Review: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes #1

Written by Guest Contributor: Jason DiGioia It’s been a few years since the end of Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Caesar, Maurice, Koba and company are living the cage-free, free-range ape life. Although Maurice seems content with the progress the apes have made, Caesar is restless, as many great leaders tend to be. To him, the life of freedom they’ve earned isn’t enough, and to ensure a positive future for ape-kind, Caesar is mulling some risky moves with a badass ape named Pope.

Meanwhile, humans Malcolm, his wife Rita, and their son Alex are desperately trying to survive in a world destroyed by the ALZ-113 virus. As Malcolm says on the first page, “All systems break down over time,” and how appropriate that is: the family’s generator is dying, the local electrical grid is failing, and even Malcom, an engineer, can’t fix it on his own.  On top of that, the family has to fend off looters at their own home, a breakdown of the law and order they were used to. Want another pick-me-up? Rita is infected with ALZ-113 which is slowly breaking down her body as well as her relationship with her family. Malcolm understands that to save his wife, they will have to take some risks.

DPOTA01_coverA 11.26.14If you can’t already tell, Michael Moreci has crafted a very tight first issue. Both ape and human storylines parallel beautifully, and the theme of risk to ensure a better future is artfully woven throughout the book. It’s not often that I feel emotions stir while reading comics (I’m a cold, cold man), but Moreci’s writing has real heart. I found myself caring about Malcolm and his family; I want them to make it. On the other hand, I want to see the apes rise and take over the world and smash human faces. This is just one of the many great conflicts I felt while reading, and it really added to the experience.

Dan McDaid’s art is another reason to buy this book. It’s gritty and dark, totally capturing the mood of the story. There’s something really raw about his style, almost as if he’s breaking down typical cookie-cutter comic art.

I’ve gotten lucky lately with some really great titles, and Dawn #1 should be filed in the same category. I’m really looking forward to seeing the next step in Caesar’s plan and the human family’s next step in surviving. They are headed for an obvious collision, and I have a feeling it’s going to be a fantastic one.

Score: 5/5

Writer: Michael Moreci Artist: Dan McDaid Publisher: BOOM! Studios Price: $3.99 Release Date: 11/26/14 Format: Mini-series; Digital/Print