Written by, David F. Walker
Illustrated by, Chris Mooneyham
Colored by, Jason Wordie
Lettered by, Ed Dukeshire
Reviewed by Tom Zimm
In this issue, a group of shirtless human males are gazing into the horizon. The humans are attacked by a band of group of gorillas on horseback with weapons. Later, we see the gorillas removing dead human carcasses and discussing what they will do with the bodies. One gorilla questions the behavior of his comrades who discard carcasses away without making use of them for hides or meat.
The story transitions to General Ursus, who returns from the hunt, eat alone and peacefully before leaving with a group of gorillas to attend a council meeting. General Ursus’ inner monologue labels the politicians and academics of his kind as the enemy. His group, consisting of military leaders, arrive as Chancellor Inez speaks. He introduces Dr. Taemis who addresses the issue of famine and low food reserves. Dr. Taemis acknowledges that the human consumption of gorillas resources has led to the shortages. Dr. Taemis suggests diverting money and resources from the army and training soldiers to farm.
General Ursus loses his temper and confronts the council. He blames humans for the shortages and urges the council to approve a military campaign to aggressively kill humans. General Ursus leaves the meeting in a rage. His inner monologue questions whether humans or the council are a bigger threat to gorillas survival.
Later, a soldier, Moench, alerts General Ursus to a strange human that they recently captured. Ursus thanks Moench and informs him that these kind are the most vicious and cunning; the human was black. The site of the black human triggers memories for Ursus. He recalls a time in the gorillas’ history when they tried to control humans through a fight-to-the death sport. They thought that the fear of death would motivate the humans and give the gorillas a way to control humans. Ursus questions why the lawgiver, the rulers of the gorilas, would allow humans to live? In his memories the most savage humans were black.
The story continues in the present. Ursus visits a council member. He informs the council that they found a human with dark skin. Ursus urges the council person to allow for the killing of humans using the past experience as proof. General Ursus states that doing nothing will destroy the gorillas. The councilman rejects Ursus logic as fear-based and void of logic.
Meanwhile, Moench returns and urges General Ursus and Dr. Taemis to follow him. They arrive to witness the dark-skinned human speaking in a language they can understand. They believe that the human is calling for his friends. General Ursus interprets the discovery of human intelligence as proof that there are more like him. Ursus believes this because the human was calling for his friends.
The story provides an exposition of socio-economic, racial, and political stereotypes that exist in the United States currently. The gorillas are smarter, more advanced, and more civilized than humans. The human weakness promotes self-awareness in the reader by exposing the wasteful and aggressive strategies of the military leaders amongst the gorillas. The story is told in a layered and complex way that avoids preachy, on-the-nose exposition. Fear and the competition over scarce resources provides the tension for the conflict between gorillas and humans. Layers are added when the gorillas have greater fear of dark-skinned humans, which they think justifies their use of extreme force. I am interested, as this story branches and grows, to see how fear-based thinking is so dangerous and how it can permeate an entire culture.