By Tim Seeley, David Walker, Fernando Dagnino, Sandra Molina and Duncan Fegredo

Surely the average comic book reader is used to a degree of wackiness when it comes to subject matter. That’s one of the beautiful things about comics, the escapism factor and the chance to relish in stuff less serious than our day-to-day. Even still, at a glance the title of the new series from Dark Horse, Tarzan on the Planet of the Apes may seem over the top. But don’t think that, or go ahead and think it, it doesn’t matter. In short, this book is so right on that it can’t be over the top enough. It’s suddenly so obvious! If nothing else issue #1 proves that putting Tarzan with POTA should have been done a long time ago. It’s a perfect conceptual fit and it actually manages to improve the premise for both franchises. Tarzan and ‘Apes have been around for decades and their fan-bases run deep, but you have to wonder what either’s success would have been like if they originated as a single story? It’s a tough question since readers likely have enough common knowledge on the subject matter to have realistic expectations going in. The creators of Tarzan on the Planet of the Apes clearly get that and, as of the first issue, the changes and alterations appropriately maintain the spirit of each. More than that, it’s an all-new story with a lot more intrigue and action.

Writers Tim Seeley and David Walker kick off the five issue series with a story that builds on the already impressive foundation. It’s a rock solid one-two punch that’ll leave you looking in every direction. There’s no shortage of content here and these guys don’t appear to be holding back. Everything that is truly great about Tarzan and POTA as individual properties is represented and it’s only going to get better with future issues. Certain buttons were pushed in the first installment that fans will definitely respond to.

Overall the book is a glorious multi-lingual, sci-fi-action-adventure thrill ride and ample credit needs to be given to the artists Fernando Dagnino and colorist Sandra Molina. The interiors are gorgeous! There’s a quality to the art here, including the marvelous cover art by Duncan Fegredo that exceeds expectations. Dagnino’s realistic approach combined with the fantastic elements of this story is remarkable. Angry gorillas walking upright with guns and armor have never looked so good. If you were a fan of the original POTA movies and TV series this will no doubt take you right back. Molina’s colors enrich every page with believable characters and scenery. Most of the story takes place outdoors, of course, and the palettes continue to enhance that sense of realism despite the off the wall concept. No matter how over the top, it’s grounded in a world you can relate too.

As fun as it is, the plot is a serious one and the stakes are high and getting higher. Expect the usual a clash of cultures and species you’d typically find in Tarzan or POTA with an extra dose of intensity as we learn about how these worlds have collided. Fantastic start to a series that is already well worth the cover price.

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About The Author Matthew Strackbein

Matt Strackbein was born and raised in Maryland but has called Colorado home for the last 17 years where he lives happily in Longmont with his wife. He began reading comic books at the age of seven after discovering a silver age stash in his grandparents’ attic. Comic books inspired Matt to start drawing, which lead to a successful career as a commercial artist. He has worked in the apparel industry for many years as a production artist and designer. His accomplishments include designing backcountry skiwear for world-class athletes as well as downhill ski race suit designs for the 2014 Winter Olympics for the United States and Canadian national ski teams. Matt currently works as a freelance textile-print designer, but still dedicates time to his first love – comics. With over 200 letters to the editor published, Matt is a known letterhack. He self-publishes autobiographical comics about his struggles to break into the industry, which finally paid off when Dark Horse asked him to produce 2-page back up stories in recent issues of B.P.R.D. Besides his own comics, Matt collaborates on independent books as a colorist and letterer. He also teaches the art of making comics to students of all ages.