Thursday, October 15, 2009

Planetary #27 Review

Good afternoon, dear readers!

We're going to have a bit of a diversion from the norm here...we're going to review the just-completed series Planetary, created by Warren Ellis and John Cassaday, ably abetted by Laura Martin (previously DePuy), ComicCraft (primarily Bill O'Neil) and a number of editors, produced by Wildstorm and published by DC Comics.

Planetary documents the secret history of the Wildstorm Universe. Within the Planetary Universe, one will find familiar characters from far and wide. Some are represented by the actual characters; some are analogues of those characters. For example, Sherlock Holmes is a real character in the Planetary Universe; however, Doc Savage exists as Doctor Axel Brass.

The characters in Planetary are:

Elijah Snow - Snow has the not fully defined power of heat subtraction. Like Iceman of Marvel Comics, he can freeze objects by reducing their molecular activity. Unlike Iceman, he does not cover himself in a sheath of ice. Snow is also a being known as a Century Baby, born at the beginning of the century. Century Babies act as the immune system for the universe.

Jakita Wagner - Jakita possesses super-strength and super-speed. She is purported to be able to "kick a rhino across the Grand Canyon".

Ambrose Chase - Ambrose Chase is a living "physics distortion field"; that means that Chase can affect his environment by slowing or stopping time (does anyone remember The Girl, The Gold Watch And Everything? Love that Morgan Fairchild, by the way...!).

The Drummer - The Drummer (yes, that is the name he goes by!) can interact electronically with his environment; for three meters around his person, he acts as an anti-surveillance field.

One of the tag lines of Planetary is that "It's a strange world". One of the strange things is that on Marvel Comics' Earth, The Fantastic Four is one of the pre-eminent superhero teams; on Planetary-Earth, The Four are the most evil bastards walking the face of the earth.

The Four are:

Randall Dowling - Dowling is the analogue of Reed Richards, Mr. Fantastic of the Fantastic Four. Unlike Reed, Dowling stretches metaphorically, parasitically invading people's minds.

Kim Suskind - She is the Invisible Woman of The Four - Ellis attributes real science to his characters; in this instance, for Kim to be truly imperceptible, there is no light reaching her eyes, which renders her blind when she warps light, so Randall implanted in her spine an image resonator (you'll have to ask Ellis for the real verbiage) attached to a visor that allows her sight. She also possesses Sue's force filed, although she has practiced in the more lethal applications of said field.

William Leather - William Leather was the son of Bret Leather, another one of the Century Babies, though not actual blood; because of this, Leather did not have any inherent powers. Robbed of his birthright, he was easily enticed by Dowling and joined him on the journey to an adjacent universe to gain his superhuman power. He is the analogue to Johnny Storm, the Human Torch, although he sports electrical fire, rather than flaming plasma.

Jacob Greene - Greene was the most deformed of The Four - he resembles Benjamin J. Grimm, the ever lovin' blue-eyed Thing, but even more deformed.

The Four kidnapped Snow and placed mental blocks in his mind when he became just a tad too dangerous, and threatened to murder the remainder of the team if he ever again interfered in their plans. With the assistance of John Stone, he was able to break the mental blocks and mount an offensive against The Four.

William Leather was dispatched in #18; Greene was exiled outside the universe in #20, and Dowling and Suskind fell to their deaths in #26 - I don't want to ruin all of the fun - I want you to go buy the books, make Warren, John and Laura happier with royalties, and avail yourselves of the engaging storyline, the absolutely awesome artwork and the lush, vibrant and haunting hues offered to your by our dear storytellers.

Issue #27 concerns itself with the rescue of Ambrose Chase, who seemed to have placed himself into an improvised state off suspended animation, only moments from death. Do they save him?

Go get Planetary #27. You'll like it.

In other news...David McGowan posted an addedum to Wagging The Moondoggie.

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