Welcome to the second 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 at #1 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 last week’s review of issue #1 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: ALRIGHT. ARE WE READY TO DO THIS THING OR WHAT?
Billy: Today we’re going to review the Planetary Preview that was released a few months prior to issue #1. You could find it as an 8-page backup feature in about three or four different Wildstorm books at the time.
Mandy: YEAH! And I’ll be honest, I felt TOTALLY TRICKED when I got home and realized that that is what you had given me. I thought I was getting a full issue. I WAS SOOOO MAD.
Billy: Well, yeah, that’s why I didn’t tell you. I knew you’d be pissed. Plus, I’m a jerk like that. I thought it would be funny. Oh, did you read the comic on the flipside, Gen 13 #33?
Mandy: I didn’t read it all. I was going to ask you about it. Like, should I read it from the beginning? I don’t like starting in the middle of things. It confuses me.
Billy: No, you weren’t supposed to read the Gen 13 part… it was bad, right?
Mandy: Yeah, it looked pretty stains.
Billy: So, the inside cover of the Preview has the following text: “One hundred years of superhero history, slowing leaking out into the modern world… Sometimes, ordinary people uncover things that are best left covered. Sometimes, things best left covered emerge into ordinary life and do not have the world’s best interests at heart. These are the times when Planetary arrive—invited or not…” Did that help you understand more about Planetary at all? I have to say, it confused me since in the entire series we won’t see many “ordinary people”.
Mandy: Yeah, but we had already figured it all out last week when we talked about the first issue, which was infinitely more confusing… I was mostly like OH THAT Billy!, because it would have been less work for me if you’d let me read this first.
Billy: Yeah, but I wanted to set it all up for you, and the first issue is tons better at doing that than this preview. This thing just gives you a taste.
Mandy: Yeah, but in the beginning of a series when you’re trying to get people hooked on your shit, you need CONTRAST. You can’t say SOME UNREAL BADASSES DISCOVER SOME OTHER UNREAL BADASSES. It’s confusing.
Billy: So, this story is titled “Nuclear Spring”. What did you think you were going to find after reading that first page? A general? An underground bunker? The word nuclear? CLUES!!!
Mandy: ALL OF THE ABOVE. Yeah, I had no idea. But they look so awes sitting there on his couch like that. Like, yeah buddy, we crashed your pad.
Billy: And then Jakita knocks some dude through a reinforced concrete wall. That guy is dead.
Mandy: Also, that guy’s face is wrinkled.
Billy: I don’t think Jakita has a problem with killing. She kills much easier than 355.
Mandy: Yes. Here fists are for power. Also, is it just me or is Elijah Snow getting YOUNGER? He is invigorated by asskicking.
Billy: Maybe… or maybe that’s a clue?
Mandy: Yet, I appreciate Jakita’s willingness to follow orders. Still, it makes me question her more… I trust her less. Like, is it blind devotion or is she AWARE of who she works for and what she’s doing. That question resonates with my concerns.
Billy: The next couple of pages is all about exposition, but the writing is so fluid, you don’t even notice unless you’re really looking. And I love the line about Drummer humping the TV.BTW, in issue 16, it gets paid off. Drummer humps his toaster.
Mandy: I like my toast dry though. You know, Jakita’s first line really struck a chord with me. I’ve said that to people before. “Cuff yourself. Try to go to sleep. Or else.”
Billy: You would.
Mandy: No. She’s just so badass. She’s like, “You’ve been taken out of this fight but I don’t even have time to do it so you will do it for me…to yourself.”
Billy: Also, Bruce Banner– er, I mean, David Paine looks like such a jerkoff in the flashback panel.
Mandy: He’s just confident in his awesome.
Billy: The following page gets into the super science of it all. I know you were confused last time, the snowflake and the multiverse, but did this all make sense?
Mandy: Yes. This stuff was explained better. Although, confession, I had never heard of description theory before and I thought to myself, “Billy has heard of this… he will talk to me like I know what this is.”
Billy: I had no idea what it was at the time I first read this, so I Googled it. It’s really interesting.
Mandy: Because why?
Billy: Basically, the less description you put in your screenplays, the tighter it reads.
Mandy: I thought it was like YOU COULD DESCRIBE THE WORLD AND THEN IT WAS HOW YOU WANTED IT TO BE. Like, “The sky is made of candy” or “My hand is a popsicle.”
Billy: That’s “The Secret” tech.
Mandy: These books are filled with money.
Billy: It’s been on Oprah.
Mandy: BOOO OPRAH.
Billy: Dude, seriously, what was the stupid ass general’s wife doing on the test site?
Mandy: Trying to get humped.
Billy: So dumb, women are. Like, no time for sex now woman… SCIENCE PREVAILS!!!
Mandy: You lead a lonely life, dude.
Billy: BOOOM!!!! IT’S THE HULK BITCHES!!! Before the big reveal, did you figure out it was going to be the Hulk?
Mandy: Yes. Obv. I was like, OH THIS GUY’S MOLECULES ARE GOING TO GET MESSED WITH.
Billy: I mean, you are pretty thick.
Mandy: The Hulk has dinosaur toes. DINOSAUR TOES.
Billy: Did that make you smile?
Mandy: YES. And, I appreciated the confirmation in the GIANT MAN SKELETON though. They starved him out. That’s kind of mean.
Billy: Yeah, the last page was a nice epilogue… took him 20+ years to die. So sad. But, he was a monster, and he was probably killing and eating all kinds of things, like people and dogs. Question: What happened to the daughter?
Mandy: Yeah, that was what I was just going to ask you.
Billy: Will we ever find out? QUESTIONS!!!!
Mandy: I LIKE QUESTIONS. But the clock is ticking, you know? Like, this shit better not be like Lost. I don’t want a list of five hundred questions before they tell me that the polar bears don’t matter.
Billy: When did they say the polar bears don’t matter?
Mandy: Um, in season four when they still never talked about it. Actually… I think the polar bears ARE important… they just brought them up again. Something about time travel or something.
Billy: LAME. Anyway, back to awesome… in issue nine, my second favorite issue of the series, at the end Ellis just straight up presents you with four facts that send your head swimming!!! It’s going to be awesome for you.
Mandy: OH MAH. I cannot wait. Also, and I think you should keep this in the review because it’s important. I just left a little Shia on your space.
Billy: …things I loved about this Preview: funny dialogue, a clear conception of what Planetary is and the realistic way Ellis describes the superhero world. All the description about the Hulk was pretty awesome.
Mandy: Hey, remember that time you called me to ask me to name another movie that had to do with time travel besides Back to the Future? Because you couldn’t remember The Time Machine? You’re pretty dumb.
Billy: I’m just ignoring you now… some years before this, Ellis wrote something called RUINS. It’s about the Marvel Universe and what would have happened to it if everything went wrong instead of all superhero-y. Like, instead of getting amazing spider powers, Peter Parker contracts some rare disease and dies. Shit like that. Marvel actually hates the book so much, they’ll never reprint it. It’s super hard to find. Obviously, I got them signed. Thinking back now, Planetary must have been an idea that spun out of that book.
Billy: So, any other thoughts? I think I’m just going to scan every page and post them all… so people at home can check it out and get hooked, if they haven’t been hooked already.
Mandy: I appreciated reading this in light of the first issue. Because I think that every Planetary story needs to be looked at in terms of ethics. That is, were the “humans”, supposedly ordinary people, acting ethically? And I think that in this situation, more than in issue one, it’s clear they were not. I mean, they LET him develop that thing and then they starved him. Mean. Sad times.
Billy: Yeah, I’m glad you see that right away, the ethics thing. Can’t wait for the next one now. Got to get you issue two!
Mandy: Yeah, no more tricks Mr. Zonos.
Join us next Monday as we bask in the glory of Planetary #2 (this time, for real). 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: