Home > Wildstorm > Planetary #19

Planetary #19

March 30, 2004

Quick Rating: Fair
Title: Mystery in Space

An anomaly in outer space sends Planetary on a quest for answers.

Writer: Warren Ellis
Art: John Cassaday
Colors: Laura Martin
Letters: Richard Starkings
Editor: Scott Dunbier
Cover Art: John Cassaday
Publisher: DC Comics/Wildstorm

While I admittedly found last issue to be a rather enjoyable done-in-one science fiction yarn, this issue was far less accessible and I found myself wishing for a scorecard so I knew who was who. Several of the elements I liked are still here – a cool science fiction mystery that needs investigating – but this issue is much more dependent on a knowledge of who the characters are and what the overall arc of the series is, and I came unequipped for either of those, so I was fairly lost. What I can tell you is this – satellites pick up an unusual object in a far distant orbit of the sun, and Planetary quickly assembles a very unusual crew to pilot a very unusual craft and investigate the situation. What they find when they get there is the strangest thing yet.

While I still don’t count myself among Warren Ellis’ die-hard fans, I must say that if I ever got a chance to read a pure sci-fi tale by him from start to finish I think I would enjoy it. He’s got everything he needs to tell a good cosmic tale, and those elements work well. It’s only the fact that I don’t know exactly who anyone is and what’s going on that keeps this book from being rated higher.

John Cassaday’s artwork is a major point in this title’s favor, however. Although I knew him best from the more down-to-earth Captain America he did for the Marvel Knights line, in this issue he shows great skill at drawing far-flung outer space scenes and expanses of what look like ancient ruins. He delivers those “wow” visual moments that a comic book like this needs, including a beautiful double-page spread that I can’t describe for fear of spoiling anything, but trust me, you’ll know it when you see it.

Give this issue an extra point if you’ve been reading all along and know what’s going on, because that was really the biggest strike I could find against this issue.

Rating: 6/10

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