Planetary: Trades 1-3

July 7th, 2008 by

While we were at Wizard World, we saw Warren Ellis speak at his ‘late night Q&A’ as the guest of honor for the convention. My first exposure to him was through the Authority years ago. I really liked it, but it wasn’t until Marty started reading his work that I began to encounter to more and more Ellis comics piling up in our household. I’ve liked some, and loathed others (Gravel just struck me as uninspired violence).

I may have heard the name before, but until Wizard hadn’t put any thought into Ellis’s Planetary book. At the Q&A, a drunken young man in the audience repeatedly begged for discussion of Planetary. He was rebuffed first by Ellis at the beginning of the evening, and then again later, when he had drunk enough whiskey to match the boy’s blood alcohol levels. I was not won over by Ellis’s persona, which was grandiose and rude in a very cultivated manner. The most amusing portions of the evening included imitations of other famous people and their craziness (name-dropping included Alan Moore, Patrick Stewart, and Tom Baker, it’s possible that only certain geeky audiences would be star-struck by this line-up, but it was hilarious). Other portions included an excruciating reading from his novel with open glee at the squirming he caused in the audience with his endless descriptions of godzilla bukake and testicles forceably engorged with salt water. I really don’t recommend indiscriminate reading of everything he puts to paper, especially since he brags that he has bullied every editor in the industry with into submission and no longer has any limits on what he wishes to publish.

On the subject of Planetary, Ellis would only say that he has written a new issue, and he expects Cassaday to create the art sometime before 2009. I think. Other than that, he said that he was totally burned out after an interview on the subject earlier that day. At the time, I couldn’t have cared less, but now that I have devoured the first 3 trade paperbacks (purchased by Marty at the convention), plus a Planetary/Authority/Trinity crossover, I have joined the ranks of fans waiting impatiently for more. There seem to be enough single issues to warrant another trade soon, but the pace has slowed, and Ellis does not have a good track record for sticking with a particular title once his initial creative outlet has been fulfilled, and he wants to continue with Cassaday, who is booked with other projects these days.

Planetary is perfect for those who love the Authority comics. It takes place in the same universe, and follows the Planetary organization, which includes long-lived super-powered people of questionable reputations and lofty goals, but this lot prefers to stay in the shadows rather than using their powers openly. The first trade was interesting, but it seemed to follow more of an episodic rhythm with stand-alone mysteries being investigated by the three Planetary field agents. The second TPB starts to thread things together, introducing a Big Bad and hinting at future answers. Then all of a sudden, a big answer is revealed and things really start moving fast. I was giddy at having so much to read at once, and so much satisfaction at the way the story progressed. I have a few more issues to look forward to (preferably after the trade comes out, if I can wait that long), but then I will be bereft and begging with Ellis’s other fans. And having met him, I expect no mercy.

One Response to “Planetary: Trades 1-3”

  1. stevieDisme Says:

    planetary is like mana from heaven! it’s so intriguing and it’s the best art cassaday has ever done! i don’t care if anymore come out, i’ll just keep rereading the ones i have.