Page 45 Review by Stephen
There are five things you should know about Untitled Ape's Adventure: it is epic, it is insane, it is deliciously mischievous, completely unpredictable and mind-bogglingly beautiful.
It is also heart-rendingly poignant.
Do excuse my elementary grasp of geography here.
High above the dense canopy of the Congo jungle, below the craggy peaks of the Ruwenzori range, across the Horn of Africa, then back over the Victoria Falls floats the purple ghost of the Untitled Ape. It hovers over the tree tops before plunging down, deep down into a cold, dark cavern. The ghost of the Untitled Ape solidifies in pain and roars in anger.
This appears pre-prologue as if on parchment discoloured with age.
Much, much later - later than you can imagine - the Untitled Ape punches through the top soil of a verdant meadow rich in blooming wildflowers. He crawls up and out, pulling himself across the long grass, struggling to raise himself onto his hind legs and knuckles. He topples and falls.
"Oi mate! Big fella! Over 'ere!
"Blimey! No offence, mate, but you look awful!
"Anyway, do us a favour and get me fags out of this tree will you?"
The cat's dropped its cigarettes down the hollow of a fallen tree. The Untitled Ape is exhausted but strong, and tears the tree apart with his bare hands. They bond.
There's plenty more of this sort of contrast to come, comically juxtaposing the mythical and mysterious with the mundane: names like Garry and Gail, Alan and Kevin belonging to beasts I'll leave to surprise you.
I adore the form of the Untitled Ape, rising on its knuckles like on any gorilla, its forearms massive, its hind legs spindly, a skull that seems to float where its face should be.
The colours are gorgeous and the light effects striking as the two friends embark on their journey to find Untitled Ape's family which he suspects is in danger. Hampered by a flood of biblical proportions and a highly suspect sense of direction, they row their way across the countryside then through a city submerged under water (with the most striking perspective seen from above) then out into the ocean, thence on their way.
Unfortunately a) it's the wrong way b) they're being followed. Why? And how - surrounded on all sides by water, with nothing on the horizon behind them - does the Untitled Ape know?
It's going to a be long, arduous and very funny journey as they bump into families and become side-tracked by most unexpected creatures with long-standing friendly feuds. There will be ups (very high ups) and downs. There will be an ice-cream van stranded on top of a column of rock high above the sea.
There will also be sudden bursts of memory.