Ach, well damn.
As someone who hasn’t read Planetary before (but bought the first trade years ago), if it lives up to its rep how am I supposed to read it so slooooowly?
It’ll be an authentic experience just like those of us who read it in single issues had! Be sure to wait a few years between each of the later issues
Whelp, I’ve just ordered the omnibus.
No promises on keeping behind. Ellis can be so decompressed that it’s difficult to be satisfied by just one issue.
While Ellis’ decompression is at play here, it’s not any kind of decompression I’d rail against.
The Planetary issues are decompression done right; they are light on plot but heavy on ideas and emotions, and the relative sparseness of the dialogue and simplicity of the plot(s) allow that emotion and those ideas to hit, and hit hard.
It has to be said, too, that what IS said is almost always perfect, and serves purpose an essential purpose. The Planetary issues have been boiled of all their fat; it’s pure poetry of picture and word.
Every panel has some essential piece of information and the room to let Cassady & Martin (Depuy) render it. Nothing is wasted. Not so much is said, but a lot is put out there, giving you space to build deeper mythologies in your own mind. Exposition - of which there is much by the very nature of the series - is integrated into visually interesting mechanism/engine, and not just one but a number of very diverse approaches throughout. Bad/Average comics don’t even try, but even quite solid comics often find obviously contrived / obtrusive ways to ‘punch up’ conversation (‘training’ is a big one in superhero comics). But because Ellis has to get a story told each issue, the exposition HAS to be embedded into the action of the plot. No extraneous or cheap nonsense.
I feel that everything Ellis tries to do in all of his work he accomplishes in Planetary. This is the platonic form of Ellis Comics.
Doesn’t mean you’ll like it (it certainly isn’t my favorite series ever) but I think it’s very, very good. And rarely do you see adventure/scifi comics done this well (indeed, I’m not sure it’s been matched by anything outside of Moore’s America’s Best line, in that arena).
(I’m sure a load of people will come and correct me on that now)
But exactly! You can’t lose the purity of that line by drowning it in nonsense.
I do agree with you, it is perfectly delivered as a starter for that issue and sets a beautiful stage for the character.
Yeah, opening imagery & an opening line is SO important, and Ellis nails it I think 9/10 times in Planetary.
Those sound like my kind of comics.
I’d be surprised if you didn’t like them, if you like scifi action adventure comics.
On that level alone I think they are extremely successful.
It’s not Watchmen, but it’s not trying to be.
WE talked about it enough that I re-read the first issue.
It’s as I remember. Maybe a little more lightly drawn then it seemed at that time, but overall it’s an impressive debut, made moreso by the terseness of the dialogue. In just 22 pages it:
- Establishes our main characters and their personalities, distinctly, through action, dialogue, and exposition (the characterizations reinforcing themselves at every turn)
- Establishes the set up for the rest of the series (Scooby-Dooing Mysteries around the world)
- Gives us a whole mini plot/history of the world
- Establishing the reoccurring snowflake motif
- Hints at all kinds of goodies, some which play out in later episodes, some which don’t (which fires up the imagination of any reader)
All told, a shining example of a first issue for an ongoing (kinda) series, I think.
You will fall in love.
Also immediately hits the ground running with complex dynamics between not just the main characters, but anyone they encounter. Plus I always found it humorous that the only one who was bothered by Elijah’s amnesia was Elijah, while everyone else (even the diner woman) don’t even slow down in giving him a nice ration of shit. They know what’s coming!
Okay, firstly I’ll echo what everyone else has said about the pacing. 22 pages of succinct, intelligent and compelling writing. It’s brilliantly put together and (for me at least) leaves you wanting the next issue immediately. I had to force myself to stop reading.
Despite having read the issue before, and other issues (if my memory is correct), I wasn’t bored at all which is a great strength of the book.
I, like others, found myself drawing parallels between all the characters in the book and those from our own world and experience. It is clear through a combination of the art and the characterisation that this was the intention.
I also liked the fact that there were familiar objects and imagery in the world, the computer bearing a striking resemblance to Green Lanterns lamp for example.
Also as an aside, how great is the cover of the obnibus? I almost wish it was possible to get it leather bound and with metal hinges and clasps!
The only thing that could come close is if it were styled like a Planetary Guide
That’s some good, quick customer service!
I should have qualified that I meant sans dustcover!
My copy of the omnibus arrived and wow. What a monster of a book.
Do you guys have a strategy for reading these tomes? Rest it on a flat surface, perhaps?
From left to right.