Dark Tower and Marvel Apes

Over the holidays I picked up a few pre-bundled comics series in a clearance bin at a comic shop. One series was the 3rd story arc of the Stephen King inspired Dark Tower series: “Treachery”. While I have read a few Stephen King novels over the years (mostly his early stuff and even his “Bachman” The Running Man, I did not know anything about his Dark Tower series of novels, much less the comics based on them. But the cover artwork painting of the first issue was more than a bit intriguing and lucky for me that I can’t pass up a bargain. I say lucky because this series was a revelation in many ways. For the uninitiated, the world of the Dark Tower series is a mashup of the old Wild West with more than a touch of mystical forces and elements of fantasy. Even though this was the 3rd story arc of the series, the short summary of preceding events was all I needed to be immediately absorbed into this fascinating world. While writer Peter David is the driving force, it’s the fantastic painted art collaboration of artist Richard Isanove and penciller Jae Lee that really deliver the dark brooding atmosphere of the Dark Tower world. Many of the panels throughout the comic would hold their own as individual art pieces. I enjoyed Treachery immensely. I was determined to get the preceding stories and was lucky enough to then find a hardcover copy of the first storyline, “A Gunslinger Born”, for a paltry $10. I’m now looking forward to reading that and other Dark Tower comics.

Another series I picked up from the same bin was the 4 issue Marvel Apes story. Now I’m a huge Planet of the Apes (POTA) fan (and will have to get to some of that in this blog someday), so this story had more than just a passing interest for me. Not that it would be anything remotely similar to POTA, but just the fact that it was some way out story in which some Marvel superheroes are somehow transformed into simian bodies, much like the Marvel Zombies stories. The story is about an ape bodied Marvel superhero wannabe, “The Gibbon”, who gets transported to another dimension where civilization is led by talking apes and is also mirrored by our own dimension with Ape Avengers. Aside from the rustic jungle counterpart cities in this dimension, and the apes themselves, the Gibbon soon finds out that there are other ominous differences between the two dimensions. He quickly gets indoctrinated with the Ape Avengers only to find out that their version of justice is a tad more uncivilized than our own. I don’t want to spoil it all, but the Ape Avengers membership has its council subgroup with a dark secret. Worse yet, when the ape Captain America Avenger leader learns that the Gibbon has crossed over from another dimension, he and the other members of the council realize that coming over to ‘our’ side would solve a critical problem of theirs. So the Gibbon and the good ape Avengers duke it out with all the bad ape Avengers. In the end, the Gibbon has to figure out whether he belongs with his ape counterparts in the ape dimension, or his native human populated one. I rather liked the unexpected twists to the story despite the outlandish premise and think that even non ape fans will like this alternate universe story.

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