Planetary Book 3: Leaving the Twentieth Century

Leaving the Twentieth CenturyOrder this bookStory: The Planetary organization moves the pieces into place for its counter-assault against the Four, drawing resources from its knowledge of the world’s secret history. Also included are several episodes from Elijah Snow’s past, including his discovery of a conspiracy to save the world in 1919, his adventures in the hidden city of Opak-Re, and his pivotal early encounter with the Four.

Review: Planetary has always had a very episodic structure, and that becomes even more prominent in this third collection. Three of the six chapters are tales from Elijah Snow’s past, and the other three have a heavy emphasis on flashbacks. As a result, the series loses a little bit of urgency here; at the end of the second collection, I had the feeling that the conflict between the Four and Planetary was about to get serious. I had the same feeling at the end of the third, which is a little disappointing. That said, the individual stories in this volume are rather good and do shed some useful light on the backstory of certain characters, while also bringing in threads established earlier in the series. So although it does seem that the book is a circuitous path that leads right back where it started, the journey’s worth taking.

While I continue to enjoy Warren Ellis’s dialogue and stories, the heavy lifting in many of these chapters is done by John Cassaday and Laura Martin. There are many silent action sequences where they do stunning work, and they never fail to bring out the emotions at the core of Ellis’s character moments. Some people have found fault with all those silent moments, feeling that the story has become too “decompressed,” and I can certainly see their point. But for me, the mood and feeling that the artists create with this book make that more than worthwhile.

Year: 2004
Writer: Warren Ellis
Line Artist: John Cassaday
Colorist: Laura DePuy Martin
Publisher: DC Comics/Wildstorm
Pages: 144