a Klingon guy discuss their evil plans, Sulu and Uhura in a really fun scene on the Klingon home world. Explain the whole time stream thing with Spockspoisiton and boom, you’re done, let’s proceed to the George Takei monkey fights. But once the action returns to the Enterprise, the pace of the comic slows down considerably. There are legitimately fifteen pages between when the crew discovers their mission to when they finally arrive on the ape planet filled with talk of peace treaties, logistics, and a description of the planet that we could be on right now. Even when they land, the comic ends on the shocking twist that this planet is ruled by… apes?!?!
What makes this seeming lack of conflict so disappointing is that all creators involved seem to have a pretty good grip on what could make this comic exciting. The situation with the Klingons is clever and gives an immediate clear motivation for everything the characters are doing. And though Stott’s art doesn’t always have the best sense of momentum, she excels in capturing the more off-beat moments of the story, like Mr. Sulu’s face at all times. Everyone involved with this comic is definitely capable of telling a fun crossover but there’s a hesitation within the first issue to fully indulge the comic’s innate insanity.
Unfortunately, we were a little disappointed with “Star Trek/Planet of the Apes” #1. While the potential for greatness is there, from the creative team to the weird way in which the premise just works, there is yet to be enough commitment to make this comic truly entertaining beyond the “Primate Directive” subtitle. Of course, this is only the first issue of the series and it could finally indulge itself now that the Star Trek crew is on ape-torn Earth. In fact, the main reason why we believe this comic should be supported is the cover to next month’s issue which features an aged, naked Charlton Heston holding a gun over a kneeling William Shatner. We try not to exaggerate on this site too much, but if the second issue of the series doesn’t feature this scene to any degree then we may have to tearfully retract what we just said.Continued below
Final Verdict: 5.7 – IDW and Boom! have both had great success with their recent licensed comics but this latest crossover begins with a slow start. It’d probably be best to just trade wait this.