By Warren Ellis (writer), John Cassady (artist), Laura Depuy (colorist)

Planetary is the greatest comic book you’re not reading.  I can say that with confidence because the last issue came out almost three years ago, and the final issue still has yet to be released.  Until that fateful day arrives though, DC is using the recent release of the Watchmen movie to launch an interesting marketing campaign called “After Watchmen…What’s Next?” in which they are reprinting a number of comics they think will appeal to fans of the movie. Planetary was fortunate enough to be one of the comics chosen for this campaign, and I couldn’t be happier.  Despite its many setbacks and delays over the last ten years, Planetary has earned its rightful place as one of the finest examples of comic literature ever, and for the low price of one dollar, you can experience a little bit of the magic, mystery, and adventure that have been the hallmarks of this amazing title.

At its heart, Planetary is a story about stories.  It’s about cutting open the superhero genre with a scalpel, finding out where it came from, and discovering what made its parent genres so great and beloved in the first place.  But in addition to being an intelligent piece of metafiction, it’s also a damn fine story.  Planetary is the tale of a wealthy organization of mystery archaeologists led by Elijah Snow, a wretched old bastard who was born on January 1, 1900 and controls cold-temperature powers.  He is aided in his research into the unknown by Jakita Wagner, a young woman with superhuman speed and strength and a penchant for punching things in the head, and The Drummer, a socially inept savant who speaks to machines but is awkward around people.

In this issue, the team goes on their first mission together, where they are dispatched to the Adirondack Mountains to investigate a complex of hidden, man-made caves that may have been the last destination of Doc Brass, a pulp-era science adventurer who disappeared in 1945.  The team recovers Brass, but not before he tells them why he has exiled himself in the mountains, and what he has been protecting our universe from for the last fifty-four years.

Planetary is in many ways, a love letter to the genre we all hold so dear.  It reminds us of where the superhero came from, and where the superhero is headed.  It is a celebration of everything that is great and exciting about storytelling, and needs to be read by all comic books fans at least once.  If this is indeed “a strange world” and Jakita was right in saying that we need to keep it that way, then please do your part and experience Planetary.  I promise you won’t be disappointed.

Grade:  A

Tony Rakittke