Friday, December 25, 2015

Star Trek / Planet of the Apes: The Primate Directive

Star Trek / Planet of the Apes: The Primate Directive
Scott and David Tipton (writers) and Rachael Stott (art)
IDW / Boom! Studios, August 2015

This graphic novel compiles the five-issue crossover series first published from December, 2014 to April, 2015.

So......what happens when the current comic book franchise holders for Star Trek (IDW) and Planet of the Apes (Boom! Studios) decide to collaborate on a crossover of two of the most storied licensed properties in sci-fi ?

The result is actually pretty good - !

I won't give away any spoilers, save to say that the Enterprise is sent on a covert mission to investigate a secret Klingon science project........a project that involves the use of a high-tech interdimensional portal to access a parallel universe.

In due course, the Enterprise passes through the portal, and makes an unwelcome discovery: the Earth located in the parallel universe has been infiltrated by the Klingons. And, to make matters even stranger, evolution on this parallel Earth has taken a strange and unexpected turn....

As the narrative unfolds, the Away Team meets all of the characters of the 'Apes' movie, and makes some fateful decisions about whether the Prime Directive holds true in a universe where not only does the Federation not exist, but neither do the Organians....and the Klingons have free rein for their plans for conquest and expansion.

'The Primate Directive' is well-written by Scott and David Tipton, who adhere closely to the spirit of the original franchises, and refrain from introducing improbable story elements that would undermine the integrity of the plot.

Rachael Stott's artwork is also of good quality, taking care to reproduce the visual styles of the two franchises in an understated, but plausible, manner.

Since both Star Trek and Planet of the Apes are Teen-rated properties, neither IDW nor Boom! are able to introduce the overt violence and 'adult' themes commonplace in contemporary comics into this crossover, but this is no handicap, as I found the story to be fast-moving and engaging.

The conclusion of 'The Primate Directive' is one that avoids contrivance and at the same time stays true to the events depicted in the television series and the movie.

The essays that Dana Gould wrote for each issue also are included in this volume. Gould, who was a kid when both the movie and TV shows aired in the late 60s, fuses the right amounts of nostalgia and revelations about both franchises (did you know there is a major link between Planet of the Apes and the recent film Argo ?!) in his essays, which are very entertaining.

Summing up, 'The Primate Directive' is a successful melding of the two franchises, one that approaches its source material with the the attitude of having fun, as opposed to reworking the material to fit a self-conscious, 'modern' sensibility. If you're a fan of either (or both) properties, then you'll want to seek this out.

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