The Wednesday Run – April 13, 2011

Every Wednesday, JP makes the after-work run to his local downtown comic book shop. Comics arrive on Wednesdays you see and JP, fearful that the latest issue will sell out, rushes out to purchase his copy. This regular, weekly column will highlight a particularly interesting release, written in short order, of course, because JP has to get his – before someone else does!

Planetary/Batman: Night On Earth Deluxe H/C
Writer: Warren Ellis
Artist: John Cassaday
DC Comics

One of the most interesting comic book series from the early part of the past decade was Warren Ellis and John Cassaday’s creator-owned series, Planetary, published by Wildstorm, a company subsequently bought by DC Comics. Interestingly, the series began in 1999 but went on extended hiatus a few years later due to illness and other obligations by the creators. During Planetary’s multi-year disappearance from comic book store shelves, the series gained strong and resilient cult notoriety. Fans clamoured for the “last” issue that would wrap up the genre crossing, conspiratorial, long-form science fiction storyline.

I really got into the series during this period: a comic book whose single most important theme was that of the multiverse.

Main superhuman “planetary” investigators Elijah Snow, Jakita Wagner and The Drummer would jump from universe to universe in various adventures wherein each reality was slightly askew from the last in an effort to battle against an unseen enemy that threatened the existence of all permutations of existence.

And that’s how a creator-owned series tied into everyone’s favourite Dark Knight.

Originally published as a standalone one-shot in 2003, Planetary/Batman: Night On Earth gets the deluxe hardcover treatment today. The story sees the main characters travel through various renditions of Gotham City, encountering a Batman that matches his original 1939 persona (created by the legendary Bob Kane), a 1960’s pop-culture version (a la Adam West) and a 1980’s grim and gritty interpretation (courtesy of Frank Miller).

If you’re keen on getting schooled in the various artistic turns that Batman has had though the ages, a lesson hidden inside an action-packed, sci-fi genre tale, make the run to your local comic shop and pick this book up.

Oh! And then pick up copies of the Planetary trade paperbacks or Absolute hardcover editions that collect the regular series. Ellis and Cassaday finished the series, you see. Issue #27 finally came out to adoring masses in late 2009.

That last issue didn’t disappoint either. Not in any universe.

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