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DC Universe:

Planetary

Launched in 1999, Planetary helped catapult its writer, Warren Ellis, and its artist, John Cassaday, to comics super-stardom. Its initial format of focusing on a different genre with each issue also helped several of these genres gain mainstream traction among super-hero readers. This was especially the case with the pulp heroes Planetary introduced in its first issue. The way the title’s covers felt free to alter the Planetary logo, adapting it to the issue’s contents, also proved influential, although America’s Best Comics (especially Promethea) also began doing this around the same time.

The series began with a central mystery: the identity of the team’s so-called “Fourth Man.” Ellis wisely chose not to drag this mystery on too long, resolving it in issue #12 (Jan 2001). From then on, the series would focus on Planetary’s battle with the Four, the team’s villainous counterpart introduced in issue #6 (Nov 1999).

Unfortunately, the series increasingly ran late. After publishing six issues with 1999 cover dates, five with 2000 cover dates, and four with 2001 cover dates, the series took a long hiatus between issues #15 (Oct 2001) and #16 (Oct 2003). Initially returning as a bimonthly, the pace slowed again, with only two issues (#22 and #23) published in 2005 and three (#24-26) in 2006. Another long delay followed before the final issue (#27, Dec 2009). These delays didn’t hurt the series’s popularity, however; if anything, they only increased it, and Planetary assumed a kind of legendary status as a special series that shouldn’t be assigned to another creative team and should be allowed to conclude as intended. The publication of an issue of Planetary became a significant event in itself, and both Ellis and Cassaday were frequently asked about the series, even as they worked on other titles.

Planetary began as a series firmly set in the WildStorm Universe and designed to explore elements of that universe’s past which had not otherwise been shown. Early issues referenced the Wildcats as well as Ellis’s own The Authority, published concurrently with early Planetary. As time went on, however, Planetary ran late and, perhaps because of its sterling reputation, was allowed the continue without reflecting subsequent events in the larger WildStorm Universe. By the time Planetary concluded in 2009, the WildStorm Universe had been through several soft reboots and universe-changing events, none of which had been reflected in Planetary. Complicating matters, Planetary concluded with its own world-changing events, which wouldn’t be reflected in other WildStorm titles.

In 2011, the WildStorm Universe was incorporated into the DC Universe as part of its line-wide reboot. So far, the characters of Planetary have yet to appear, but that may not always be the case.

Part One: The Third Man

Planetary #1

“All Over the World” -- 22 pages

  • written by Warren Ellis; art by John Cassaday

first issue; cover by John Cassaday; cover-dated Apr 1999

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Planetary #2

“Island”

  • written by Warren Ellis; art by John Cassaday

cover by John Cassaday; cover-dated May 1999
Planetary #3

“Dead Gunfighters”

  • written by Warren Ellis; art by John Cassaday

cover by John Cassaday; cover-dated June 1999
Planetary Preview

“Nuclear Spring”

  • written by Warren Ellis; art by John Cassaday

cover by John Cassaday; cover-dated Sept 1998
Planetary #4

“Strange Harbours”

  • written by Warren Ellis; art by John Cassaday

cover by John Cassaday; cover-dated July 1999
Planetary #5

“The Good Doctor”

  • written by Warren Ellis; art by John Cassaday

cover by John Cassaday; cover-dated Sept 1999
Planetary #6

“4″

  • written by Warren Ellis; art by John Cassaday

cover by John Cassaday; cover-dated Nov 1999
Planetary: All Over the World and Other Stories

collects Planetary #1-6 and Planetary Preview; cover by John Cassaday; softcover

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Planetary #7

“To Be in England, in the Summertime”

  • written by Warren Ellis; art by John Cassaday

cover by John Cassaday; cover-dated Jan 2000
Planetary #8

“The Day the Earth Turned Slower”

  • written by Warren Ellis; art by John Cassaday

cover by John Cassaday; cover-dated Feb 2000
Planetary #9

“Planet Fiction”

  • written by Warren Ellis; art by John Cassaday

cover by John Cassaday; cover-dated Apr 2000
Planetary & the Authority: Ruling the World

“Ruling the World” -- 45 pages

  • written by Warren Ellis; pencils by Phil Jimenez; inks by Andy Lanning

occurs between The Authority Vol. 1 #8 and #9 (the story features Jenny Sparks alive, and Planetary’s Jakita Wagner refers to the events of The Authority Vol. 1 #6-8); cover by Phil Jimenez; softcover; prestige format; cover-dated Aug 2000; published 21 June 2000 (between Planetary #10 and #11)

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Planetary / Batman: Night on Earth #1

“Night on Earth” -- 48 pages

  • written by Warren Ellis; art by John Cassaday

cover by John Cassaday; softcover; prestige format; $5.95; cover-dated Aug 2003
Batman / Planetary Deluxe Edition
reprints Planetary / Batman: Night on Earth #1; cover taken from Planetary / Batman: Night on Earth #1; hardcover; $22.99; cover-dated Aug 2011

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Planetary #10

“Magic & Loss”

  • written by Warren Ellis; art by John Cassaday

cover by John Cassaday; cover-dated June 2000
Planetary #11

“Cold World”

  • written by Warren Ellis; art by John Cassaday

cover by John Cassaday; cover-dated Sept 2000
Planetary #12

“Memory Cloud”

  • written by Warren Ellis; art by John Cassaday

cover by John Cassaday; cover-dated Jan 2001
Planetary: The Fourth Man

collects Planetary #7-12; cover by John Cassaday; hardcover; cover-dated Jan 2002

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Absolute Planetary Book 1

collects Planetary #1-12 and Planetary Preview; cover by John Cassaday; hardcover

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Part Two: The Four

Planetary #13

“Century”

  • written by Warren Ellis; art by John Cassaday

cover by John Cassaday; cover-dated Feb 2001
Planetary #17

“Opak Re”

  • written by Warren Ellis; art by John Cassaday

cover by John Cassaday; cover-dated Dec 2003
Planetary #14

“Zero Point”

  • written by Warren Ellis; art by John Cassaday

cover by John Cassaday; cover-dated June 2001
Planetary / JLA: Terra Occulta #1

untitled -- 48 pages

  • written by Warren Ellis; art by John Cassaday

cover by Jerry Ordway; softcover; prestige format; $5.95; cover-dated Nov 2002
Wildstorm Presents Planetary: Lost Worlds #1

collects Planetary & the Authority: Ruling the World and Planetary / JLA: Terra Occulta #1; cover taken from Planetary: Crossing Worlds; cover-dated Feb 2011

Planetary: Crossing Worlds

collects Planetary & the Authority: Ruling the World, Planetary / JLA: Terra Occulta #1, and Batman / Planetary: Night on Earth #1; cover by John Cassaday; softcover; cover-dated Mar 2004

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Planetary #15

“Creation Songs”

  • written by Warren Ellis; art by John Cassaday

cover by John Cassaday; cover-dated Oct 2001
Planetary Reader

collects Planetary #13-15; cover created by merging images from Planetary #13-15; reprints the issues which were then not yet collected in trade paperbacks, in time for the release of Planetary #16; cover-dated Aug 2003

Planetary #16

“Hark”

  • written by Warren Ellis; art by John Cassaday

cover by John Cassaday; cover-dated Oct 2003
Planetary #19

“Mystery in Space”

  • written by Warren Ellis; art by John Cassaday

cover by John Cassaday; cover-dated May 2004
Planetary #20

“Rendezvous”

  • written by Warren Ellis; art by John Cassaday

cover by John Cassaday; cover-dated Sept 2004
Planetary #21

“Death Machine Telemetry”

  • written by Warren Ellis; art by John Cassaday

cover by John Cassaday; cover-dated Dec 2004

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Planetary #18

“The Gun Club”

  • written by Warren Ellis; art by John Cassaday

cover by John Cassaday; cover-dated Feb 2004
Planetary: Leaving the 20th Century

collects Planetary #13-18; cover by John Cassaday; hardcover; cover-dated Dec 2004

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Planetary #22

“The Torture of William Leather”

  • written by Warren Ellis; art by John Cassaday

cover by John Cassaday; cover-dated Mar 2005

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Planetary #23

“Percussion”

  • written by Warren Ellis; art by John Cassaday

cover by John Cassaday; cover-dated Aug 2005

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Planetary #24

“Systems”

  • written by Warren Ellis; art by John Cassaday

cover by John Cassaday; cover-dated Mar 2006

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Planetary #25

“In from the Cold”

  • written by Warren Ellis; art by John Cassaday

cover by John Cassaday; cover-dated June 2006

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Planetary #26

untitled

  • written by Warren Ellis; art by John Cassaday

cover by John Cassaday; cover-dated Dec 2006

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Planetary #27

untitled

  • written by Warren Ellis; art by John Cassaday

final issue; cover by John Cassaday; $3.99; cover-dated Dec 2009

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Planetary: Spacetime Archaeology

collects Planetary #19-27; cover by John Cassaday; hardcover; cover-dated Mar 2010

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Absolute Planetary Book 2

collects Planetary #13-27; cover by John Cassaday; hardcover; cover-dated July 2010

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Scholarship

Keeping the World Strange: A Planetary Guide

written by Timothy Callahan, Julian Darius, A. David Lewis, Patrick Meaney, Chad Nevett, Ross Payton, Andy Richardson, Peter Sanderson, Caleb Stokes, Kevin Thurman, and Cody Walker; edited by Cody Walker; cover by Ean Moody; published by Sequart Research & Literacy Organization; 180 pages; softcover; $11.99; published Nov 2011

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