The Planetary team (back to front): The Drummer, Jakita Wagner and Elijah Snow. Art by John Cassaday and Laura Martin.
Publication information
PublisherWildstorm (DC Comics)
Publication dateSeptember 1998 – October 2009
No. of issues27
Main character(s)Jakita Wagner
The Drummer
Elijah Snow
Creative team
Created byWarren Ellis
John Cassaday
Written byWarren Ellis
Artist(s)John Cassaday
Colorist(s)Laura Martin
Collected editions
All Over the World and Other StoriesISBN 1-56389-648-6

Planetary is an American comic book series created by writer Warren Ellis and artist John Cassaday, and published by the Wildstorm imprint of DC Comics. After an initial preview issue in September 1998, the series ran for 27 issues from April 1999 to October 2009.

Publication history

Planetary was previewed in issue #33 of Gen¹³ and issue #6 of C-23, both dated September 1998. The first issue of the series was cover-dated April 1999. Originally intended to be a 24-issue bi-monthly series, the series was on hold from 2001 to 2003 due to illness of writer Warren Ellis and other commitments by Cassaday. Laura Martin (also credited as Laura DePuy) colored almost every issue of the series. The series recommenced in 2004 and concluded with issue #27 in October 2009.

Ellis intended the focus of the book to be the superhero genre, rather than the superheroes themselves: "I wanted to do something that actually went deeper into the subgenre, exposed its roots and showed its branches"[1] and stated in his proposal for the comic series: "[...] What if you had a hundred years of superhero history just slowly leaking out into this young and modern superhero world of the Wildstorm Universe? What if you could take everything old and make it new again?"[2]

Rich Kreiner described John Cassaday's artwork in The Comics Journal as being "close to the gold standard for fabulous realism in mainstream comics".[3] Tom Underhill noted colorist Laura Martin's contribution as "every bit as compelling" as Cassaday's in his review for The Comics Journal.[4]

One of the main features of the series is the portrayal of alternate versions of many figures from popular culture, such as Godzilla, Tarzan, Sherlock Holmes,[5] and Doc Savage.[6] This extends to comic book characters from both DC Comics (e.g. Superman, Green Lantern, and Wonder Woman) and Marvel Comics (e.g. the Fantastic Four,[7] the Hulk, and Thor).

Ellis also introduced the concept of a multiverse to the series, drawing upon the mathematical concept known as the Monster group for inspiration.[8] The multiverse is described as "a theoretical snowflake existing in 196,833 dimensional space",[9] a reference to the visualization method used by some mathematicians when describing the Monster group.

Fictional group biography

Describing themselves as "Archaeologists of the Impossible", Planetary is an organization intent on discovering the world's secret history. Funded by the mysterious Fourth Man, the field team consists of three superhuman beings: Jakita Wagner (strong, fast and almost invulnerable); The Drummer (can detect and manipulate information streams, such as computer data links and radio waves); and new recruit Elijah Snow (can create intense cold and extract heat). Planetary member Ambrose Chase (can create a "selective physics-distortion field") was also a member of the field team until he was killed. It was later revealed that Ambrose Chase was still alive and had used his powers to manipulate time and suspend himself in a time distortion bubble where the effects of his mortal injuries proceeded at an incredibly slow pace. Elijah Snow and the rest of Planetary, using technology based on Randall Dowling's notes, were able to recover Ambrose Chase and save his life.

The field team travel the world investigating strange phenomena – including monsters, aliens and other superhumans, unusual relics and suppressed military secrets – for both the betterment of mankind and out of sheer curiosity.[10] The group is, first covertly and later more and more openly, opposed by a rival group of metahumans called the Four, based on Marvel's Fantastic Four (Dr. Randall Dowling, Kim Süskind, William Leather and Jacob Greene) who are using the secrets of the world for personal gain.


Main article: List of Planetary characters

Collected editions

Artist John Cassaday signing copies of the hardcover collection during an appearance at Midtown Comics.

The series, and spin-offs, have been collected into a number of volumes:



  1. ^ Christopher Butcher (2000-10-31). "PROFILE: Warren Ellis Interview (part one)". Archived from the original on 2008-07-24. Retrieved 2006-11-10.
  2. ^ Ellis, Warren (November 1997). "Planetary Proposal". Archived from the original on 2000-07-11. Retrieved 2006-11-10.
  3. ^ Kreiner, Rich (February 2004). "Firing Line:Planetary/Batman". The Comics Journal. 1 (#258): 50–51. ISSN 0194-7869.
  4. ^ Underhill, Tom (February 2006). "Warren, Just Admit It". The Comics Journal. 1 (#274): 62–64. ISSN 0194-7869.
  5. ^ Warren Ellis (w), John Cassaday (a). "Century" Planetary, no. 13 (February 2001). DC Comics.
  6. ^ Warren Ellis (w), John Cassaday (a). "The Good Doctor" Planetary, no. 5 (September 1999). DC Comics.
  7. ^ Warren Ellis (w), John Cassady (a). "The Good Doctor" Planetary, no. 5 (September 1999). DC Comics.
  8. ^ Warren Ellis (2005-03-27). "Mar. 27th, 2005". Warren Ellis' Live Journal. Retrieved 2006-11-10.
  9. ^ Warren Ellis (w), John Cassaday (a). Planetary, no. 2 (April 1999). DC Comics.
  10. ^ Evans, Woody (2005). "Planetary: Leaving the Twentieth Century". Rain Taxi Review of Books.