Elijah Snow: It's a strange world.
Jakita Wagner: Let's keep it that way.
Planetary is a comic book series created by Warren Ellis and John Cassaday. Warren Ellis is the writer of the series, and John Cassaday is the artist. The series originally began in 1998 and is intended to be a 24 issue series. It is published by Wildstorm, a subsidiary of DC Comics.
Planetary follows a group of "archaeologists," archaeologists in the sense that they are trying to dig up the hidden history of the world. Throughout the ages, many secret projects, superbeings, and parallel worlds have exsisted. However, they have been carefully swept under the rug by certain organizations and governments. Planetary's job is to uncover these secrets. A large group funded by a mysterious Fourth Man, they have a main field group of three people.
In the beginning of the series, Planetary comes to Elijah Snow, a man with tempature control abilities, in order to recruit him as the new third man. He's offered a sweet deal of a million dollars a year for the rest of his life and his records wiped. Considering that he's been living in the desert for the past couple of years, coming to the same diner with the same dog piss coffee, he agrees. He's introduced to the team, his recruiter, Jakita Wagner, a woman with superhuman prowess, and The Drummer, a man with the ability to tap into information.
Snow slowly learns of the multiple offices in different countries, and some of Planetary's secrets. However, when he encounters an enemy of Planetary, the man shows knowledge of Snow. Snow is confused by the man's past experiences with him, and he tries to figure out his amnesia and his past relations with Planetary.
Planetary is not your common superhero comic book. It takes a much more conspirational mood, and delves into the history of superbeings. However, superbeings don't stop with just comics. The superhero genre has been pulling from old mythologies, Victorian literature, science fiction, pulps, cinema, and much more for decades! Warren Ellis and John Cassaday make this a strong point for their comic book. They explore the origins and evolutions of the comic book due to other mediums, and also make it into an interesting story.
Ellis and Cassaday also use some interesting techniques. The source of the story has a great amount of impact on how the cover will look, and how the frames will be layed out inside the issue. For example, in the third issue, Dead Gunfighters, the story is based in Hong Kong. The main plot is that there is a dead cop who was betrayed by his partner, that has come back as a ghost. Now taking that storyline, the cover has the ghost cop on the cover shooting towards the reader in a letterbox. Also, anytime that the ghost cop appears in the issue, the frames start changing to a letterbox shape. When the trio of Planetary are the active characters, the comic keeps a normal frame layout. This is a main part of the integrity of Planetary. The cover's style can also change from looking like an old magazine to an Australian art piece. This is unusual as well, due to the fact that most comics rely on readers easily recognizing the covers on the racks and buying them. Ellis organized all of these ideas before he even wrote the comic, including that he wanted each issue to be like a "three-minute pop single." He wanted each issue to be easily readable by itself, that each issue should be able to stand by itself.
Volumes - Issues - Characters/Concepts
The Good Doctor
it's a strange world
Planetary/Authority: Ruling the World
The Fourth Man?
Planetary/JLA: Terra Occulta
Planetary/Batman: Night on Earth
Planetary Comic Appreciation Page
The Planetary Timeline
Planetary - Warren Ellis and John Cassaday