Sunday, October 18, 2009

"Planetary" #27 by Warren Ellis and John Cassaday

Do you remember Planetary? It was the one about these three larger than life characters who investigated weird stuff, with the weird stuff often being based on well-known fictional (or, occasionally, real-life) characters or situations (so an early issues was set on an analogue of Monster Island and featured a character clearly modelled on Yukio Mishima). Over time, the story became rather focussed on attempts by Elijah Snow, the main character to overcome the blocks that someone had put into his memory, and on his struggle against The Four, sinister analogues of the Fantastic Four.

Anyway, I had thought that Planetary had finished a couple of years ago, when in #26 Snow managed to defeat the leader of The Four (supposedly the most powerful and brainy man in the world, for all his terrible evil) with an unconvincing parlour trick. But now Planetary is back! I think this is probably the last issue ever, as it feels like the title is just tidying up one remaining loose end. I found it a bit unsatisfying, the extra length and fold-out cover only serving to emphasise how this once-great title had rather trailed off over the last few issues. The art is nevertheless as stunning as ever, and the characters retain the epic quality that made the best issues so enjoyable.

One thing that was great about Planetary was that it was a very issues-based comic. They have issued collections, and the book reads well enough in them, but unlike so many comics today, this was written so that it could be enjoyed issue-by-issue. Each episode was typically self-contained – although the episodes would knit together to build a larger story, any given issue would usually work on its own. As someone who typically reads comics in floppy format, I must salute the title's creators.

There is a preview in this for some new steampunk zombie title. Dude, get with the programme - zombies are so over.

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