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Planetary Vol. 4: Spacetime Archaeology (Planetary (DC Comics)) Hardcover – March 9, 2010


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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 10 Up–After six years, the final volume of this critically acclaimed homage to pulp heroes and superhero comics is finally available. Ellis does not disappoint, wrapping up the epic series as dramatically as one would expect. Planetary is an archaeological organization dedicated to uncovering the hidden history of the 20th century–a history of heroes, monsters, and magic largely unknown to the general public–in order to benefit humanity. A group of superpowered scientists, known as "the four," are also in the process of gathering similar information, but for less-noble purposes. Elijah Snow, Jakita Wagner, and The Drummer–representing Planetary as field operatives–need to find the four and stop them before they become too powerful. The plot concludes with a face-off between Snow and Randall Dowling, the four's mastermind. Engaging as the story itself may be, Planetary's brilliance lies more in the rich history of comics and comic lore that Ellis draws from and cleverly weaves into the narrative from beginning to end. This book stands shoulder to shoulder with such great works as Neil Gaiman's "Sandman" and Alan Moore's "Swamp Thing" (Vertigo).Jason M. Poole, Webster Public Library, NY
© Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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Product Details

  • Series: Planetary (DC Comics) (Book 4)
  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: WildStorm (March 9, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1401209963
  • ISBN-13: 978-1401209964
  • Product Dimensions: 10.3 x 6.9 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #690,568 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Warren Ellis is the award-winning writer of graphic novels like TRANSMETROPOLITAN, FELL, MINISTRY OF SPACE and PLANETARY, and the author of the NYT-bestselling GUN MACHINE (being adapted for TV by Microsoft Xbox) and the "underground classic" novel CROOKED LITTLE VEIN. The movie RED is based on his graphic novel of the same name, its sequel having been released in summer 2013. His GRAVEL books are in development for film at Legendary Pictures. IRON MAN 3 is based on his Marvel Comics graphic novel IRON MAN: EXTREMIS. He's also written extensively for VICE, WIRED UK and Reuters on technological and cultural matters. Warren Ellis is currently working on a non-fiction book about the future of the city for Farrar Giroux Straus.

His newest publication is the digital short-story single DEAD PIG COLLECTOR, from FSG Originals. His next book will be the novella NORMAL, also from FSG.

A documentary about his work, CAPTURED GHOSTS, was released in 2012.

Recognitions include the NUIG Literary and Debating Society's President's Medal for service to freedom of speech, the EAGLE AWARDS Roll Of Honour for lifetime achievement in the field of comics & graphic novels, the Grand Prix de l'Imaginaire 2010, the Sidewise Award for Alternate History and the International Horror Guild Award for illustrated narrative.

Warren Ellis lives outside London, on the south-east coast of England, in case he needs to make a quick getaway.

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
5 star
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4 star
22%
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See all 27 customer reviews
One of the best supehero series I have ever read.
Yagoelmoreno
If you ever wondered what the world would be like if superheroes actually existed, Planetary has your answer.
matt stutzman
If you aren't familiar with Cassaday's work, it is pretty and clear and adds to the story.
O Mr. Geppetto

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Sean Curley on March 11, 2010
Format: Hardcover
At long last, the final volume of Warren Ellis and John Cassaday's "Planetary" has arrived in stores. Collecting the final issues of the series, #19-27, the stories here were published over a span of several years, with the final #27 coming out years after the previous issue. "Planetary" began in 1999, when Ellis was heavily involved in the original Wildstorm imprint, but has since detached (Wildstorm has gone through so many changes since then that it's hard to recognize it as the same place it was when Ellis was still writing within that continuity). Some spoilers follow.

"Planetary" started out as an issue-by-issue examination of different genres of fiction in the 20th century, and gradually transitioned into the story of the struggle between the Planetary investigative organization and the malevolent Four, Ellis' paper-thinly-veiled take on Marvel Comics' Fantastic Four, here positioned as the secret masters of the world, hoarding scientific knowledge for themselves. The previous volume ended with the capture of the pseudo-Human Torch, William Leather. Here, Elijah Snow and his team proceed to deal with the others: Randall Dowling (Reed Richards), Kim Suskind (Susan Richards), and Jacob Greene (Ben Grimm; the name is a tip to Jacob Kurtzberg, aka Jack Kirby). The original genre deconstruction largely falls by the wayside here, apart from an issue offering a spin on the Lone Ranger.

Characterization has always been secondary in "Planetary", though the various leads are all written with Ellis' trademark amusing style, an often odd mix of cynicism and heart-on-the-sleeve idealism.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on April 3, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is the hardcover collection of the last several Planetary comics. First, if you are familiar with Planetary, then you know how wonderful this alternate earth comic is. Warren Ellis is a master storyteller and Cassaday's just shines on the extra thick stock pages. The format truly honors the loving work that has been put into this story.

Now for those who know the story, this is simply a collection of the comics. There isn't new material nor is there any real additional work. However, the workmanship of the hardcover is wonderful. The binding is strong, the pages are thick and feel good in the hands. Most of all, the artwork just pops off the page. This is a lovely end cap to the series.

If you've never read planetary, getting the 4 volume story is very much worthwhile. If you've read Planetary but would like something more solid and beautiful, you should also pick up this book. Really its truly an outstanding collectible.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By S. Pagliaroni on April 7, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I fondly remember borrowing the first 3 trades of this fantastic series a few years ago from a friend, and absolutely loving it. When I saw the fourth recently hit the shelves, I wondered about going back through the series again. I was going to wait for this volume to come in softcover, but decided that I could not wait, as it may not even happen this year.

It was worth the purchase. Despite being only 27 issues long, much like 'Watchmen', it feels longer than that. Maybe it is John Cassaday's luscious artwork which almost compels you to stop and take a third or fourth look. It could be Warren Ellis' pacing and plot, which make the books feel like a high quality TV drama; there are great one-off issues, which are well encapsulated stories, but there's also a great, over-arcing plot line which comes to a strong resolution.

Much like a good BBC show, it is succinct and sweet, leaving the reader with just enough to enjoy the time they spent in Elijah Snow's world.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Sam Quixote TOP 1000 REVIEWER on February 17, 2012
Format: Paperback
SPOILERS

I've never read a series from start to finish and left wondering what the hell it was all supposed to be about. In this final book (four volumes, who knew?) the evil Fantastic Four are diminished in number and then taken out by Planetary, while we discover their motives - something I'm still not clear about. They sold out the planet to a group of paranoid eternal post-humans or something? But if this Earth is one of so many and doesn't mean anything, then why does it mean something to these post-humans?

Their friend Ambrose who was killed in a previous volume is brought back in a mind-bending and utterly confusing epilogue - he was trapped in a time bubble of his own creation that made him invisible to time so they built a time machine to bring him back...?
Warren Ellis also riffs on the Lone Ranger and Green Hornet characters (called something else of course) and we learn more about the evil Fantastic Four (also called something else) as well as a giant human god or something. Oh yeah and space angels and a chapter that will make you feel like you're on psychedelics.

It might be because I'm not a huge sci-fi fan, but Ellis takes the reader on such a bizarre trip through time and space with these characters that even at the end I'm still scratching my head as to what it was all about. I thought the way Planetary finally defeated evil Mr Fantastic and Sue Storm was a bit uninspired (and again totally perplexing) but despite looking back on the stories and realising that while I was reading them I felt that I understood them but really didn't, I still really enjoyed the journey.

Ellis and artist John Cassaday produce such a massive canvas and convey a story of such an epic scope that it's inspiring and awesome to behold.
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