Welcome to another installment of Billy & Mandy’s weekly series review of Planetary, the best book you’ve never read about the super hero genre! We’ll be reviewing each and every issue, beginning with #1 and plowing all the way through to #27, whenever the hell that bastard ships. If you’re just joining us, it’s not too late to get on the ground floor. You can find the previous installment here.
WARNING: SPOILERS!!! If you don’t want to be spoiled, please read the issue before continuing. Or, read it along with us! We welcome your comments and hope that you enjoy ours.
Mandy: Wait one second. Phone… okay, let’s go.
Billy: It’s so great to have you back this week!
Mandy: Hah. I know you missed me. Because I’m irreplaceable.
Billy: I mean, MANDEE-BOT did an okay job.
Mandy: Yeah, yeah. Whatever.
Billy: Speaking of last week’s article, what did you think of issue 7?
Mandy: UGG. I DIDN’T REREAD IT. DO I HAVE TO SAY INTELLIGENT THINGS?
Billy: Um, guess not. Give us a quick recap of #8…
Mandy: So in Issue 8, we find out the real reason behind all those Sci-Fi B-movies of the fifties and sixties, obviously a by-product of the government experimentation to test the limits of the human body. Oh Americans. Your ignorance has a flavor. I mean arrogance.
Billy: Ignorance was funnier.
Mandy: Because my ignorance has a flavor.
Billy: Tastes like burning. So, Planetary shows up in the middle of the desert at a city that isn’t on any maps to meet a girl that glows in the dark? WTF?
Mandy: Dream date, right?
Billy: Okay. Before we get into the dense exposition that this issue provides, I want to talk about my girlfriend Jakita. HOW HAWT IS SHE?
Mandy: SHE PUNCHED THAT ANT IN THE HEAD.
Billy: I KNOW! She ripped its leg off!
Mandy: I know. She really is that awesome… like from birth.
Billy: And she was all GETTING OFF ON IT!!!
Mandy: SHE WAS LIKE, “FLAT TIRE THIS, BITCH.”
Mandy: I mean, honestly. Dude, she swept the leg. I just rewatched Karate Kid the other day. How is that movie so awesome?
Billy: I don’t know. Seems impossible.
Mandy: I know that is your way of saying that movie is terrible and I am an idiot but I reject you. FYI.
Billy: Back to my fictional girlfriend: The full page spread of her leaping up at the three ants is in my Top 5 Planetary moments, btw.
Mandy: I’m sure it is. How sticky is your copy?
Billy: Okay, so Jakita is the supermans and stuff, but what about US Science City Zero? Once the glowy chick starts explaining about it, you kind of feel bad for feeling so good about Jakita’s asskicking. Like, total boner killer.
Mandy: Right. Because OBV, A PRODUCT OF GOVERNMENT MANIPULATION?
Billy: Dude, “women who slept with the wrong men…” Lucky you, huh?
Mandy: I KNOOOOOOOW! Wait, wow.
Mandy: I would say “low blow” but you’ll turn that around on me too.
Billy: Dowling… did you expect Dowling? OBV Dowling at this point, right? Of course this guy is responsible for all the evil shit in the world.
Mandy: Yeah, that guy’s fingerprints are all up in the trainwrecks. Disaster is his calling card. That and dashing good looks.
Billy: That sounds like something MANDEE-BOT would say.
Billy: I like that he isn’t a Nazi. We Americans like to blame the Nazis for everything, but Ellis doesn’t let us get away with that here. “I just killed you and brought you back. Can you understand me?” What a dick.
Mandy: Yeah. I liked that though.
Billy: Yeah, it’s an appropriate question. She might have brain damage. You gotta check.
Mandy: Dude, she sort of got lucky. I mean, yeah, she got shot. That’s no fun…but she could have been turned into giant-assed marshmallow chick whose flesh is all…soft.
Billy: Ann Hark is still looking sexy as well, but now she’s all tainted by evil. Sad times, or, sexy times?
Mandy: EW. Yeah, um. You can have Jakita. Ann Hark is my Planetary series girl crush. Because of her hotness. The hot Asianness.
Billy: Dude, what is Dowling holding in the panel where he says she has a radioactive half-life of 50 years? I like to think it’s some gizmo from another experiment, as if he’s already moved on to something else. Glowy chick is a total afterthought.
Mandy: YES. Makes it even more pathetic.
Billy: I like how they explain the issue of going blind while invisible. It sets up how Ellis uses Kim Suskind, the Invisible woman later.
Billy: ATOMIC DOGS! When I read that I could hear George Clinton in my head.
Mandy: OH MAN. I’m so glad you brought that up. Finally AN EXPLANATION FOR THAT AWFUL SONG. Blame America.
Mandy: DUDE. Amy Winehouse has crack-induced emphysema.
Billy: Bad beat for her, but what the hell does that have to do with George Clinton?
Mandy: Man. The crack. It kills.
Billy: Snowflake head was pretty cool too. I think more than half the reason Planetary is so balls good is because John Cassaday draws the SHIT out of it. A lesser artist and we may not even being doing these.
Mandy: Snowflake head made me sad. And he’s drooling on himself. And the overbite girl. I want to hug them all, and then take a shower.
Billy: What do you think of the line “…it was about seeing what they could get away with doing to us” as an explanation for City Zero’s existence?
Mandy: I think this speaks to the idea why the intelligentsia CAN NOT rule the weak. This is why humans cannot be trusted. No motive is pure. It isn’t about testing the limits of the human body, right? It’s about testing the limits of humans. THEY WON’T TELL US TO STOP.
Billy: Yeah, even when it’s implied that Hark wasn’t totally on board with his methods, it doesn’t change the fact that she is culpable.
Mandy: Yes. As a race, we will stand by and allow things to happen. I thought that was the most interesting line. I’m glad it was there because it made the most sense.
Billy: Going further, we know the Russians had these types of science cities and we know the Nazis and Japanese experimented on people… and although some like to deny it, we know that American doctors experimented on African Americans in the last century. So, question: Should it be obvious to anyone thinking with a logical mind that Americans probably had these types of science cities as well? We kind of have to come to this conclusion, right? Especially since after the War we employed so many ex-Nazis. Even if we weren’t before the war, we had to be after it, right?
Mandy: I have to be honest. It’s too horrifying to think about.
Billy: Yeah, it is scary. Obviously, this is taking it to the extreme, it’s Science Fiction… not trying to say the US created a 60 foot woman or anything.
Mandy: I KNOW THAT. Silly.
Billy: Oh yeah, something else. US Science City Zero was what Dowling was doing before he got turned into Mr. Fantastic. That’s interesting. He’s been a bastard since the beginning.
Mandy: I know. Definitely not all that “fantastic”. TO BE QUITE HONEST.
Billy: Marvel Mr. Fantastic – it’s funny, but realistically, even Marvel’s Mr. Fantastic had to be involved in shit like this before getting into that experimental rocket in 1961 with Sue, Ben and Johnny. That’s why I love Planetary. It forces you to look at all these pulp characters in a whole new light, a whole new perspective. Distorting what we perceive to be reality and revealing the actual truth.
Mandy: Yes. And the more background we get, the more I question my distrust of Planetary. o yeah, it’s definitely keeping me interested. I can’t wait to get into issue 9.
Billy: This is another one of those plot threads that will keep coming up. Like at the end, how she hands it over to Planetary to go through the records. The discovery of City Zero is a big find for Planetary. Almost as big as Island Zero or Doc Brass’ base in the Appalachian mountains.
Mandy: I’m so glad that the Bot didn’t steal my job.
Billy: Well, we still got 20 issues to go… hey, the sad ending? Did it make you cry?
Mandy: Yes. Snow is a woobie. I hurt for him. And I’m still anxious to figure out where he was all that time…and what was he doing? And why doesn’t he remember his life?
Billy: Yeah, where the HELL was Snow to stop all this shit?!
Billy: I think Ellis is a master of the “closing line.”
Billy: “It as only half a life, but I wanted it” and “I’m so glad I met you.”
Mandy: Yeah. I’m actually surprised you like that he always does that.
Billy: I LOVE IT! Why wouldn’t I? It’s one of the best parts of the book.
Mandy: Well I think that. But you’re usually so against the melodramatic lines that like SUM UP A STORY.
Billy: But it’s not melodramatic and I’ll tell you why.
Mandy: Tell me.
Billy: Okay, if you have noticed, most issues of Planetary, except when they are expositioning, are actually quite sparse when it comes to dialogue. Characters barely say shit about shit, and even when they do it’s only to make a point that’s usually one sentence long. The sum up, like you say.
Mandy: Yes. Fair enough.
Billy: Melodrama is when the writer completely belabors the characterization and DRAMA of it all!
Mandy: I can already see where you’re going with this…
Billy: Nothing in Planetary screams of melodrama, not in the least, and that’s why it’s okay to have those kind of “to sum it all up” lines.
Mandy: Yes. I agree with you. FINE.
Billy: And furthermore, even when he’s summing it all up it’s usually the most subtle or subtexty line in the entire book.
Mandy: FINE. You win.
Billy: The “I’m so glad I met you” line has10 different ideas in it!
Mandy: I KNOW.
Billy: HAHAHAH… dude, how does this issue compare to the previous 7 for you?
Mandy: I think this one might have been my favorite? Because it was so straightforward.
Billy: Yeah, that is a fair assessment. I think it was my favorite of the first 8 as well. But dude, issue 9? THE BEST ISSUE OF PLANETARY EVER!
Mandy: I cannot wait.
Billy: Like, we could talk about that one issue for hours and still only scratch the surface. It has the most re-read value of the entire run.
Mandy: YOU KNOW WHAT I WILL DO WHILE I WAIT FOR IT? I will have INSTANT SHIA. HOT AND YUMMY. JUST ADD WATER.
Mandy: COME ON. THERE WAS A JOKE AND EVERYTHING.
Billy: Dude, you let me know when this gets old… so we can stop.
Mandy: I don’t know what you’re talking about.
Join us next Monday for the most exciting, explosive and mysterious chapter of Planetary yet. If you haven’t read Planetary, you can pick up the trades at your local shop or order them online from Amazon.com at the following link: