Mantis first appeared last issue, but it was in this one where she really starts to shine. She was an interesting character. Writer Steve Engleheart won the Eagle Award and was a psychology major; his work tended to be thoughtful. I think of him as a less “out there” version of Steve Gerber. She was the daughter of Libra (part of the Zodiac gang–a bunch of bad guys who repeatedly fought The Avengers), and as far as I know she was the first Vietnamese superhero. Right about this time, Jim Starlin was hanging out at the Marvel offices quite a bit and talking about his experiences during the Vietnam war.
For years, I’ve been hounded by a persistent, sad fact: I am a comic book fan, a comic book blogger, a comic book reader for over 30 years, a big admirer of Warren Ellis…And I never read Planetary. Until recently. Planetary is celebrated as one of the greatest comic book series of all time. Technically part of the DC’s Wildstorm universe, the book really stood on its own with only passing references to Jenny Sparks and The Authority.
And it is, indeed, pure genius.
It’s basically Warren Ellis’ trippy sci fi celebration of all things comic book-y. It pays tributes to all the major tropes, incorporates most of the major “big two” heroes, and for the most part focused on one genre per issue: Godzilla! Shazam! Wonder Woman! Green Lanetern! Swamp Thing and all the creepy DCs! Westerns! Thor! The Fantastic Four! Seriously, if it’s been in a comic, it was examined in Planetary.
Oh, and it wouldn’t nearly be as wonderful as it is without the art by John Cassaday. Beautiful.
This post is a SPOILER-FREE tribute to Planetary. Rather than pull a panel a day, I’m pulling a panel (a few from one issue) that shows why you need to go out–run!–and buy every volume of this book.
Note: I’m only blogging on the 26 issues of the series that ran consecutively. Years later, they pulled out a final epilogue issue, and there were a few (very good) crossover issues with Batman and The Authority.
But this is a tribute to the main series, with captions on the genre/trope Ellis and Cassaday deconstructed.