Why Aren’t You Reading This?

PLANETARY

Written By Warren Ellis
Art By John Cassaday

Have you ever wondered what strange things are out there? I don’t mean the strange things folks normally wonder about. I’m not talking about lights flashing in the sky or aliens landing just outside of Roswell.

I’m talking about Stranger Things.

I’m talking about the first launch of a capsule to the moon. In 1851.

I’m talking about an atomic woman with a half-life of fifty years.

I’m talking about the secret society run by Sherlock Holmes, Victor Frankenstein, and Dracula.

You know, Stranger Things.

These Stranger Things are the subject of Planetary, one of the greatest comics on the stands today. Planetary isn’t a super-group or an odd assemblage of do-gooders. No, Planetary is a worldwide organization of strange archaeologists. There’s a field team made up of Jakita Wagner, a woman who can run faster than a cheetah and dropkick a rhino across the grand canyon; The Drummer, a complete weirdo who can talk to electronic signals; and the reluctant Elijah Snow, a detective born in 1900 with the power to freeze water with his thoughts. Planetary was created and is funded by the mysterious Fourth Man. Nobody knows who he is, but finding out is the great mystery of the first twelve issues.

Of course, there are those who want the secrets to be kept secrets, for things to run smoothly in their tight grip. Those people are The Four, a malicious Fantastic Four analogue set against Planetary at every step, determined to preserve the status quo for their own benefit.

And that’s where things really get interesting.

With Planetary, Warren Ellis is paying tribute to all of the fantastic stories of days gone by. Want some Flash Gordon? It’s here. Tarzan? Here. Want to find out how long it would take The Incredible Hulk to starve to death? That’s in here, too. Ellis puts a new spin on the stories we all used to read or watch when movies and comics didn’t cost so damn much. He makes them new and returns that sense of wonder we all seem to have lost so long ago.

But he couldn’t do it without John Cassaday.

Cassaday has really made it over the last few years with high-profile gigs on Captain America and Astonishing X-Men. Planetary, however, is what he excels at. His pencils and inks bend and twist through a kaleidoscope of settings, and his work never looks like it doesn’t belong. He doesn’t have to pretend. He just goes for it and pulls it off every single time. Whether it’s a ghost cop on the streets of Hong Kong or Godzilla’s corpse or a mesa that turns into a gigantic stone man, Cassaday makes it work each time, filling the reader with that sense of wonder and awe that really makes Planetary sing.

Planetary is one of the best books out there. The first eighteen issues are available in three trades, and the first twelve have been collected in an oversized hardback along with one of Warren Ellis’s scripts and various production notes.

So… Why aren’t you reading this?