Planetary

     How does one describe a comic book like Planetary? A mix of sci-fi, James Bondish intrigue, a dash of creature feature, and just a smidgen of superhero action is a good start. But it's just a start. This book has to be experienced in order to be truly appreciated. 

     Elijah Snow is one hundred years old (though he only looks about 40) and has seen a great deal of our world's "secret history" unfold. For that reason, he is sought out by an organization called Planetary (circa issue #1), which is dedicated to uncovering that history. 

     Writer Warren Ellis does a great job of making the characters (specifically Elijah Snow) "fit" whatever storyline or background he may throw at readers. And, as mentioned above, that's quite a feat, as there are many different ingredients to this delicacy of sequential art. Snow and his teammates, Jakita Wagner and "The Drummer," have been on cases involving a W.W.II quantum computer built by a secret society of superhumans , a literal monster island, the vengeful ghost of a Chinese cop, giant ants, super aliens, and some things that are better read than explained. 

     Through it all, the characters remain fresh and entertaining, never lost in what is happening around them. Most intriguing is the character of Elijah Snow, who, through flashback stories, has already been shown interacting with the likes of Sherlock Holmes, the Invisible Man, and the lord of vampires himself, Dracula. 

     The artist for the series is John Cassaday, who does a marvelous job of creating the perfect mood for the stories with his attention to detail, i.e. shading and texture. He also has a flair for characterization; faces and bodies are expressive without being "over the top." 

     A collection of the first six issues of Planetary has been published, and can be acquired through comic stores (call 1-888-comicbook for the one nearest you), some bookstores, or by logging on to www.wildstorm.com, and clicking on "backlist." 

     Planetary, published by Wildstorm Productions, 32 pages, $2.50. 

     Review by Mark Allen  


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