This one of my favorite comics books. I must have read this comic about 9 times and yet every time I discover something new. This probably why this review was so difficult, for how can’t I not be one sided on it. So here we go!
This particular issue collects volume 1 through 6 .
Story: Elijah Snow is a mysterious man who been alive for over a century, but his casual life of solitude get interrupted by a secret organization, Planetary and he is begrudgingly drafted it as it Fourth member. Slowly Snow comes face to face with the strange hidden history of the world who he once desperately tried to escape. From golden age science heroes trying to stop WWII without entering it, to kaijus (Japanese giant monsters), phantom cops, ship that can navigate the multiverse, and deadly astronauts. But there something more, a layer of secrets he yet to understand. What or who is behind Planetary?
Pulp icon of literature gather!
Ellis idea of Justice League is actually quite intriguing
Art: Beautiful, the art is incredibly continuous and very detailed oriented with highly motivated lines. There a balance between the noir style the comic tries to catch in one pages, the pulp movies scenes and even few hard boiled Chinese flicks we all know. What the art trying to do is bring back to those moments and those wonderfully, our characters seem to be choosing from set backgrounds staff in library that contains the concept of the 20th century. The few fight scenes we see are just amazing. However all fails in comparing when we see concepts, ideas and abstract taught turn into art, such massive cylindrical data-bank of information for the dead.
The giant monsters island
The ghost detective
The voyage story
Pulp heroes vs Superhero what dream come true, and can you spot that famous Flash death’s scene!
Dialogue: Be prepare for set of characters who conversation with one another reminds you they hate one another with passion. Jakita, is passion and raw, while Snow is pessimistic and pragmatic and Drummer, well he just himself. As for actual dialogue outside of that, it base on concepts again, on ideas that our strange world is reflected in our fiction. From many lengthy conversation to witty remarks on the existence of ourselves.
The snowflake principle because very important factor
Sometimes you need to stop writing a comic book and create art
The evil astronauts
Continuous in: Planetary Vol 2: The Fourth Man
Conclusion: I once heard someone say Planetary, was love letter to the 20th Century, they were not wrong. It comic representing the zeitgeist of century gone be, showing us the concepts and ideas that populated that forgotten pass. Giant monsters, hard boiled detectives, revenge and mysteries. But above all else the comic strides to tell us that mankind comes two forms, one that wishes to conserve the strange and sees the beauty in it, and another wanting to dissect it for money. Perhaps it allegory to writers who profit off their craft without any real joy.
This entire comic is filled with multiple stories harking back to the glory days of the 20th century; the pulp heroes are reflected in character in similar manners to Doc Savage (a favorite of mine), the rocket-packed heroes and mystery men and monsters. The clash between this pulp heroes and superheroes even seem to me like allegory for the 20th Century vs 21th Century, yet perhaps reading too much into it. Let us return to the review, at first none this stories seem to be connected in the least-bit, until the final pages were everything start to make sense.
While at first Planetary can be very hard read as most the early Wildstorm stuff tended to be, this actually an incredibly mature and hope filled story told from the eyes of man who so old and tire of seeing the darkness, that he wants to see the wonderful. But this does not mean it perfect story, some the characters such as Jakita and The Drummer feel incredibly flat yet I would give this comic a try. Allow to take into your mind, go back read it again. You will appreciate it.