Planetary – Volume 4 and a look back


Warren Ellis has put a lot of words out into the world for people to read. And I mean A LOT of words. And while I am a fan of the man and what he says and how he says it, some of his work really stands out. Planetary is one of those series. Volume four, the last of the collections has come out and the series is concluded. Often something like this is bittersweet, endings don’t live up to what you hope for as a reader, there is a sadness that it’s over. Not the case here. Ellis brings in the last page of this series so perfectly and in such a way that you can’t help but smile a knowing smile. If you’ve been reading right along at this point you are an insider and when you read those last words from Elijah Snow you know it’s all good.

If you’ve not read Planetary here’s a quick summary of the series. Planetary is a foundation that seeks out strange things on Earth and saves and protects them. Pretty basic look at this series.

More detailed:
The series opens with the group bringing a amber back into the fold, one Elijah Snow. Snow is a Century Child, born on January 1st 1900, and as such has special abilities which in his case is the manipulation of cold. Jakita Wagner and her work mate Drummer need Snow to come back to help out and this means bringing back his memory which was taken away at his own insistence. This trio travel the globe searching for weird things, time travel machines, monster that we though were only in movies, and a number of variations of popular superheroes. It’s a real homage to pop culture going back 100 years. As the series progresses we discover more about our team of heroes. We see Snow training with Sherlock Holmes, traveling to Frankenstein Castle, finding out what happened to the pulp heroes of the forties, who bare a purposely close resemblance to Doc Savage, Shadow and Airboy among others.
The main struggle they have is against a group of four adventurers who got their powers artificially, a group resembling the Fantastic Four, only mean and evil. Snow wants their kowledge and he wants them to stop manipulating things so he can help mankind.

This last collection has a Lone Ranger homage which leads into the back story for one of the Four.We have space adventure, we have pulp heroes. And we have answers. We get Drummer’s origin, we learn about Jakita, we find out what Snow has been up to all these years and why.

John Cassaday’s art is of course perfect. A constant through the series he really brought it home in style. His covers through out have been an amazing homage to pop culture through the years and he ends on the high he started with.

Ellis leaves us with really only one question. If we let you name your price can we have some more? But do you know what? We don’t need more bcause he brought the whole story around full circle perfectly and gave us an awesome ending , one looking to the future with hope and wonder. A perfect ending for a perfect series.

It’s a strange world, let’s keep it that way.

Buy Planetary Vol. 4: Spacetime Archaeology
Buy Planetary Vol. 3: Leaving the 20th Century
Buy Planetary Vol. 2: The Fourth Man
Buy Planetary Vol. 1: All Over the World and Other Stories