I’m back from the comic shop this week and it was a big haul. I got seven new comics, a trade paperback collection, plus two hard cover collections:

  • G-Man: Cape Crisis – 2-4
  • Savage Dragon – 155
  • North 40 – 6
  • Glamourpuss – 10
  • GrimJack: The Manx Cat – 5
  • Elextropolis TPB
  • Marvel Masterworks: Deathlok
  • Strange Suspence: The Steve Ditko Archives Vol. 1
  • And now for a review of something I’ve read recently.

  • “Planetary” Numbers 1-27 plus two specials by Warren Ellis and John Cassaday
  • X-Files syndrome. That’s what I call something that ends in such a bad way that you forget how good it once was. I’ve been reading “Planetary” since issue one and I really enjoyed it back then but have recently thought of it as suffering from X-Files Syndrome. Since the last issue of the series is finally out I figured I would give the whole series a read to see how it stands up.

    I’m happy to report that it stands up very well. To summarize for those who don’t know, “Planetary” is the story of a group of “Archeologists of the Unknown”. The three main characters are all super-powered, have a vast organization behind them, and go out to figure out the secret history of our planet.

    It’s well done fun stuff that tries to link together popular fiction characters from the last hundred years or so. There are ghost stories, giant monster stories, crime stories, plus thinly veiled versions of Sherlock Holmes, Doc Savage, The Shadow, Tarzan, Dracula, and many others popping up now and again.

    Also the story involves Planetary’s struggle against “The Four”. A thinly veiled version of the Fantastic Four who are evil and have been behind a lot of atrocities and crimes against humanity for forty years. They are massively powerful and everyone if the super secret world of Planetary is afraid of them. With good reason.

    This is A list material. Good writing, good plots, good storytelling, good artwork, and good all around. So why did I think it suffered from X-Files Syndrome? One word. Late.

    It took ten years to get out twenty seven issues. To get from issue twenty two to issue twenty seven took from March 2005 until October 2009. No story, no matter how good, can sustain any kind of quality with that schedule if you read them as they come out. The individual issues are paced pretty quickly and don’t take long to read so reading one every few months or years is very unsatisfying. I found it hard to follow the story that way.

    My friend John had the perfect description of what that type of schedule leads to. He asked me if I had read the last issue yet (since it just came out) and I said no. He then told me his critique of it which was, “I read it but I just couldn’t seem to care”. That totally summed up my feeling about “Planetary” the last few years. How can you care about a story when it is a year between issues? I’ll accept that from my small press comics where everyone involved is struggling to make a go of things but this from some of comic’s heavy hitters.

    Anyway, I’m glad I read them all together because “Planetary” really is good. Sure I thought the resolution to the plot point with “The Four” was as dumb as dirt and the final issue had annoying time travel stuff in it but neither quibble was enough to ruin the overall story for me.

    So if you’ve never read “Planetary” or have had it ruined for you by the infrequent schedule dig out your issues or wait for the new Absolute Editions and give it a read. It really is good from start to finish.