Planetary Triumph


Planetary #27

It’s the last issue of “Planetary.”

To some of y’all, that don’t mean anything. Heck, in the entire time I’ve had this blog active, there has not been a single issue of “Planetary” that’s hit the stands. Some of y’all who aren’t comics vets may have never heard of it at all. Y’all have never gotten to hear me sing this comic’s praises. Let’s remedy that now.

“Planetary” is written by Warren Ellis and illustrated by John Cassaday. It focuses on a team of superhuman archaeologists out to explore the secret history of the world. They include Elijah Snow, a century-old hardass with ice powers; Jakita Wagner, a superstrong, superfast brawler; and the Drummer, a flake who’s able to mentally interface with computer systems and just about any other informational system, including radio waves, TV signals, and even genetic information. They’ve been witness to giant monsters in Japan, ghost cops in Hong Kong, the secret of Ayers Rock in Australia, the atomic monsters of the 1950s, the warped metahuman tragedies of Thatcher’s England, America’s first pulp heroes, and more. Ellis works in references to dozens of different books, comics, TV shows, and movies, all with a few twists to make our most familiar characters from fantastic fiction just a bit less familiar.

In the most recent issues, Elijah and the rest of his team have successfully defeated the Four, a secret conspiracy of superpowered tyrants, ruling the world in hiding and keeping the miracles of the universe to themselves to keep from benefiting  mankind. With the Four out of the way, the global Planetary organization has begun to sift through the Four’s secret knowledge, releasing cancer cures, miracle machines, energy wonders, and more for the rest of the world. But Elijah doesn’t care about that — he wants to save an old friend, Ambrose Chase, who vanished during a mission that went bad years ago. Ambrose could control the flow of time, and he theorizes that he froze himself in time to keep from dying of gunshot wounds. The Drummer thinks they can save him if they build a time machine — but building a time machine could have the unfortunate side effect of, well, ending history.

Verdict: I’m gonna have to do this in two parts — once for the “Planetary” fans and another for those who aren’t as familiar.

For the fans: HUGE thumbs up. Go get it. There’s not a ton of action, but the point of “Planetary” has never been about action anyway. In a series that averages at least one Crowning Moment of Awesome per issue, this issue pulls off one of the best. You get to see Elijah being Elijah, Jakita being Jakita, the Drummer being the Drummer. There are miracles and surprises and beautiful moments galore. Warren Ellis kicks ass in this one. John Cassaday kicks ass in this one. Go get it, fans, and don’t let anything get in your way.

And for the non-fans, the folks who aren’t familiar with “Planetary”: Don’t go get this comic. I’m serious. Do not get this comic. Why would you want your first exposure to this series be the final issue? No, go get the first trade paperback instead. And when you’re done with that one, go get the rest. Get in at the beginning of the ride so you enjoy the entire thing all the way through.

No Comments

  1. snell Said,

    October 8, 2009 @ 7:33 am

    I gotta say, even though I liked it, my first thought upon finishing was, “That took three years? Really?”

    The three year gap (the same as Ultimate Wolverine Vs. Hulk!!) was inexcusable, and couldn’t help but diminish my enjoyment of the final issue.

  2. Scott Slemmons Said,

    October 8, 2009 @ 7:59 am

    I probably wouldn’t argue with you about the inexcusable bit — Ellis loves to start new projects and then never finish them because he gets distracted by SHINY SHINY SHINY.

    It really didn’t diminish my enjoyment of the story one smidgen.

  3. snell Said,

    October 8, 2009 @ 9:50 am

    I have to say it diminished my enjoyment 2 smidgens, because

    A) after 3 years, I was (probably unfairly, I admit) expecting more than 20 pages of sitting around talking techno-babble; the three-year gap built up expectations the issue couldn’t live up to.

    B) Come on, not even a text page to remind of us what happened? A caption or two? I wasn’t about to go digging three years back in my piles to find issue #26, so I had to rely on faulty memory to remember what happened, or even to remember who some of these minor characters were. After over 1000 days, Ellis should have at least had the courtesy to do a little recap somehow, instead of pretending nothing happened. And an apology wouldn’t have hurt…

  4. Scott Slemmons Said,

    October 8, 2009 @ 11:25 am

    Apology?! (quivers with rage) Warren Ellis apologizes to NO ONE! (condemnatory finger point)

    (I kid, of course.)

    I think the only thing I would’ve wanted to see was something else about the fictonaut. I’m betting it was Hello Kitty.

  5. Maxo Said,

    October 8, 2009 @ 11:53 am

    I didn’t realize this was even still on any kind of schedule, but I’m glad it was finally finished. Planetary is like a less cynical Authority, and I’ve always liked the whole adventurer vibe of it.

    I agree though; anyone reading this needs to start at the beginning (and that might even include people who were already following Planetary — Snell ain’t kidding when he says it’s been a loooong time between issues).