Comics Creators

Millarworld book club: Planetary issue 26 - The end!


I have to agree with the majority of points already mentioned above.

Issue 2 zips along at quite a pace and nothing really happens within the issue.

We get some exposition regarding the powers each member of the team has and a little bit of mystery regarding Snow’s knowledge of Japanese.

We also see how Planetary is truly a planetary organisation.

Out of interest, a number of people mentioned Snow’s amnesia in the issue 1 discussion. I didn’t remember reading/noticing that fact so reread the issue. Same result. Is this one of those things that is found out soon enough and sonthe signposts are more obvious to those rereading or did I really miss something obvious?


It’s not really mentioned until later in the run, but there are hints in issue 5 and, 8? The John Constantine/British Invasion one.


Any more for issue #2 or is it time to move on?


By the power invested in me as a MillarWorld droid: MOVE ON TO #3!


Planetary #3 - ‘Dead Gunfighters’


Ah, the art in this issue! :slight_smile:


Ah I need to apologise to the Stormwatch artists, it was this book that has the really bad visual depiction of Hong Kong. Reading too much Ellis at the same time. :smile:


Planetary Issue 3

This is the first issue that feels really weighty, with most of the exposition dealt with in the last two issues.

The story itself is quite compelling, the idea of a modern ghost that somehow has corporeal guns. There are echoes of Ghost Rider etc in the idea. Also the similarity between this story and almost all cop films coming out of Hong Kong for the last thirty years, well except the ghost cop bit.

I like how there is a short discussion, three lines I think, which expand on the overall story. With the field office staff member saying she had worked for planetary for 6 years.

I also liked the throwaway comment from Snow regarding Bluegrass which again gives us more idea about his background.

The image near the end of the issue with Jakita kicking the car reminds of Geoff Darrow’s work in Hard Boiled. Which would be cool if was inspired by it, as the title Hard Boiled links back to Hong Kong police films.


Planetary #3 - When Doves Fly

This issue is very much in the same mold as the second: premise, investigation, and then some remarks about the premise, end. I agree with much of the points above, about how Ellis is really just finding his way around the series, and setting down how the team operates. I would say that, for how much the issue lacks in content, it makes a huge leap ahead from the second in two major areas.

One, we see an actual continuation/conclusion of the main premise’s narrative, and some minor dialogue that gives it more weight than the nothing of consequence that weighed down #2. It’s not as much as subsequent issues would give to their hooks, but it’s a step in the right direction. It hangs upon this whole revenge-killing idea that does pervade many foreign action films, and obviously some famous Japanese/Chinese ones.

Two, Cassady is able to show off his cinematic action chops. The opening sequence of the Ghost Cop dispatching that car of gangsters is fantastic. It’s one of the most succinct and effective sequences in the entire series. When playing with the sorta asian action mold, Cassady’s work does as much as Ellis’s writing could ever do in these pages.

It does get a bit trite in the dialogue though, much more trite than other issues would get, as it explicitly states itself and comes off as awkward instead of the “sideways glance” other issues would get. Reminded me of a less comedic version of the later John Constantine issue - which was meant to be more sardonic and to the point.

But…good issue and the art is one of the favorite the series had to offer.


I agree, that struck me straight away too. I have to think it was deliberate.


I love that most of the Ghost action shots are done in Widescreen for this issue.
But my favourite panel is the one just after Drummer asks Jak to stomp on the ground. And it shows Snow and the whole panel is vibrating. A simple Touch. But looks great.

It may just be because I saw John wick 2 last night. And that was some relentless Gunplay.
But this issue felt really fast paced. But dosn’t feel like it delivered on the HD of souls.
Also do we know what happened to the HD?

Again as the lads say we get a little more into Planetary’s background and see the groups abilities in action again. Snow Freezing the Street was effortless. Which shows he could be quite the powerhouse.


It’s interesting that Kieran Gillen felt that action writing was his weakest aspect and he used Ellis as a template to emulate as he felt he was the best in the business.


I think part of it is Ellis’ willingness to let the art carry the action and to stay ‘silent’ when appropriate. Some comics undermine the impact of action with lots of text, whereas simple, clear, stark visuals (of the kind that Ellis likes to employ) often do the job much better on their own.


There are a few guys in comics who are clearly coming at it from the perspective of pacing; Warren Ellis’s comics are always regular and percussive, rhythm is clearly his great consideration. Frank Miller is likewise extremely concerned with pacing, and there is no one in the industry with his intuitive genius when it comes to determining, through images and text, the speed at which the reader goes through his comics.

I think Planetary is where it all went right for Ellis, but when it DOESN’T quite go right you end up with something with a great energy but not a lot of content and character. Good action tells the tale, forwards the plot and gives character details, but sometimes when Ellis makes a misstep you just get a lot of back and forth punching/shooting.

I think the key with engaging action is the same as anything else, which is trying to put character into it, and building to a crescendo. Comics, as a medium, has a limitation on space, and so I think you need to be careful about how you’re building out that action.


Yes I think so. Miller was the other one to come instantly to mind but I expect from Gillen’s point of view the majority of his work is drawn by him too so he doesn’t have a script in the same way to learn from.


Yes, and as writer-artist Miller is in the position to co-ordinate all the elements himself with the kind of precision that is harder for a team, even a team that is working very well in synch.

There’s loads of good stuff in that MILLER/EISNER book about pacing though, and Miller’s approach to it. It’s particularly interesting to hear him talk about the amount of time people will spend reading some of his work (by design) compared to the amount of time he spends planning and producing it.


I think you can still replicate and learn from a lot of what Miller is doing, even as ‘just’ a writer – it’s about communicating that intent to the artist, and then letting it filter through their own sensibilities.

Some stuff is maybe a little technical, like playing with bleed, but a lot of it you have a say in as a writer, including lettering placements.


Scripts are very useful for learning, but I backwards engineer comics all the time, and think in some ways that’s even more instructive.


Oh, I’m not saying you can’t learn from it, just that if you’re not drawing the comic as well as writing it then you obviously don’t have the same precise control over how it all comes together.


True enough and I have no idea to be honest if Gillen does the same or not or has also looked at Miller. It was just one quote from an interview.

Either way I think he’s right that Ellis has become an expert at it, a lot of his work stands out in that regard, especially the later stuff.