Planetary 4: Spacetime Archaeology

planetary volume 4 spacetime archaeology cover trade paperback
9.0 Overall Score
Story: 9/10
Art: 9/10

Great art and great story

Doesn't work as a stand-alone and can't be read out of order

Comic Info

Comic Name:  Planetary

Publisher:  DC Comics/WildStorm

Writer:  Warren Ellis

Artist:  John Cassaday

# of Issues:  9

Release Date:  2010


Planetary #24

Reprints Planetary #19-27 (May 2004-December 2009).  The war between the Four and Planetary is officially on and Elijah Snow is taking no chances.  His goal is to break-up and separate the Four for individual defeat and to use the Four’s knowledge to save the Earth.  The source of the Four’s knowledge is revealed as Snow leads Planetary on a mission to change Earth forever.

Written by Warren Ellis and illustrated by John Cassaday, Planetary Volume 4:  Spacetime Archaeology collects the fourth and final part of Ellis’ grand Planetary series.  Following Planetary Volume 3:  Leaving the 20th Century, the nine issues were released sporadically over the course of five years and wind-up the storylines that Ellis began in Planetary 1:  All Over the World and Other Stories.

I love Planetary, and I’m sad to see it end.  Ellis’ weird blending of stories is part X-Files, part CSI, and part Justice League of America.  The strange combo of genres and the exploration into typical overused genre stereotypes helped make this series a fun read.  The collection is very much like the final collections of Alan Moore’s Prometheus and Grant Morrison’s Invisibles in that all things come together…but here they are much more linear and less abstract than the previous mentioned series.


Planetary #26

This collection dives into more of the history of the Four and brings forward more ties to the DC universe.  It is pretty much implied that the Four gained their powers from Apokolips but it is really unclear if it is the real Apokolips, or like many of the stories in Planetary, a mock-up of Apokolips for Ellis’ storytelling purpose.  It has been shown that many of the WildStorm worlds are part of the DCU in their 52 worlds, and the characters in this series deal with the Bleed which locks the dimensions together so it can be assumed that the Four did gain their powers from real Apokolips tech…which is kind of a cool twist.

As normal, John Cassaday’s art is fantastic for the series.  I love his style and the variety gives the characters real dimension in Ellis time spanning story.  The series is a nice example of how “standard” comic book art can also be fantastic since Cassaday doesn’t really push the boundaries of the art like a Bill Sienkiewicz or a David Mack, but still shows that it is an art to tell a story with pictures…plus, proves some art can be far superior to other standard comics.

Planetary 4:  Spacetime Archaeology wraps up a fun series that feels like it left too soon.  With the reincorporation of Vertigo with characters like John Constantine, Black Orchid, and Shade as part of the New 52, and the streamlining of characters like Grifter, Voodoo, and the Stormwatch team, Planetary could in theory come back…which has me excited and fearful at the same time…I hope a good thing isn’t ruined.

Related Links:

Planetary 1:  All Over the World and Other Stories

Planetary 3:  Leaving the 20th Century

Planetary:  Crossing Worlds

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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