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

One year after the final confrontation between Elijah Snow and Randall Dowling, and the world is a very different place indeed.  All the technological marvels and scientific secrets that Dowling had spent his life hoarding are now being developed by the Planetary Organization into practical applications that are being used to radically improve the quality of life the world over.  Snow has won an astounding victory and fulfilled his mandate of protecting the 20th Century, but you wouldn’t know it from the look on his face.  He is visibly irritated and upset.

Despite all he has achieved, there is still one loss that Snow cannot bear to suffer, and it is that of his friend and colleague Ambrose Chase, who was thought to have been killed during a previous mission even though his body was never recovered.  Because of this, Snow believes there is a chance Ambrose might still be alive, and he will stop at nothing to save his life.

After years of delays, the much belabored last issue of Ellis and Cassady’s phenomenal story ends in the only way it possibly can, with the century’s greatest detective solving the one mystery that has constantly eluded him.  A vast majority of the plot involves Snow’s quest to discover once and for all what happened to Chase; more to the point, it involves the Drummer talking about what he, Snow, and Jakita are going to do in order to discover what happened to Chase.  The majority of Ellis’s script is spent with the main characters talking about what to do, and talking about the theoretical science (at length) needed to get it done, and the consequences of their actions. But when the actual moment where they finally do something seems abrupt and rushed by comparison.

Not only that, but their actions never quite come off as being as big a threat as Drummer implied they would be.  Ellis does a solid job of developing this level of tension and severity as Drummer warns Snow that what they’re about to attempt may very well destroy the universe. But when that threat never came around I had felt like I’d been misled into worrying more than I needed to.  I would have preferred to see Ellis focus far less on the hard science and techno-talk surrounding Snow’s rescue mission and pay more attention to the reasons why Elijah is so utterly determined to try and save Ambrose against all odds.  I think with the focus more on the character, this issue would have made for a more dramatic and engaging story.

I have nothing but praise and accolades for Cassady and Martin, who have both been working on this book for so long that they are an intuitive and dynamic team.  Even as they worked on such a comparitivly quiet issue as this, they found ways to make the story come to life.  For the finest understanding of the artistry these two have brought to Planetary, look no further than the beautiful gatefold cover gracing this issue.

Reading this issue has been a bittersweet experience.  I’m so happy I got to enjoy one more Planetary story, but I can’t help but feel disappointed the story is now over.  To Ellis, Cassady, and Martin I can only say “thank you” for reigniting my love of comics and giving all of us such fantastic stories.  Well done.

Grade:  B+

-Tony Rakittke