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Planetary is an American comic book series created by Warren Ellis (writer) and John Cassaday (artist), published by the Wildstorm imprint of DC Comics. Planetary also refers to the group portrayed in the series.

Planetary was previewed in the September 1998 issue of Gen13 (#33), and issue #1 was cover-dated April 1998. It is intended to be a 24-issue series, and the latest issue is #18 (December 2003).

The Premise

Planetary are an organization billing themselves as "Archaeologists of the Impossible", tracking down the world's secret history. Funded by the mysterious Fourth Man, the field team consists of three superhumans: Jakita Wagner, who is strong, fast and tough to hurt; The Drummer, who can talk to computers; and the new recruit Elijah Snow.

The series occurs in the Wildstorm Universe, along with other titles such as Stormwatch, The Authority and Gen13. For instance, Snow was born on January 1, 1900, as was Jenny Sparks of The Authority, and the two know each other. Despite this, Planetary intersects only a little with other Wildstorm series.

Planetary's field team travels the world investigating strange phenomena: Monsters and other beings, unusual relics, other superhumans, and powerful secrets which certain individuals are trying to keep hidden from the rest of the world. Their purpose in doing this is partly curiosity, and partly to use what they learn for the betterment of mankind. There are, however, groups who oppose their goals, and the organization has a substantial history which is gradually revealed during the series.

The Series

One of the series' main hooks is that it portrays alternate versions of many well-known (and obscure) figures from popular culture. At various times we are shown versions (sometimes multiple versions) of Superman, Wonder Woman, the Justice League, Doc Savage, Godzilla, The Incredible Hulk, the Fantastic Four, Tarzan, and Sherlock Holmes. This provides a rich backdrop for the ongoing story.

(In general, the public domain characters such as Holmes appear as themselves, while those still under copyright appear in altered but recognizably similar form. In some regards the series is thus similar to the series The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.)

The comic relies heavily on Cassaday's detailed and imaginative artwork, and it features a variety of styles of cover, with no consistent logo or layout. The mysteries which Ellis sets up are what ultimately drive the book, as he gradually shows us the characters' relationships, their histories, and who the Fourth Man is.