Friday, 8 March 2019

Review: The Planetary Omnibus by Warren Ellis

Publication date: January 28th 2014
Publisher: DC Comics
Pages: 864

Planetary has been hailed as a timeless story that turned modern superhero conventions on their heads.Written by Warren Ellis (Transmetropolitan) and with stunning art by John Cassaday (Astonishing X-Men), this critically acclaimed, landmark series took a look at the inter-dimensional peace-keeping force known as Planetary.
The trio on the ground includes Elijah Snow, a hundred-year-old man, Jakita Wagner, an extremely powerful woman, and The Drummer, a man with the ability to communicate with machines. Tasked with tracking down evidence of super-human activity, these mystery archaeologists uncover unknown paranormal secrets and histories, such as a World War II supercomputer that can access other universes, a ghostly spirit of vengeance, and a lost island of dying monsters.

Oh Warren Ellis how good you are at wrecking me with your stories. I was first introduced to Ellis' work in "Transmetropolitan" (if you've not yet discovered this series of comics, do yourself a favour and get on that asap) and was curious to work my way through his other work. The Planetary Omnibus not only collects all of the Planetary comics in one place, but adds in three standalone stories, a whole host of artwork, and the original writing Ellis did when conceiving of the first comic to be sent to John Cassaday for artwork.

It's a hefty tome, but one that is well worth investing the time (and wrist strength) into reading. There are some wonderful character appearances - the different iterations of Batman was definitely a favourite, along with a sneaky sort of cameo from Spider Jerusalem - protagonist from Transmet.

I didn't find that it hit me with the same emotional impact as Transmetropolitan, but it was still an excellent story with some amazing characters. I was a little bit gutted to realise I'd run out of comics and had only special extras left to read...

It's a dark story, one that showcases Ellis's signature snark filled humour along with his sucker punches of emotion. One minute you'll be laughing, the next breathless from the impact of a well placed emotional blow. 

It's beautiful, extraordinary in its scope and concept, and a wonderful collection to read. If you've never really gotten on to the comics train, Ellis is a great place to start. His work is a brilliantly crafted pantheon of stories and characters that I love to come back to again and again, now I'm on to find out more about The Authority, who crop up in one of the cross over mini arcs...

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