You there! Humans! IDW Publishing and BOOM! Studios will release the second issue of Star Trek/Planet of the Apes: The Primate Directive this week. TrekMovie reviews and previews this installment of the crossover story nobody ever expected! Spoilers and more exclamation points after the break!
Star Trek/Planet of the Apes: The Primate Directive #2, January 2015
Written by Scott Tipton and David Tipton, art by Rachael Stott, colored by Charlie Kirchoff, lettered by Tom B. Long, essay by Dana Gould, edited by IDW Publishing’s Sarah Gaydos and BOOM! Studios’ Dafna Pleban
Spock is fascinated by talking, self-aware gorillas with firearms provided by Klingons. Before he can elaborate on his theories, the landing party is seen and chased by a gorilla patrol. A crewman is wounded by gunfire. A gorilla is stunned by a phaser. When Kor is questioned about his human “friends” he dismisses them. Kirk and the landing party eventually find more humans, incapable of speech, behaving like young children. Kirk orders a return to the Enterprise to reassess the situation. A lengthy, action-packed meeting ensues! Having agreed on a theory of the alternate Earth’s evolution and the dangers of Klingon tradition, Kirk takes a landing party back to the planet and is a little disturbed by Spock’s choice of a recognizable landmark. Nevertheless, they find and follow tracks leading them to more humans where they meet a stunned Colonel George Taylor and a silent Nova. Taylor fails to introduce Nova and everyone ignores her. Taylor wants Kirk’s help overthrowing the apes. Kirk informs the excitable astronaut that direct interference is forbidden by Starfleet orders and he needs more information about the apes. Taylor reluctantly agrees to help find the dig site where he left his more knowledgable friends, Zira and Cornelius.
Taylor and Zira, together again!
Scotty saves everyone lots of time by transporting the humans to a cliff overlooking the dig, then fires a low-level phaser burst to stun all the apes. Taylor is impressed! After they are revived, Zira and Cornelius are stunned to meet more humans capable of speech and thought. Moving to a safer location, Kirk informs the apes about the Klingons. Zira tells Kirk that the gorillas have been far more active than usual. Taylor doesn’t care. He wants Kirk to bring down troops and “wipe these baboons off the map.” Kirk refuses and a chastened Taylor backs off. While Kirk and his crew continue their discussion with the apes, Taylor drags Chekov into the brush, takes his communicator and runs!
Just say no!
Scott and David Tipton have opted to develop the story being told in The Prime Directive at a stately pace. Two issues into the story arc, the stage is still being set and characters introduced. This issue we meet Colonel Taylor and his close friends, Zira and Cornelius, but not before the crew of the Enterprise has a lengthy discussion about the possible origins of the alternate Earth the Klingons have led them to. We only get a tantalizing glimpse of Kor and his gorilla comrades. There’s a lot of dialogue in this issue informing readers about Starfleet policy, Klingon tradition, and ape society. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. There are plenty of crossover readers who will appreciate the introduction to Star Trek and Planet of the Apes, but I have to admit that I’m a little frustrated with the pace. However, it looks like Taylor is going to push Kirk and the Enterprise into some kind of activity whether they like it or not. I’m looking forward to what might happen in issue #3.
Ultimately I’m ok with the story as it’s unfolding, because the art by Rachael Stott is sensational and the longer the story lasts, the more of her art we get to see. All of the familiar characters are easily recognizable, even her apes! Whether it’s closeups of individual characters, conversations between characters, the interior of a ship, ships in space, or a scenic view of a quite ocean cove, she demonstrates very skilled work. I’m guessing that the quality of her line art makes it easy for Charlie Kirchoff to add color. He’s also doing a terrific job, adding vibrant color to the black & white art. They are both putting the same effort into their covers. One side note; Stott has a thing for hands. As you read, look at everyone’s hands. I don’t think it means anything but, it’s interesting!
After burying us in an avalanche of covers for the first issue, we’re back to a more manageable set of three distinctive and desirable covers for The Prime Directive #2. Rachael Stott gives us a low-angle perspective of a beaten Kirk, a defiant Taylor, and the Statue of Liberty. The cover has nothing to do with events in this issue, but it’s skillfully rendered and thought-provoking. Charlie Kirchoff’s colors add to the impact. The subscription cover art is by Joe Corroney, with colors by Brian Miller. It’s clear that Corroney gets a kick out of drawing Kor. The retailer incentive cover is a nod to the early Gold Key Star Trek photo covers. This one features Kirk with an official 12.9-inch Starfleet-branded iPad Pro with iPen stylus (or maybe it’s an Etch-A-Sketch!), while Taylor is engaged in bondage by gorilla. I want all three covers! Which cover do you want?
Star Trek/Planet of the Apes: The Primate Directive #2 will be at your local comic shop this Wednesday, January 14. Make your travel plans now! It’ll be a madhouse! Had enough exclamation points yet?!!
Up next, the Five-Year Mission begins anew with the first installment of a two-part tale in Star Trek #41 and look for the next issue of The Primate Directive in February. If you missed out on a copy of Star Trek/Planet of the Apes: The Primate Directive #1, don’t worry about it. A second printing is on the way, also in February.
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Mark Martinez is an obsessive-compulsive Star Trek comics reader and collector. You can visit his website, the Star Trek Comics Checklist for more than you ever needed to know about Star Trek comics!