The Planetary team (back to front): The Drummer, Jakita Wagner and Elijah Snow.
Publication information
Publisher Wildstorm (DC Comics)
Schedule Erratic
Format Ongoing series
Genre Superhero
Publication date September 1998 – October 2009
Number of issues 27
Main character(s) Jakita Wagner
The Drummer
Elijah Snow
Creative team
Writer(s) Warren Ellis
Artist(s) John Cassaday
Colorist(s) Laura Martin
Creator(s) Warren Ellis
John Cassaday
Collected editions
All Over the World and Other Stories ISBN 1-56389-648-6

Planetary is an American comic book limited series created by writer Warren Ellis and artist John Cassaday 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 sub-genre, exposed its roots and showed its branches."[1] and stated in his proposal for the comic series: "[W]hat 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 series main features 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] 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 computers and other electronics); 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 apparently killed.

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. The group is sporadically opposed by a rival group of metahumans called the Four, a parallel Fantastic Four (Dr. Randall Dowling, Kim Süskind, William Leather and Jacob Greene) intent on using the secrets of the world for personal gain.


Main article: List of Planetary characters



  • Gen¹³ #33 and C-23 #6 (preview - same story included in each issue)
  • Planetary #1-27


  • Planetary/The Authority: Ruling the World: Standalone story featuring the two Wildstorm teams in a plot tangentially related to an element in the first issue of Planetary. Includes references to the stories of H. P. Lovecraft and Lovecraft himself. Art by Phil Jimenez
  • Planetary/Batman: Night on Earth: Features various versions and interpretations of Batman spanning the character's history, including Bob Kane's original, a version based on Adam West's portrayal in the 1960s TV series and Frank Miller's Dark Knight. Art by John Cassaday
  • Planetary/JLA: Terra Occulta: Standalone story featuring an alternate version of Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman, who oppose a version of Planetary that act like the Four. Art by Jerry Ordway

Collected editions

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

  • Planetary:
    • Volume 1: All Over the World and Other Stories (collects preview & #1-6; hardcover and softcover ISBN 1-56389-648-6)
    • Volume 2: The Fourth Man (collects #7-12; hardcover and softcover ISBN 1-56389-764-4)
    • Volume 3: Leaving the 20th Century (collects #13-18; hardcover ISBN 1-4012-0293-4 and softcover ISBN 1-4012-0294-2)
    • Volume 4: Spacetime Archaeology (collects #19-27; hardcover ISBN 1-4012-0996-3 and softcover ISBN 1-4012-2345-1)
  • Planetary: Crossing Worlds (collects the three crossover one-shots above; softcover only ISBN 1-4012-0279-9)
  • Absolute Planetary volume 1 (collects preview & #1-12, also script to #1; Slipcased hardcover ISBN 1-4012-0327-2)
  • Absolute Planetary volume 2 (collects #13-27; Slipcased hardcover ISBN 1-4012-2701-5)


  • 2000:
    • Nominated for "Best Continuing Series" Eisner Award
    • Nominated for "Best New Series" Eisner Award
  • 2002: Nominated for "Best Continuing Series" Eisner Award
  • 2005: Nominated for "Best Serialized Story" Eisner Award, for Planetary #19-20 ("Mystery in Space/Rendezvous")


  1. Christopher Butcher (2000-10-31). "PROFILE: Warren Ellis Interview (part one)". Retrieved 2006-11-10. 
  2. Ellis, Warren (written November 1997, posted to web in 2000). "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 13 (February 2001), DC Comics
  6. Warren Ellis (w), John Cassaday (a). "The Good Doctor" Planetary 5 (September 1999), DC Comics
  7. Warren Ellis (w), John Cassady (a). "The Good Doctor" Planetary 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 2 (April, 1999), DC Comics


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