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.