“WildStorm Presents #1: Planetary – Lost Worlds”
Written by WARREN ELLIS
Art by PHIL JIMENEZ, JERRY ORDWAY and ANDY LANNING
Cover by JOHN CASSADAY
On Sale December 8, 2010
Wildstorm Comics; 96pg.; Color; $7.99 US
Once again, with “WildStorm Presents #1: Planetary – Lost Worlds” I am exposed to a comic book universe that has existed well before my knowledge of it’s world and characters. Some people may feel that since I haven’t followed a series and it’s “heroes” since day one that I don’t really have the right to give my opinion on it. Honestly, that’s fair. However, I do enjoy discovering new and old comic properties that I haven’t paid attention to before. That’s one thing that I thank DC Comics for every day.
Recently, I was sent “WildStorm Presents #1: Planetary – Lost Worlds” and was taken in by the cover right off the bat. There were three separate illustrations of different groups of “heroes.” The first group looked like it was Clark Kent, Wonder Woman, and Bruce Wayne. I thought to myself “Why would they be in a WildStorm comic?” The other characters on the cover I just took for granted were the regular cast of the comic I didn’t know anything about. Well, upon doing some research I discovered that legendary comic book writer Warren Ellis had created the “Planetary” Universe and that part of his plan for the series was to mix together different heroes from different literary worlds. He would have well-known figures like The Hulk, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, The Fantastic Four, The Justice League, Constantine, and several others including Godzilla, Tarzan, Sherlock Holmes, and Doc Savage that he would create pastiche characters of and mix them all together in this world he had brought to life. Pretty cool stuff.
First off, Planetary is “an organization billing themselves as ‘Archaeologists of the Impossible’, tracking down the world’s secret history. Funded by the mysterious Fourth Man, who it is said could be anyone from Bill Gates to Adolf Hitler, the field team consists of three superhumans: Jakita Wagner, who is strong, fast and nearly invulnerable; The Drummer, who can detect and manipulate nearby information streams, most commonly used to manipulate computers and other electronics; the new recruit Elijah Snow, who can extract heat from nearby substances at will, freezing them; and the former third man Ambrose Chase, who has a ‘selective physics-distortion field’.”
“WildStorm Presents #1: Planetary – Lost Worlds” is made up of two stories. Both of the stories are written by Warren Ellis. They were already published in single magazine form as “Planetary / Authority: Ruling the World” in 2000 and “Planetary / JLA: Terra Occulta” in 2002.
“Planetary / Authority: Ruling the World” is a “standalone story featuring the two WildStorm teams in a plot tangentially related to an element in the first issue of ‘ Planetary.‘” Basically, “during an investigation of The Authority, the post-human pantheon intrudes in one of Planetary’s old cases.” To me, the whole story revolved around the heroes trying to save the world from a giant cthulhu-looking monster that rains a bunch of fish soldiers down on the Earth to destroy it and eat it’s inhabitants. Pretty weird. However, it kept my attention throughout.
The story of “Planetary / Authority: Ruling the World” seemed to incorporated details of all the different characters’ pasts and previous adventures, so it is definitely a little hard to follow when jumping into it all. I can definitely tell that Ellis has put a lot of his life and blood into the series because of how intricate everything is. I’m sure if you’re a fan of “Planetary” and have been following it throughout the years this is a wonderful visit to a great past issue.
The art for “Planetary / Authority: Ruling the World” was handled by a group of different folks. You’ve got comic mainstay Phil Jiminez doing the pencils. He was supported by Andy Lanning on inks and colorist Laura Depuy Martin. The illustrations are of the realistic type and the colors are quite strong and eye-catching.
“Planetary / JLA: Terra Occulta” is a “standalone Elseworlds story featuring an alternate version of the Justice League of America – Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman – facing an alternate incarnation of Planetary that acts in much the same way the Four (the series’ version of the Fantastic Four who are intent on suppressing the mysteries of the universe) do in the regular “Planetary” series. The WildStorm Universe’s mystery-tackling team collides with the DC Universe’s Greatest Heroes in the most unexpected way!” Apparently in this alternate dimension The Planetary Organization caused the destruction of Wonder Woman’s home island, the death of Clark Kent’s Earthly parents, and the death of Bruce Wayne’s parents. Now the three of them are looking to help get some justice served.
This was my favorite section of the “WildStorm Presents #1: Planetary – Lost Worlds” 100-page spectacular. I’m a sucker for anything that features Batman. Ellis did a great job of taking well-known characters and throwing them into a seemingly futuristic world in a different dimension. Clark never dons the Superman outfit, but Bruce wears a stealth-looking outfit with a full-faced mask that features batwings on the eyes and Diana changes into a white jumpsuit with gold trim and her bracelets. It was interesting to see these iconic characters in a different setting than their usual ones.
The art for “Planetary / JLA: Terra Occulta” was done by completely different people than the ones who did it for “Planetary / Authority: Ruling the World.“ Strangely, it seemed pretty similar in style and colors. The penciling and illustrations by Jerry Ordway were realistic-looking and had the same vibe. David Baron did the coloring and it was rich and striking. I would have to say that the cover page for this story was my favorite illustration in the book. It has Clark Kent, Diana Prince, and Bruce Wayne all standing and sitting on rocks. Their reflection in a pool of water has them inverted as Superman, Wonder Woman, and Batman.
“WildStorm Presents #1: Planetary – Lost Worlds” was a fun read. I don’t think it will make much sense to anyone who hasn’t already embraced the “Planetary” Universe. I’m not saying you shouldn’t pick it up and give it a try. Who knows? You might like what you read and see enough to seek out the whole series.