By Jim Beard
This September and October, let Marvel bring a little jungle love into your life.
Beginning September 3, the four-issue MARVEL APES limited series ships twice a month, actuating more ape action than humanly possible! Karl Kesel wrote it, Ramon Bachs penciled it, and such illustrious illustrators as John Watson, Phil Jimenez, Stephanie Buscema, and Art Adams covered it—it's monkey business with a purpose!
While preparing for the ape onslaught we got to wondering if the amazing apes that populate the pages of MARVEL APES will resemble their Marvel Universe counterparts—apart from all the fur and stuff, that is.
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"I would have to say that most Ape versions of [Marvel] characters are fairly similar to their human counterparts, in broad strokes at least," says Kesel. "That being said, there's a core difference between them, too.
"The ape heroes—and villains—are, after all, apes, not humans. And that makes the way they view things and react to things fundamentally different. For all that the monkeyverse is similar
to the mainstream Marvel Universe, it is definitely not the same
Kesel proceeded to give us the basic bananas on the main players…
A monkey's not an ape of course, but despite the tail, this furry arachnid holds his own alongside his larger cousins.
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"The web-swinger—as Spider-Monkey is sometimes called—still cracks jokes and suffers a chronic case of angst, but as I wrote the stories, it became clear that this Spidey is more egotistic than the human Spidey," Kesel notes. "He's also a bit more naive, a bit more accepting of the world around him. That begins to change by the end of the [story]."
Even an ape can be patriotic, as this shield-slinging simian surely proves.
"Ape Cap is without a doubt the most commanding presence in the series," Kesel notes. "He leads the Ape-Vengers, and no one ever questions his orders. But that sense of leadership and being in charge, with just the smallest change in tone and attitude, can become quite ominous and threatening."
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A powerful primate, this machined monkey soars over the rest by way of his amazing armor.
"Calm, cool, and clear-thinking, Iron Mandrill's personality is probably closer to his human counterpart than many of the apes," offers Kesel. "But he has one of the very best names. And, credit where credit is due, that name was suggested by [editor] Steve Wacker's assistant, Thomas Brennan."
An ape with an adamantium skeleton? MARVEL APES makes it possible!
"Monkey Wolverine is, if you ask me, a little more impetuous and even mischievous than the human Wolverine," Kesel explains. "Maybe like how the human Wolverine might have been as a teenager. He assesses situations very quickly, makes decisions very quickly, and never regrets his decisions, no matter how things turn out."
MARVEL APES #1 shakes the trees beginning on September 3, with #2 following close behind on September 17. For more by Karl Kesel, visit Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited.