on April 15, 2004
Crossing Worlds collects three previous Planetary stories, all of them crossovers: Planetary/Authority in which both teams encounter the same evil Lovecraftian threat, then independently repel an invasion from the Bleed; Planetary/JLA where the heroless DC universe is ruled by the very Four-like Planetary corporation and it's up to Clark Kent, Diana Prince and Bruce Wayne to find out why; and lastly Planetary/Batman where the field team meet the Batman during an encounter with the son of Science City Zero survivor in Gotham City.
Planetary/JLA is the only one (seemingly) out of continuity with the series for those that care about that sort of thing. All three are good stories with great art. My only complaint is that each are very brief and could have benefited a great deal from an extra ten or so pages to let the story unfold.
on December 29, 2015
I loved seeing alternate worlds where DCU and the world of Planetary cross over. This was a fun book, but is not essential to the main plot of Planetary. I would say if you can't find this cheaply, then don't bother. I think at the time of this writing it's out of print, so don't kill yourself trying to get a copy. Fun if you come across, unnecessary if you don't.
on April 18, 2015
Planetary, as a series in itself, was brilliant even as it was erratic. However, these stories, crossing over with mainstream DC, don't work that well. A few are entertaining, but some are weak and in one case, one seems to be missing an entire page. Some may love it, I don't.
on August 21, 2015
Planetary is probably my favorite comic book/graphic novel. I had read the reviews about this being ok and uneven, but I still had to pick it up just to read more Jakita, Drummer, and Snow stories. It is OK. The first story was my least favorite - and the one I was most confused about. How can you mess up Lovecraft? Read and find out.
The other two stories were fine. It was nice seeing Batman in two stories. I realize each of the three was a standalone, but they all felt disjointed and rushed. Someone said, "Let's put Planetary and Justice League together," and they shoehorned them into a story.
If you love Planetary - read it once - if not you can skip it.
on February 2, 2006
PLANETARY, by Warren Ellis and John Cassaday, has been one of the most fascinating comic book series I've ever seen/read/enjoyed. It concerns the adventures of a group of mystery archeologists who go round the world uncovering the hidden bits that keep our world a strange place to be in, the way it SHOULD be. These bits take on the shapes of major comics culture touchstones embedded in the conciousness of die-hard fans (Monster Island, Superheroes, Sherlock Holmes, Doc Savage) but with that arcane twist that has made Ellis a great postmodern comics writer (anothe great title is GLOBAL FREQUENCY--ever wonder what the $6 Million Dollar Man would REALLY be like? Take a look, if you dare.)
The team, made up of: Elijah Snow, born at the turn of the 20th century, has the power to generate cold, cranky as all get-out and the founder of the Planetary Agency; Jakita Wagner, an orphan who hates to be bored and is as powerful as she is beautiful; and the Drummer, who can communicate with any and all mechanical devices with the help of his drumsticks, all roam the world, looking for the aforementioned "artifacts", but also trying to stop those that would with hold those wonders from the rest of us (ever wonder what the Fantastic Four would really be like--once again, look, if you dare).
CROSSING WORLDS takes the reader on a wild ride through adjacent realities where the Planetary team encounter--in order--The Authority (one of PLANETARY's sister team magazines in the WILDSTORM line), a version of the JUSTICE LEAGUE (of DC COMICS fame) and, last but not least, BATMAN (no other intro needed).
Ellis handles the writing chores, while Phil Jimenez (THE INVISIBLES, OTHERWORLD, INFINITE CRISIS) does the artwork on the Authority tale, Jerry Ordway(ALL-STAR SQUADRON, POWER OF SHAZAM) delineates the JLA tale and JOHN CASSADAY (CAPTAIN AMERICA, ASTONISHING X-MEN) brings his unique vision to BATMAN: NIGHT ON EARTH--the best of the three. The Authority tale gives a glimpse of the premiere team of the WILDSTORM universe and the JLA spin unfortunately falls short of what could have been a suspensful tale of what could happen if the Planetary team followed the path of the Four, trying to keep Humanity dull and boring.
BATMAN: NIGHT ON EARTH follows Elijah, Jakita and the Drummer to Gotham City where a young man is committing impossible murders only to meet multiple iterations of the Dark Knight, with Cassaday bouncing through various representations of the character throughout his long history. A sight to behold and a great jumping on point for new readers.
Other Planetary collections; AROUND THE WORLD; THE FOURTH MAN and LEAVING THE 20TH CENTURY gather the hard-to get early issues of this marvelous series.
It's a strange world.
Let's keep it that way.
on January 12, 2013
The stories in here were very uneven, and it was questionable if they even fit into the Planetary storyline or not. Having said that, even the ones of less than great quality were still good and enjoyable. I wish they'd made it plane if the stories were canon or not, but that's a minor complaint at best. This is a good read for fans of Planetary, Batman,and/or Alternate Superhero History.
on September 7, 2005
Planetary: Crossing Worlds is a woefully inconsistent collection of stories that feature crossovers with The Authority, JLA and Batman. There are three self contained stories presented here, and all fall short of anything we have seen in the ongoing Planetary series which is arguably the best work by writer Warren Ellis to date. In his regular series, Ellis manages to stimulate our imagination with over-the-top but fully realised ideas that are an exhilarating blend of pseudo-science and pulpy, nostalgic treasures of days gone by. In contrast, Planetary:Crossing Worlds feels incomplete. It lacks the cleverness and spectacle that has pushed this title's namesake into comic book greatness. Little if anything is added by way of character development and the disjointed story telling will put off all but the most hard core Ellis fans.
In the first story (Planetary/Authority: Ruling the World) Phil Jimenez lends his detailed pencils to what should have been a classic encounter between Ellis's two best creations. Instead we are presented with an `alien fish' invasion story that fails to rise above mediocre. If you were anticipating interaction and dialogue between the two teams you will be sorely disappointed. There is a brief flashback `encounter' from 1939 between Elijah Snow and Jenny Sparks but little else is on offer by way of a `crossover.'
The second story (Planetary/JLA: Terra Occulta) is even less satisfying and ends up a confusing mess. Featuring serviceable if unspectacular artwork by Jerry Ordway this story is set in an alternate Earth where an evil Planetary rule the world and the only ones that can stop them are Diana, Bruce and Clark. Little respect is shown for any of the characters here and the reader is given little reason to care for where this story takes us.
The final tale is able to partly redeem this collection thanks mostly to the stunning pencils of John Cassaday. Planetary/Batman: Night on Earth takes Planetary to alternate Gotham realities where they meet numerous incarnations of the Bat. Both amusing and rewarding for those familiar with Batman over the past 20 or so years, we are finally treated to some great action and interplay expected of a crossover book. However as much fun as Ellis and Cassaday must have had putting this together, there is a sense of novelty here and nothing substantial to pick up on a second reading.
All in all, Planetary: Crossing Worlds offers little to regular and casual comic book fans and is hard to recommend. The crossovers feel forced and Ellis fails to hit his stride. Perhaps if given more space to flesh out each story there could have been a better presentation, but it is doubtful there will be second chances for future comic books featuring these characters.
(Also of note: this collection has 2 pages of miscellaneous sketches for Planetary/JLA but does not present the original comic book covers anywhere)
- The Drummer, watching Batman hurtling towards him and Elijah Snow: "There's some kind of transvest!te ho0ker running down the alleyway at us."
If you already know who and what Planetary is, skip this paragraph. For those scratching their heads, Planetary is a covert global entity, with offices located around the planet, dedicated to unearthing the world's secret history. Its primary investigative branch consists of three superhumans: the superstrong, super-resilient, suffers-no-fool-gladly Jakita Wagner; the century-old, temperature-manipulating, sort of elitist, Elijah North; and the perhaps insane master of machinery, the Drummer.
PLANETARY: CROSSING WORLDS collects three Planetary one-shot stories stemming from the more-often-than-not innovative mind of Warren Ellis, these stories showcasing these "Archaeologists of the Impossible" in various team-ups, some clunkier than others. Phil Jimenez illustrates "Ruling the World." Jerry Ordway draws "Terra Occulta." John Cassaday provides the visuals for "Night on Earth." Jimenez and Ordway's efforts are workmanlike. Cassaday's stuff is stellar.
"Ruling the World" kicks off this trade, and it may leave you with tangled reactions. The Authority, as you know, is all about making big, splashy statements. The Planetary slinks in the shadows. So, naturally, the two teams' warring philosophies mandate the inevitable crossover story. Others may think this frustrating or a cop out, but I think it's actually pretty interesting that, even though the Authority and Planetary become peripherally aware of each other (with Planetary being more cognizant), the two parties never do make contact with each other. (Elijah and Jenny Sparks' eyebrow-raising encounter in 1939 doesn't count, does it?) The unifying element is a cache of alien eggs which, when activated by human contact, produces horrors on a Lovecraftian scale. The Authority, them metahuman busibodies, step in in grand fashion to save humanity. The Planetary trio, meanwhile, harbor doubts regarding the Authority's totalitarian approach and opt to sneak onboard the Bleedship that serves as the Authority's headquarters in hopes of stealing invaluable datafiles. Both teams separately spring into action. The world somehow doesn't end. It's an okay read, if you like narratives that end with a whimper.
"Terra Occulta" is unsatisfying on several levels. The primary nitpick is that this is not the Planetary that we know and love. In some alternate universe, a Planetary gone all sinister has taken over the world. It's left to three individuals - Bruce Wayne, Diana Prince, and Clark Kent - to work in concert to end the Planetary's reign of tyranny. The interesting thing about this story is that we get to see what's become of the potential members of the (non-existent) Justice League. For example, the panel featuring the Flash's gruesome fate is a bit disturbing. Maybe if this story had been longer, the writing would've allowed for more extensive characterization and more opportunity to go into further details. As it is, it all feels very busy and rushed. and what's up with the bald Elijah Snow? But I did like the death duel between Jakita and Diana. The bat costume that Bruce debuts sucks.
"Night on Earth," gorgeously illustrated by John Cassaday, is the primary reason to get this trade. In a Gotham City that had never seen a Batman, Planetary tracks down a serial killer who can alter reality. As the killer activates his powers - of which, it turns out, he has no control - Planetary is exposed to a series of Batman incarnations. Ellis does a fantastic job of paying homage to 70 years' worth of the Batman. You get a sense of how his physical appearance and personality have evolved down the decades. Miller's huge and intimidating Dark Knight is very recognizable, as is Adam West's officious and doughy interpretation. We also get a peek at the Neal Adams' version and the mostly forgotten Bob Kane rendition. People tend to forget that, when he started out, Batman sported a gun. I love that Jakita gets hot and bothered by the first Batman ("Tell me you're single.") but then is quickly turned off when Adam West pops up.
on July 15, 2010
Three brilliant novellas (as Warren Ellis himself would call them himself) featuring a team of super-powered self-called archeolgists of the hidden secret history of the 20th century. Creaed almost at the same time as The Authority, Planetary is the second of the books that closed a decade and a century of superhero comics. While The Authority propelled them into the future, launching them into the realm of widescreen movie-like action, Planetary is a summa of what has been and could have been, the genre's swan song and a love sing to it and its many facets and authors.
The three tales told here are not really mcuh more than a divrtissement, but if it truly is so, then we need more authors having this fun.
The opener is actually the lightest and easiest, bringing The Authority and Planetary together to fight a common, ancient menace from the Bleed (the connecting tissue in which the multiple universes "are", in a way). Fun fact: The two teams team-up without actually meeting and eventually shutting up the bad guys. Aside from the Lovecraft quotes (and the funny cameo of the writer himself), the book pits two different visions of superheroism against each other, wonderng wha would happen if almighty heroes who took it upon themselves to put things right ever lost their unflinching moral compass.
The second tale is what would have been an "elseworlds" tale in the Nineties: An alternative view of DC Comics' heroes. In this case, Batman, Wonder Woman and Superman nver were, because the Planetary foundation (their turn to go bad) turned from researchers to hoarders and control-freaks, killing all of the planet's heroes before they even started.
But Bruce Wayne is alive and kicking and putting his detective skills to work: he has aúncovered it all, found Krypton's only survivor and the last Amazon alive and brought them together to fight back finally.
The last novella is Ellis & series's artist John Cassaday at their absolute best.
Just like Grant Morrison ten years later, Ellis proves he understands the core concept of the Batman, what lies below the many iterations that many different artists and writers gave of him in his 70 years of history. Coming up with an intersting plot device (a kid able to teleport chunks of reality and connected information through multiple universes, made sick and a killer by his powers), Ellis uses it to explore the Batman mythos and Planetary looks almost like a witness to them. cassaday drwas the hell out of it, his art is so vital to this, so key to making the stroy work that noboy else could have done this book but him.
One last note about the artists of the first two novellas: While I am not Ohil jimenez's number one fan, he does a great job in the first tale. However, I was absolutely amazed by what Ordway made of Warren Ellis's script. It is my guess that Ellis retained complete control of the book'sstorytelling, challenging Ordway (a very classic American artist) to go to darker places than he usually does, freeing him so that he could unleash his usually restrained artistic talents (the guy is also a writer) He channels the best George Perez here, absolutely a wonderful surprise!
This collection is worth every penny and many, many readings.
on April 30, 2009
Here we have a trio of unrelated stories involving the Planetary team. While loosely tied to the series' main arc, the stories are free of continuity. This is Ellis on vacation...but apparently he got bored and decided to doodle a Planetary script on his napkin in a bar somewhere. And now here I am writing a review. These stories are slack but fun; Planetary in kickback mode.
The first story involves a run-in with the Authority. This story is all spectacle and bright lights, with a rather linear plot for Planetary, which is always twisty and underhanded. Pleasant, but a shiny diversion nonetheless; the only unexpected element is a "cameo" by H.P. Lovecraft. This is the least interesting story of the trio.
The second story is a through-the-looking-glass reversal of roles: what if Planetary were an evil, big brother overlord that controlled humanity? Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman cook up a scheme to infiltrate their headquarters for one big showdown. Not a bad effort. It poses the question of what would happen if the Justice League were to fight Planetary on their own terms (can Superman outmaneuver Chase's reality distortion field?). As always, Batman, the man with no powers other than being human, is a masterclass strategist.
The third story is my favorite. Though less dramatic than the previous story, it exploits a single, very clever premise: someone in Gotham City is phasing in and out of various realities, wreaking havoc on the environment; and as Planetary tries to seek out the culprit, various incarnations of Batman (who does not exist in the Gotham of this reality) phase in and out and becomes a nuisance to Jakita.
All in all, I'd say this is worth a purchase if you're already familiar with Planetary and its main arc. This is a solid way to kill time, because Planetary is immune to being boring. They are at least interesting, which is what these stories are: interesting and worth musing over. Otherwise, this collection does not outclass what is already out there; and so if you're new, best to start from the beginning.