Planetary/JLA is an Elseworlds story and doesn’t take place in the Wildstorm or DC universes, and Planetary/Batman can be slotted in pretty much anywhere, there’s no continuity nods between it and the main book like there are in the Authority cross-over
We can choose one, and see how it goes.
I like both of them, but the Batman crossover is, by far, my favorite.
Let’s move on and put the crossovers at the end.
What a perfect time to read this particular issue, but more on that later.
This issue, like many of the previous, is very much of two distinct and separate parts both with their own important part of the story.
This issue is clearly another issue that has been inspired by film (I’m hoping my dates are correct here) and this time the choreography and wire work of “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”. The first half, the story Hark is telling Snow about her ancestor Ah Lien, contains barely any dialogue and again let’s Cassidy’s action imagery speak for itself. It also serves to educate the author to the fact that the Harks are more than just a family of wealthy elites who have dabbled in villainy/heroism in the past. They are in fact in possession of some ancient forms of knowledge which propel them into the realm of “super” (hero or villain depending on your perspective).
It is at the end of this first section that we are then introduced to the contemporary aspect of the story. The part I consider fortuitous to the current situation here in the UK. Snow meeting with Hark to discus her partnership with the four and the events surrounding her building from earlier in the story.
Snow, in my opinion, comes across as a politician in these scenes, one who is presenting his parties manifesto to a powerful opponent who could be swayed to become an ally. The way he addresses what she has been given by the four as mere crumbs and that these pale in comparison to the crumbs that he himself has come into possession of. That they can lead mankind into a far brighter future if they work together. Snow also makes a clear and powerful promise about his plan for the four.
The real turning point comes however in the discussion about during the discussion about Wilder including both Snow’s knowledge of the true events that led to his transformation but also the almost maternal nature of the relationship Hark has with Wilder. This also contains a throwaway line, and not the first in Planetary, which reveals something important about Jakita’s past. The fact that Snow knows he has won Hark over from the brief flicker of a smile which we see in one of four nearly identical panels is brilliant in its delivery.
The ace up Snow’s sleeve is obviously Wilder and he plays this despite the fact he has won Hark over. However this also shows us that Snow is very clearly sending a message to Hark, one of the most powerful women on the planet. They both know what she did and they both know the impact this knowledge is likely to have on Wilder if he ever found out. This again shows how different Snow is since the removal of the mental blocks, driven to succeed at any cost and willing to use all of the resources available to him in the process. The final panels again reinforce the relationship between Hark and Wilder and strengthening Snow’s position.
Does anyone else have anything they’d like to contribute?
Are we ready to move on?
I don´t think i´ll be adding anythging new, but i have to say that, in relationship to the book, it´s very interesting the position that the Hark familly had across the time.
To be more clear: thanks to the Flashback we can see the most heroic aspects of what they do (Kung Fu Madness), of their Motto, sort to speak: To "ensure that the sun comes up."
Then, we can rely on the words of Doc Brass as he explain that Hark used to be a supervillain turned for the grater Cause.
And finally, we meet Anna Hark, a woman that first appears as a villain, but then, we realize that she really has to compromise to get humanity some “Scraps” of the Four Knowledge.
AS it was said previously, there is a very “Political” Issue. Specially to the aproach of what the Harks do; their heroics, their work are not in the black and white side of things (LikeSnow and The Four are), but in the very shades of grey, in doing what they can with what they had, even going so far of undemining the Four whenever they can without revealling their hand.
As planetary was “Dormant” (Or at least not in full force, with Elijah gone), Anna had to work in te “real” world, risking many things to get a little Edge on things.
Luckily, everythings starts to pay off with this issue, Snow and Wilder on her side.
Sorry, got a bit behind on this.
I really enjoyed this issue. Like the Sherlock Holmes story, there’s a very clear divide between the action-heavy dialogue-light opening scene and the quieter conversation of the back half.
Cassaday’s art in the first half is stunning, it’s been interesting to read these issues in fairly quick succession and see how marked his improvement has been since the start. The fine detail of the rendering gives everything a very tangible, real quality, and he has a great knack for showing action moments at their absolute apex, to maximise the impact.
The second half is a nice bit game-playing and manoeuvering of the kind that this book does so well. It feels like a meeting of almost-equals, with both sides respectful but also used to getting their own way. That it ends on such a positive note is a nice surprise.
I also like the hints we get as to the future of the story. Snow’s stated plan to defeat The Four and use their discoveries to benefit humanity is exactly what ends up happening at the end of the series, and there are more hints here as to Snow’s relationship with Jakita too.
Maybe I should post the cover for #17 so the discussion can move on for those that are ready, and anyone who hasn’t posted on #16 yet can still feel free to weigh in on that when they want to.
Planetary #17 - “Opak-Re”
“Opak-Re” is one of the best Doc Savage stories ever told. Also one of the best Tarzan, Allen Quatermain, Indiana Jones or Lara Croft stories.
Who doesn’t love a jungle adventure?
Another perfect timing issue.
This opens with something akin to Heart of Darkness and Frost on a boat travelling up river finding himself without companions but never truly alone.
It then takes on a Tarzan lilt as we are introduced to Lord Blackstock. Although unlike Tarzan he has fully embraced his true family and comes across as a well educated member of the English upper class (bought title or not).
The reveal of Opak-re and Frost being accepted into the society is where I think the perfect timing fits. This, to be, has a number of parallels with Wakanda especially as it is presented to audiences in the current Black Panther trailers. Technologically advanced and well hidden from outsiders really stand out here. But even smaller things such as the similarity between Anaykah’s tattoos and those that we see across the back and shoulders of T’Challa in the movie trailer.
The presentation of this issue differs from the other most recent issues as it has dialogue throughout but the way we are presented with Frost’s journal entries means we still get to see the wonderful artwork of Cassaday.
It is, of course, the final act which is the true reason for this story being told. The revelation that due to Anakah’s attraction to the outsiders and the fact that they broke the rules by having a child that we have Jakita. Suddenly a seemingly unrelated story fits neatly into place and follows on brilliantly from the previous issue and Frost’s conversation with Hark.
Now I only have one question leading out of this, how certain are we of the parentage of the baby? Frost has been gone 18 months. The baby certainly isn’t a new born but is it old enough to lead to any ambiguity over whether the father is Blackstock or Frost?
I’m going to make a effort to get caught up tonight as I got some things to say about this issue
I think any ambiguity there was unintentional. Frost’s behavior toward her is always more of an uncle than a dad - especially once the blocks are gone - and I don’t think his character would allow that if there was any doubt.
[quote=“Chris, post:373, topic:9506, full:true”]
I’m not sure, I think I’m with Chris on this one. At this point in the story at least, I think we’re meant to wonder whether it’s Snow or Blackstock who is the father, especially given the conversation earlier in the issue about Blackstock’s lack of interest in the women of Opak-Re.
Anyway, I enjoyed this issue a lot - it makes a nice change of pace from the last couple of issues which have been set in the present and have pulled a lot of threads together. This feels more like a self-contained tale from the past, as with some of the earliest issues of the series.
I agree with Chris’ comments that it feels like a Tarzan/Wakanda mash-up, and I think the combination works. While I could have happily spent more time with fleshing out this society (some of the concepts mentioned early in the issue are intriguing, such as their approach to justice and democracy), I can understand wanting to touch lightly on those aspects and concentrate on the human story at the centre.
The artwork in the issue is superb - from the very first page there’s a real sense of lush, organic detail that helps to set this apart from previous issues.
The reveal of the links to Jakita are not wholly unexpected, once they come by the end of the issue - I think it foreshadows things nicely, and it raises some interesting ideas around concepts of ‘pure’ societies - and I liked the parallels we see between Blackstock’s fighting style and Jakita’s (his attack on the snake monster this issue feels quite reminiscent of her fighting the giant ants earlier on in the series).
Those parallels are why I don’t think any ambiguity was meant as far as Jakita’s parentage. I think any doubt comes from the initial “Oh! A baby!” moment, but the follow on (I read this last week and don’t have a copy with me to quote) made ti clear - at least in my head - that she’s Blackstock’s daughter. Admittedly, I may be laying foreknowledge over the “current” text, but on both my original reading and this more recent one a decade later, I remember the parental ambiguity not surviving the scene.
I think you’re right in that the book tells us that pretty clearly. And I think there’s definitely plenty of evidence to point to that parental connection (Jakita’s special abilities are much more similar to Blackstock’s than to Snow’s).
I think with Planetary there’s often a sense of readers trying to second-guess the story’s mysteries though - there are little hints earlier in the issue that make Blackstock being the father seem less likely (such as the suggestion that he prefers sex with animals over humans), but they just as well might be red herrings to set up our expectation that Snow is Jakita’s father, only to then surprise us by revealing that it’s somebody else.
I will admit I loved the way this issue toyed with my expectations on this exact subject. I just felt it was settled by the time I turned the final page.
I didn’t start reading Planetary in single issues until #15 (I’d read the first two trades by then). I really remember loving #17 when it came out for a lot of the reasons listed already.
True story: I managed to find a back issue of #14, but never #13. And I never bought Vols. 3 and 4 in trade. I got the omnibus when we started this thread months back, then spent too much time away from MW and never got around to reading the omnibus. Until a couple weeks ago, when I finally got to read #13 for the first time. I just wish I’d gotten to it when you all were discussing it.