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Millarworld book club: Planetary issue 26 - The end!


#223

Planetary Preview - or how much guff can I talk about six pages?

So, there’s a continuity reference here! The Drummer mentions that Integral Design Theory sounds like Description Theory. Description Theory is what Stormwatch used to view the alternate earth in the Bleed story arc from volume 2.

The idea that David Paine was a Cold War hero by virtue of being a bomb builder is of course based on real culture. While Paine is based on Bruce Banner, there’s shades of Jack Parsons to him, one of the founding members of JPL, successor in the US to the mystical traditions of Alestier Crowley, and early victim of alleged conman and religious fraud L. Ron Hubbard.

Changing the bomb from just another nuke to a computer that can alter reality does two things - the first is that it gives some small technobabble to justify Paine surviving, even if it’s by turning into the Hulk, and also it ties into issue 1, where Hark and Edison basically built an Integral Design/Description engine 20 years prior to Paine.

One of the most impressive things here is that Ellis puts together a compelling story in a handful of lines for the General. Ellis teases out that his wife was having an affair with Paine, and that clearly still hurts him, 40 years later. It’s a minor element in the story but it’s very effectively put together, gives some emotional resonance, and provides the final sting to the story as well.

Production wise, @DaveWallace is spot on with the Tracy Ullman Simpsons pic The main cast don’t look quite right, especially Snow, who feels more like a thirtysomething with white hair rather than the man we’re used to who carries the weight of his years in a way his features only sometimes reflect. Compared to the heavy lines all over not-Thunderbolt Ross’ face, especially when they share a panel is especially jarring.


#224

Yes, it’s Snow’s youthful look that really stands out. There’s also more of a classically handsome shape to his face I think, especially around the chin and neck.


#225

It feels a bit to me like a jam comic. As if Snow, Jakita and Drums are being drawn by Cully Hamner instead of John Cassaday.


#226

I do love that there is no combat/team up between the teams. It’s a great take to see. And I can’t recall if any other book has done something so unique.
I also think that if the Authority knew about “The 4” they would have been kerb stomped over the course of an issue.

The story being told from two perspectives is a nice touch. With the Authority just “Boot to the Head” While Planetary get to ask "Why?"
While we get the bare bones form each story arc. It’s still enjoyable to watch both teams in action.
This could easily have been a 3 issue arc. But I’m glad they kept it simple.

And it was nice to see ( The Planetary support team in action before they all get blatted
Which at least shows somewhat the purpose of Planetary.

Also Ain’t Doc Brass Lucky the Reptile Authority didn’t show up on his watch. Not sure what his guns would have done against them.


#227

There is a reference this issue to this coincidence. It seems to be suggested that Planetary’s interest in the Snowflake has somehow ‘activated’ it in terms of other multiversal travellers wanting to come through.


#228

The Authority or The 4?

(Spoilers for later issues below, only click if you’ve read it all)

I kind of think that since Randall’s mind powers works the way it is later stated, The Authority’s knowledge of The 4 might’ve been supressed from his end. The only reason Elijah gets to keep his knowledge somewhat intact, is because Randall finds it amusing. He likes playing the game, it tickles his bloated ego because in his mind he knows Elijah can’t win.


#229

Any more for these two issues? Or shall we move on to #7?


#230

I’ll get my post about the crossover done tonight, but don’t wait around on my behalf.


#231

No rush!


#232

Yes there is! Some of us are first time readers but don’t want to read ahead in case we get all muddled!


#233


#234

Planetary #7 - “To Be In England, In The Summertime”


#235

Looks like I can’t edit the title any more to reflect the current issue, so if a kindly mod could do the honours…? Thanks.


#236

Planetary #7: Hey, I Got It

I don’t really rank this issue very highly. I think, in contrast to other issues, it goes too far on the opposite side of the spectrum and leans too heavily into the genre/medium it is engaging with. In doing so, it doesn’t really hold itself all that well. Hence the subtitle I’ve chosen, it’s just a cavalcade of stuff and that’s really the heart of it. I think the most one gets is that it shows, again, the more reckless side of Jakita, but that’s already been showcased and so this issue in particular doesn’t do much to bring new ideas forward.

The small sub-story within the issue, as per the flashback, with the annual “Judas” is very good though. It works very much in the same fashion as the Hulk-inspired preview story. Giving the reader a sense of how these ideas and concepts played out in this universe. But everything else, down to the paralled Death and Dream on the park bench, just feels…excessive.


#237

The final few panels with the character they are seeking discarding his identity and appearance and taking on that of everyone’s favourite crazy political journalist made the issue for me. Otherwise, as has already been stated, it was a pretty forgettable story.
If anything it added some more depth to the character of Jenny Sparks, but she is only being introduced very slowly anyway.


#238

I like that moment for what it represents.
But overall, in terms of how the issue already is, it’s…like the cherry on the “too much” sundae.


#239

Finally getting aorund to Planetary/The Authority: Ruling The World

Continuity note (and a slight mea culpa), this episode is set sometime between issues 8 and 11 (there’s a mention of City Zero, which we see in issue 8, and the events of the story are mentioned in issue 12, which is immediately preceded by 11 (and you know what I mean)

The Doctor’s forcefield at the start is called a Storm Wall, which is a reference to the force field Skywatch had in Stormwatch

References: As mentioned above, the author in the 1931 section is indeed HP Lovecraft, using his noted racism as a plot point.

The giant squid monsters are referring to a few things - the Cthulu Mythos (going back to Lovecraft), The designs of HR Giger, and as mentioned above, That one image of the JLA fighting Starro.

The idea of aliens sending biological weapons to subsume, adapt or otherwise replace humans is an old SF trope, examples including the Alien series, Species, the Body Snatchers series, and more recently The Expanse.

The Worldruler is a reference to self-replicating robots in general, but specifically the Von Neumann Probe, a theoretical type of self-replicating space probe, which would travel to a solar system, use local resources to make new copies of itself and then move to other systems. Though the proposed Von Neumann probe isn’t an invader.

So I’m not a big fan of the cover, it’s a very basic composition, and having Planetary’s logo replaced with one in the same style as The Authority’s fits the motif of Planetary changing its logo from issue to issue, but it’s not up to the typographic excellence of the main book.

The story does a good balance between being an issue of Planetary and an Authority arc. It’s a nice touch that Snow, Jakita and the Drummer show up in the background as the Authority evacuate civilians, and we switch from the widescreen action to a flashback and a literary reference.

There’s a few awkward moments where people don’t act quite right - Jakita wanting to hack The Authority doesn’t fit Planetary’s remit, and the secretary joining in Snow’s joking while strangling Drums doesn’t quite work; while on the Authority side of things Jenny seems OK with there being helicopters outside Brass’ base in the Adirondacks, and doesn’t ask any questions about where the original Worldruler is when they get to the computer room at the end of the fight.

Overall it’s a good story, there’s not a lot of depth to the Planetary side of things, but Ellis does a good job of balancing the two types of story without one set of heroes overshadowing the other.

Also, that last page. Coming Soon: Batman/Planetary. ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

Coming Soon.


#240

Also, to continue with the idea that there is a hidden or “occult” connection between fiction and reality, the US Army actually sent real soldiers into atom bomb blast tests and the results were naturally cancer going through them like a monster.

Of course, Lee and Kirby would not have known about that when they created the Hulk as the military buried that fact very deep.


#241

A Love Letter to the ´80.

Or, more accuratley, The First “British Invasion” of the Mainstream comic in the USA (And, by extention, my country, Argentina).
I must admit that, upon first reading, i didn´t find it all that good, but, with more information on the acctual background and refferences, it´s a very entertaining read… More so, if you pick what i think is the theme that unites the book has a Whole.
The funeral scene, the poor superhero Sap build by Hitler´s Midgets, the transformation of John Const… Ok, his transformation in Jerusalem. All of that speaks very loudly to a method, or a vision of what comics should be.
The Moore, Gaiman, Morrison way.
But, of course, because Ellis is ellis, The deconstruction of the Superhero Trope. Vertigo in the begining. The literary “mood” of the stories . It all gets blown up with a FXXX Shotgun in the end. Not a subtle, but rather fun way to mark the Second British invasión, Garth Ennis, The same Ellis and The Boss wich, if you remember (Some time has passed, you know) they all started like a kick on the industry teeth with their work.
It was, certanly, time to be someone else.
Of Course, it´s not a newcomer Friendly number, but, we are seven issues in the series so, i belive Ellis could take these liberties knowing that his audience was, almost already built.


#242

The thing is that the U.K. Invasion into US comics has a seriously distorted history. Really it was following the US invasion of U.K. Comics. On top of that, no one really ever includes Claremont (British) or Byrne (Canadian) as a serious part of the British Invasion. And Captain Britain more than Swamp Thing or Sandman set it up.