As I come to the conclusion of the main series of issues for Planetary I would be remiss if I didn’t touch on a few things. First, I applaud the fans of the comic for sticking with it when deadlines faltered and it took years (yes, literally years) for some issues to come out. Second, Warren Ellis has brought a lot of gems into the world of comics but Planetary and Transmetropolitan are easily the most impressive and insane. If you have enjoyed Planetary I highly recommend checking out Transmetropolitan, or you could always wait to see what you think when I review it (hint, hint…). Third, I really hope that I have appeared impartial in my review of the issues individually. I realize I have gushed (see previous statement) at times, but I feel that I have given you a valuable review and reason for reading this book.
Now we move on to my review of the final seven issues of the main series. This is where it all comes together. Here is where you learn about so many of the things all us readers had pondered over.
Starting us off is issue twenty-one, which is possibly the most psychotropic of all the issues. It builds, somewhat, on an idea presented in an earlier issue that the universe is not at all what we perceive it to be. Snow travels to a “mystic” who, through the use of drugs, assists him in accessing “dream archeology.” You may need a thesaurus or a slide ruler in order to make sense of parts of this issue.
Twenty-two is one of the few issues told from a specific perspective. You realize immediately that it is William Leather (of The Four) who is doing the talking. What is learned about Leather explains a lot about the history of his family, his real family, and it nicely ties him to the broader world Ellis has created.
Issue twenty-three accomplishes several things, as you would expect from a story that’s four issues from the end of the series. It gives credence to the reverence often exhibited by The Drummer for Snow as well as explains the history of how The Drummer came to be part of Planetary. It shows how The Four had their hands in an incalculable number of things, especially technology. The Drummer’s story is an in-depth look at his true self, the self that never really comes out because he’s too busy being annoying.
Heading into the home stretch, issue twenty-four starts us off strong. First, it takes us to yet another Planetary office, this one in Rio de Janeiro, where Snow houses one of his massive Planetary Guide collections. Second, we learn Snow’s purpose as a Century Baby. Third…well the third part is a surprise worth reading for yourself.
Twenty-five contains a wealth of knowledge. We learn the truth about who John Stone is these days, who he’s been working for and why. In the end he has it out with Jakita, you see how well that went. We also learn crucial facts about The Four, how they came to be and what they had to promise to make that happen. Ellis’s version of the Fantastic Four are much more evil than could have ever been imagined.
Like the cover of issue twenty-six implies, this is the “missing piece of the puzzle” issue. It’s the issue where Snow puts it all together and wraps up just about everything that needs to be. The last of The Four are met by Snow in the very place Jakita came and found him all the way back in the first issue. Let’s just say it doesn’t go well for them. We once again gain more insight into the happenings of the bleed, shift-ship technology and of parallel earths.
Issue twenty-seven, the last issue. It’s here that we see what Snow has been trying to do for the last ten to fifteen issues: save Ambrose Chase. His theory, that Ambrose used his time-displacement field to freeze his body outside of the time stream when he was shot, is tested. Using information procured from The Four, Snow and the team uncover vast amounts of brilliant, world-altering technology before they locate the file needed to try and save Ambrose. What happens from there is brilliant, touching, heartfelt and a truly wonderful ending to the series.
It would have been so easy to be disappointed by the final issue of an amazing series, like people were with the final episode of LOST, but when you read issue twenty-seven not in a vacuum but in line with the rest of the volume you see that it was all building to that moment. That everything truly is connected.
Ellis and Cassady created a very special world here and though it is sad to see the ongoing series come to an end there are still three stand-alone stories, extended one-shot comics, still to come. For now, I will give my rating for the series: (insert 4 stars)
Until next week!
This is your Bin Fodder Guru Tim Blacksmith signing off.
Playlist: Stablio Boss – “Six Eyes Too Far Away”, Jimmy Eat World – “The World You Love”, Strung Out – “Your Worst Mistake”, Daphne Loves Derby – “Are Two Chords Enough, Dear?”, The Format – “Dog Problems”, Yeah Yeah Yeahs – “Track 2”, Reel Big Fish – “Drinkin’”, The Ataris – “Act V, Scene IV: And So It Ends Like It Begins”, Motion City Soundtrack – “Delirium”, Chevelle – “Another Know It All”, Sparta – “Glasshouse Tarot”, Rise Against – “Make It Stop”, Shiny Toy Guns – “Stripped”, A Perfect Circle – “Orestes”