The Rise of the Planet of the Apes prequel comic revolves around Alpha, a chimpanzee who was hunted for a very specific reason.
In 2011, Rise of the Planet of the Apes focused on the origin of Caesar, an intelligent chimpanzee who became a leader after being experimented on with the ALZ-112 formula. It was the brainchild of Will Rodman, a doctor in San Francisco’s Gen-Sys who was trying to cure his dad’s Alzheimer’s diseaser, but it was the first domino in what became an ape uprising with Caesar fronting the revolution.
And as revealed in Daryl Gregory, Damian Couceiro and Tony Parker’s Rise of the Planet of the Apes Prequel, it turns out that someone else was securing freedom and safety for apes away from the bloodlust of humans way before Caesar took up arms — his dad, Alpha.
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For the most part, Alpha didn’t factor into the film, which focused on Bright Eyes, Caesar’s mom. She went berserk during a presentation, however, and was shot to death, causing Will to raise Caesar like a son. But this story focused on Bright Eyes’ past as she and her troop hid out in Africa from hunters. They were relentlessly pursued, as the hunters realized how intelligent they were, which was something Gen-Sys would have loved and paid big for.
The leading ape was eventually dubbed Alpha, as he was their protector. On numerous occasions, Alpha swung down from trees to stop raids and the hunters quickly came to the conclusion he was the person they needed to take out. They saw how much the others listened, how well he coordinated movement and noted his almost-human level of intelligence.
Alpha’s highly-advanced evolution continues on as they track the tribe, who are hungry, thirsty and passing out in the forest. In time, they stumble upon a parched Alpha, who ensured his kin went on ahead, as any true leader would. It seemed like an easy capture, but this turns out to be a trap when the other apes drop down from the trees and batter their enemies.
Again, it’s the kind of plan Caesar laid down in the trilogy, and this incident shows that leadership runs in the family. Unfortunately, it ends in tragedy since Alpha is shot and dies during the assault. Bright Eyes, his wife, stayed with him until the end and that’s why she got captured.
Bright Eyes didn’t have the heart to run away with the others and leave her true love behind. As the blue-eyed chimp, scared and alone is shipped off, the Gen-Sys officials know they’ve got an unusual specimen who understands emotion and connection. Still, they would have preferred Alpha, due to his apparent intelligence, even if he was ultimately too human to be tamed.
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