It begins, as it should, with Heston.
The prologue to the new illustrated prose novel Conspiracy of the Planet of the Apes, published by Archaia, kicks off with these pithy words of actor Charlton Heston, as astronaut George Taylor:
“Does man, that marvel of the universe, that glorious paradox who sent me to the stars, still make war against his brother? Keep his neighbors’ children starving?”
It’s so pretentious, you want to just smack him. But its not COPOTA’s author Drew Gaska’s fault—that’s the way the classic 1968 film begins. After that, Gaska picks up the ball and runs into new territory, and that’s what makes this book really exciting. I won’t spoil the surprises here—and there are surprises, just like in the first film—but suffice to say that I think this book’s a worthy addition to the franchise.
What Gaska’s done here is, basically, read between the lines of Planet of the Apes. We all know what happened to Taylor, but after the astronauts were captured by apes in the field, what happened to Landon between the time he was netted and when we later see him with his brain “cut up”? Ahh, there’s the rub of Conspiracy of the Planet of the Apes.