Planet of the Apes #2 Review

  • Written by: David F. Walker
  • Art by: Dave Wachter
  • Colors by: Bryan Valenza
  • Letters by: VC’s Joe Caramagna
  • Cover art by: Joshua Cassara, Dean White
  • Cover price: $4.99
  • Release date: May 17, 2023

Planet of the Apes #2 finds the chaos of a global pandemic creating fear and destruction when the Exercitus Viri wages a global campaign to wipe out all apes and the humans who protect them.

Is It Good?

I was especially hard on David F. Walker in the review for issue #1, and rightfully so. When you have a 60-year-old franchise to draw inspiration from, and the best idea Marvel could come up with for new stories is a thinly veiled take on the COVID-19 Pandemic that looked like it was ripped from the minds of the worst pundits at CNN, MSNBC, and FOX combined, you’re off to a bad start. Does Planet of the Apes #2 get the series back on track? Sorta, kinda, not quite, but getting there.

When last we left the world, the virus progressed through most of the human population. As people die, apes become smarter, giving rise to the Exercitus Viri – an impossibly large and well-organized group intent on destroying all apes and anyone who protects them to stop the virus’s spread. Now, the Exercitus Viri sets its sights on major World Health facilities where apes are kept for study to help scientists look for a cure. Whole nations fall to the terrorist group’s attacks (???) while apes in isolated parts of the world grow smarter and begin to organize for the eventual conflict.

Now, we’re getting somewhere. People like the Apes stories because it has smart, walking, talking apes. Do you know why this issue is better than the last? Because you have walking, (almost) talking, smart apes. Magic!

Readers get to see how the apes learn basic mechanical skills (e.g. carpentry, farming, light reading), and you get the growing sense that it’s only a matter of time before the apes evolve enough in brains and numbers to supplant humans as the dominant species on Earth. If you’re interested in that in-between phase between the virus spread and the eventual takeover, this issue starts to show those little seeds of what’s to come.

What’s not so great? Walker doesn’t put in the work to make the impossibly big and well-organized Exercitus Viri believable. A civilian terrorist organization manages to shut down an entire country (Switzerland) within a couple of days? A civilian terrorist organization has army-sized forces traveling to every country on Earth to kill apes and humans with almost no resistance from world governments or the military? The very concept strains believability, plus the name of the group is awful. Again, you get the impression Walker is trying to create an allegory for human hate and overreaction during the COVID-19 Pandemic, but this allegory goes too far over the top to make sense.

How’s the art? Dave Wachter does a fine job in this issue. Admittedly, there’s almost no action in this comic, leaving the dramatic moments to come through dialog and forces moving into place for an impending conflict. Therefore, Walker keeps a respectable amount of engagement going with expressive characters, interesting panel compositions, and most importantly, apes with the creepy looks of intelligent awareness.

About The Reviewer: Gabriel Hernandez is the Publisher & EIC of, a comics review site dedicated to indie, small, and mid-sized publishers.

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Bits and Pieces

Planet of the Apes #2 is a respectable improvement over issue #1 as readers get more time with the rapidly evolving apes and little scenes tease how the simians become poised to take over. That said, too much time is spent building up an impossible-to-believe boogeyman in the Exercitus Viri, so the issue still falls short of the source material.


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