Comics – Planetary Vol 1: All Over The World And Other Stories

12 10 2007

Planetary Vol 1: All Over The World And Other Stories

Originally uploaded by SWFToys
Here’s another one of my ‘try-outs’ of comic titles that were flagged with a recommendation by comic readers on the Internet. Written by Warren Ellis, who created The Authority, and penciled by John Cassaday. Planetary was a title notoriously plagued with delays due to the commitments of its creators.

Nevertheless, I am glad to have picked up volume 1 which I found to be a good combo of a refreshing read and great artwork. The premise of Planetary has it that a mysterious organisation exists to investigate the secret history & phenomenon of the world. This well-funded organisation operates with a super-hero field team which carries out the investigation work on the respective sites.

The team members are Jakita Wagner (whom I found out was nearly invulnerable in further Internet self-readings), the Drummer (who is able to manipulate computers) and a new recruit – Elijah Snow. Elijah is pretty ancient given that he is born in the year 1900. And his power is heat subtraction. Put his surname and his power together and you can get an idea what he can do. But he seems to be rather powerful. At least this is what I can tell in this volume.

The team investigates different events at various locales. One story saw them tracking down a vigilante ghost cop in Hong Kong while another had them travelling to an island with gigantic dead carcasses of weird creatures.

While I am honestly unable to appreciate whatever original concept that Ellis had intended Planetary for, I just enjoyed reading the different stories as the normal comic reader. However during the read, I did feel the emptiness of finishing each issue without understanding what was Ellis trying to convey. I find Ellis’ intention to model the world in Planetary to explore the different archetypes of fictional characters required the reader to know, to a certain extent, some information of the original characters he models Planetary characters after.

For example, Axel Brass is modelled after the fictional character from the 1930s and 1940s called Doc Savage. After some further reading outside of Planetary volume 1, I could see the similarities and appreciate what Ellis meant by having just about every character from different mass media format existing in the same Planetary world. It’s this extra knowledge that will make the appreciation of Planetary go beyond just reading it as a new comic title. However, I do expect that there are many other characters in this series that will require more catch-up reading on my part.

The excellent pencils of Cassaday is another reason contributing to the enjoyment of this read. It’s pretty distinctive in style but panel art is drawn the way I like it – crisp and sharp.

I’ll probably pick up the second volume of Planetary as I’m curious how else a comic based on this concept is played out after the initial first issues. Perhaps I’ll get a deeper impression then.




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