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Planetary VOL 02: The Fourth Man (Planetary (Windstorm)) Paperback – December 1, 2001

4.5 out of 5 stars 31 customer reviews
Book 2 of 4 in the Planetary Series

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Warren Ellis improves on his already outstanding stories and characters in the second collection of Planetary: The Fourth Man. While scraping their way through their investigations, the three archaeologists of mystery, enigmatic themselves, deal with their own past and learn more about the creepy metahumans lurking behind practically every oddity on the planet. Ellis seems to take pleasure in turning superheroic icons inside out. Fans will find references and deconstructions from the Golden Age to the post-postmodern comics world. John Cassaday's penciling adapts itself well to the stories, giving intimate barroom chats and epic battles against giant ants equal credibility. While reading Planetary, one gets the sense that superhero comics really do have somewhere to go after being so thoroughly demolished in the '80s and '90s--and that we'd do well to keep reading. --Rob Lightner --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

Warren Ellis is one of the most prolific, read, and admired graphic novelists in the world and the creator of Transmetropolitan and The Authority. He lives in southern England with his partner, Niki, and their daughter, Lilith. He never sleeps.

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Product Details

  • Series: Planetary (Windstorm) (Book 2)
  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: WildStorm (December 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1563897644
  • ISBN-13: 978-1563897641
  • Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 0.2 x 10.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #399,603 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I have often been asked by many of my friends about why a man of my age would even bother to spend time reading a comic book. Usually, my response is to lend them a copy of something by Warren Ellis.
In my opinion, this book and the one that precedes it are great examples of the very best that western adventure comics have to offer. Ellis skilfully constructs a hidden history and slowly draws the reader along, often leaving us gasping for more. He satisfies the comic lover with his exploration of some of the genre stereotypes, while, At the same time, giving us a great thriller/mystery that the not-so-comic-versed can also enjoy.
All this and great art too. Cassaday really adds immeasurably to the words on the page.
This is a strong piece of work that you should really look into.
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Format: Paperback
I was somewhat disappointed with the previous volume of Planetary. I felt that Ellis just kind of dropped us into the action without much set up, especially in character development. The Fourth Man really improves upon the earlier premise. Ellis starts to unwind a much larger plot, while Cassaday's skills mature into true excellence.
Some of the essentially single issue tales presented here are stronger than others, but each one, while still a distinctly separate story, winds in threads of intriguing future developments. Ellis also effortlessly manipulates time, seamlessly showing us past events while leading up to future revelations. Elijah Snow is a captivating character, deeply enigmatic, charasmatic, yet conflcted. His search for his missing blocks of memory is extremely well handled and really has me hooked and looking forward to the next volume of the TPB series.
Cassaday's art, and the rich colors supporting it, is magnificent throughout. His detailed, stylish illustration pairs very nicely with the vibrant, stylish colors. He is one of the very best artists in comics, and this is a perfect example of his best work.
Ultimately, Planetary succeeds in updating traditional Science Fiction themes and melding it with Superheros. The result is a fresh exciting look and feel for modern comics. Because of the way the bigger story develops, you don't necessarily have to start with the prior TPB volume. It's certainly worth your while, but if you can only get one of the two volumes right now, get this one. After reading it, you can get the first volume, while you anxiously await the arrival of future Planetary releases. This is some of Ellis' and Cassaday's best work, and great stuff over all from one of the most talented teams in the business.
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Format: Hardcover
About the story: Elijah Snow, a man with a very mysterious past, previously joined Jakita Wagner and a man only known as 'The Drummer' to be in the three-person formation that is the field-team of the 'supernatural archaeology-agency' called 'Planetary'. An agency hidden to the outside world which researches and maps the secret history of the world, the history that was kept secret to the public eye. All the expenses they make while doing so are being paid for by a person which is only known as 'The Fourth man'. Nobody knows who he/she is or what he/she looks like. In this book some mysteries that were brought up in the previous volume get worked out. For example, we get to learn of the man who was the third man in the agency before Elijah, we learn a lot more about Elijahs past, and most important, we find out who 'The Fourth Man' is. Next to that more is revealed about "The Four", we get to learn members of the agency in other parts of the world (in a VERY good issue, especially for people who like 'Hellblazer') and we get a clue of how exactly the power-balance lays. Off course next to solving existing mysteries the book also throws up some new questions for us to break our heads on.
This book (which collects #7-12) is a very worthy successor of "All over the World" although I enjoyed the first book just a tad more. The issues in here are for a big part a mighty fast read and unlike book 1 there are some mysteries in here which are explained just a little too over-fantastic. Then again, the twining of different parts of the storyline is better here than it was before and the final issue in this TPB makes the most impact of all the issues in the series so far. The art is by the same artist and as good as in the previous volume.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Planetary was twice nominated for Eisner awards best continuing series in 2000 and 2002 but never won. Probably a good thing because if Planetary was the best series for any given year that would be a pretty weak year. Let me go through my issues with the story.

Characterization - Elijah Snow is the main character but he’s an unlikable grump. I think Ellis intended him to be a hard edge cynic that we can root for but instead he’s just a jerk. The Drummer is a smart ass but of the main three he’s the one I like the most and yet he’s continually verbally attacked by Snow and physically threatened. Jakita Wagner also seems to take pleasure in tormenting The Drummer.

Storytelling - It feels as if Ellis studied the writing of Grant Morrison and I mean the BAD Morrison not the Morrison who wrote All-Star Superman and Batman and Robin. I have no idea what’s going on as if the book left out half the pages. Things just happen randomly with seemingly no rhyme of reason. In the first story the three main characters are on a street corner looking for the spot where some guy named Jack Carter died. They find an after image of his corpse, or something, and Snow shouts, “the sneaky bastard faked his own death” Huh? Where did he come up with THAT? Then a over muscled superhero jumps from out of no where screaming about Hitler’s sex midgets and suddenly gets a shotgun blast through his belly from, I guess, Jack Carter who now looks like Grant Morrison himself with a bald head and trenchcoat. And this was only a few pages from the first issue. The rest of the issue didn’t make much more sense than that sequence.

Plot - There is no flow to the story. For a story about investigating the secret history of the 20th Century there is no investigation.
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