Continuing my review of the DC/Wildstorm series Planetary I move onward into the next set of issues. As a recap: Planetary is an organization that, as its name implies, spans the globe while investigating the strange and unexplained events of the world. The DC Universe is full of strangeness and it’s Planetary’s job to keep it that way. Making up the team is: Elijah Snow, Jakita Wagner and The Drummer. Today I will introduce you to the former third member, mentioned in issue one, Ambrose Chase.
Today I have chosen the next section and will be working with issues seven through twelve.
One of the great things about Planetary is that even though there are major themes running throughout the series Ellis doesn’t allow them to completely overtake every issue. He takes time out to tell stories to allow for a greater understanding of the universe in which these characters exist. A perfect example is my starting point today.
Issue seven takes a look at the darker side of the “superhero” spectrum. The focus is on the funeral of Jack Carter, a character modeled on the classic John Constantine persona. Thus, the story takes place in England. There’s an interlude in the story where Jakita tells Elijah of an event in Jack’s past which is downright awesome.
The proceeding issue brings readers back into the fold with the discovery of City Zero and the events that transpire there. It turns out Randall Dowling, of The Four, was the lead scientist at the facility. Also involved in the “project” was Anna Hark. City Zero is where evil was done in the name of science…something that happened a lot in the 1950s.
Have you ever had an imaginary friend or played a role playing game (RPG) or written a fictional story? I’d imagine pretty much all of you have. In your mind you could make the characters, scenes and events real but what if you could actually create a fictional reality and visit it?
Welcome to issue nine.
The “original” Planetary team is first introduced as Ellis takes the reader back to 1997. The team, Wagner, The Drummer and Ambrose Chase infiltrate an installation where a ship that has just returned from a fictional universe is about to be opened to discover its contents. This installation is controlled by The Four. The events that transpire are both true to form for a science fiction story and truly unfortunate at the same time.
Ellis takes a big step with issue ten. It’s a spin on three of the greatest characters in all the DCU; Superman, Wonder Woman and Green Lantern. In the Planetary reality these three characters no longer exist, thanks to The Four. The issue also explores Snow’s growing hatred for these villains and the furthering of his desire to break the mental barriers he is facing. There is also an off-the-cuff reference to Henry Bendix of StormWatch fame at the end of the issue.
Issue eleven has two major events: first it introduces the reader to John Stone and second in it the mental blocks put in place by The Four to control Snow are broken. We are also introduced to a new term, Planetary Guide. As there is no sufficient definition of what a Planetary Guide is online I am compelled to write on here. A Planetary Guide is a book that Elijah Snow has been writing annually since 1925. It is, in a way, his journal of the events that have transpired; a year by year chronological review of the unknown events of the world. Sufficed to say a full collection of all the guides and corresponding materials would rival the library of congress. Snow is a thorough archeologist.
When the world comes crumbling down around you what usually happens? Well, if you’re Elijah Snow, have power over the element of cold and have lived more than a century, you fight back. In issue twelve Elijah remembers who he truly is and confronts the team with this information. The readers learn a wealth of information: like who the fourth man is, why The Four did what they did to Snow, a bit about the history between Snow and Wagner and the topper is a coming out statement. Snow announces to The Four that he and Planetary are back at full force and they’re coming for them.
I hope you enjoyed this second installment of Bin Fodder’s review of Planetary. Check back next week as I continue to explore and review this epic series!
This is your Bin Fodder Guru Tim Blacksmith signing off.
Playlist: Full Length Album of DangerDoom – “The Mouse & The Mask”, seriously amazing album.