Current Reviews


Planetary/JLA: Terra Occulta

Posted: Wednesday, September 11, 2002
By: Craig Lemon

Writer: Warren Ellis
Artist: Jerry Ordway

Publisher: DC Wildstorm

This is an Elseworlds tale - Planetary rule the globe, keeping track of dissidents to their reign and killing them off, thanks to advanced technology. Three people are determined to stop their dictatorship - Bruce Wayne, Clark Kent and Diana Prince. And they do. The End.

If my memory serves, this would be the first project released under the glorious new DC reign of Warren Ellis, and unfortunately it feels like an idea previously shoved to the back of a drawer because it didn't actually go anywhere. Oh, it's all Ellisian enough, the usual sarcastic dialogue and violence, ably rendered by Jerry Ordway, but for a highly experienced and ultra-intelligent group, the Planetary Four behave very stupidly and illogically. After all, why haven't they realised there's a gap in their surveillance window, which conveniently lets Clark Kent meet up with the others. If these protagonists are being kept watch on, why haven't they been terminated or intercepted before the fateful final meeting? And why isn't the Planetary HQ actually protected by anything substantial?

And then you come on the worst part - the ending. Jakita Wagner is beating up Diana Prince quite severely. She has just stabbed her gruesomely and Diana is about to die. Cut away to Bruce Wayne beating up Elijah Snow...but Bruce doesn't kill, so Snow can make a comeback unless - Diana Prince turns up and kills him. The End. No exposition as to how she turned things around, no real conclusion, no rescue of Clark or even acknowledgement of his plight. Just The End.
It feels like the story was intended to run for 64 pages, but got itself cut back to 48 at short notice.

For all the problems with the story, Jerry Ordway does an excellent job on the art. The book's presentation shows it off to good effort, and there is excellent use of panel arrangements to allow the story to flow nicely. His depictions of Clark's heat ray and the bullet time slo-mo of Chase are effective, although this device is a little tired now thanks to computer games like Max Payne making use of this Matrix device extensively.

Final Word:
It just feels so totally pointless. This isn't really a story that had to be told; although the cameos of other JLAers are worked in nicely it's just insubstantial. And the ending sucks. Disappointing.

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