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    Planetary # 1 - Warren Ellis John Cassaday

    Planetary # 1 - Warren Ellis John Cassaday
    Jakita Wagner, Elijah Snow & the Drummer
    We tend to trust the world as it is presented to us. We try to make sense of it, fearing that if we fail we will lose our sanity. We rely on our senses because we have no other alternative. But the world, and of course the universe, is infinitely more complex than that.

    Warren Ellis reminds us just how complex it can actually be. In the pages of Planetary, the British writer explores the concept of the multiverse: “A multitude of possible alternatives, none of them quite real, all of them contributing towards the actual reality”. And in order to explore this myriad of possibilities, what we need is a team of “archeologists of the impossible”. Planetary is that team. Except, they’re not a team yet, not at least they find their last member. 

    In the opening sequence of “All Over the World” (published in Planetary # 1, April 1999) we find Elijah Snow eating in a cheap diner, in the middle of an abandoned road. He’s been eating there for ten years. He does not want to leave. Because leaving would be dealing with the consequences of his acts and with the painful memories of his past. But when Jakita Wagner arrives and offers him 1 million dollars for a year of his services, he agrees. After all, he’s tired of drinking coffee that tastes like dog urine. And thus, the team of the archeologists of the impossible is complete. Elijah Snow, Jakita Wagner and the Drummer prepare for their first mission: an incursion in a mysterious cave system inside a mountain in the Adirondacks.  
    Planetary # 1 - Warren Ellis John Cassaday
    the strangest "museum" / el más extraño "museo"

    The archeology begins. Deep in the shadowy caves, Elijah and Jakita discover the rests of what seemed to be a museum. Except, it’s a museum that contains objects and bones of creatures that do not belong to Earth. In a fascinating page, beautifully illustrated by John Cassaday, we see some of the enigmatic elements preserved in this museum: a Vulcania raven god (Cassaday draws a very menacing skeleton and as readers we can only imagine how scary that creature would be ‘in the flesh’), the hull of an alien spaceship that resembles a pre-medieval boat and a strange humanoid body that reminds us of Silver Surfer.

    Finally, the two explorers find Doc Brass, a legendary adventurer that disappeared in 1945. Brass then explains the discovery of the multiverse. It was an accident, of course. Brass and a group of heroes tried their best to bring WWII to an end, and they thought they could use ‘the brain’ –a strange and sophisticated supercomputer– to select a parallel reality in which the war had never happened. Unintentionally, they managed to see the shape of reality, “a theoretical snowflake”, a fractal, that encompasses countless different universes. But what they ignored was that from one of those alternative worlds, another group of supermen had also made the same discovery. And then a gruesome battle ensues.   

    As an avid comic book reader, Ellis rescues the figures of classic ‘pulp’ heroes from the 30s and 40s. So Doc Brass is actually Doc Savage, the man of bronze, and his allies are similar to the Shadow and other traditional characters from that era. Now, they must face more contemporary adversaries: a team of 7, a parallel version of the Justice League of America (Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Green Lantern, Aquaman and Martian Manhunter). 
    Planetary # 1 - Warren Ellis John Cassaday
    Impossible version of the Justice League / Imposible versión de la Liga de la Justicia

    Only Doc Brass survives, and knows he must protect ‘the brain’ at all costs. The most powerful weapon humanity has ever seen cannot be claimed by the wrong people. Doc Brass, just like the original Doc Savage is a very intelligent man with extraordinary abilities. He had eliminated his need for food and had stopped his aging, he had also learned how to control his mind to stay awake for years. He hasn’t closed an eye in decades, ever vigilant, constantly concerned of what might happen to ‘the brain’. Finally, relieved by the presence of Elijah and Jakita, he understands it’s no longer necessary to stay on watch. “I figure the year must be 1970 or thereabouts”, he says. Neither Elijah nor Jakita dare tell him the truth. It’s 1999. He has been awake for over 50 years. 

    Ellis proposal is brilliant, but it wouldn’t have amounted to much had it fallen in the hands of another artist. Only John Cassaday had the imagination and the visual creativity to bring to life the fantastic and the uncanny, the human and the superhuman. Whether it is a single planet or the entire multiverse, Cassaday’s undeniable talent shines in every page of this unforgettable first issue.

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    Planetary # 1 - Warren Ellis John Cassaday
    1: Doc Savage vs. Superman and Shadow vs. Batman
    2: Wonder Woman & Flash
    3: Green Lantern, Aquaman & Martian Manhunter

    Tendemos a confiar en el mundo tal como se nos presenta. Intentamos comprenderlo, temiendo que si fracasamos perderemos la cordura. Nos apoyamos en nuestros sentidos porque no tenemos otra alternativa. Pero el mundo, y por supuesto el universo, es infinitamente más complejo que eso.

    Warren Ellis nos recuerda cuán complejo puede ser. En las páginas de “Planetary”, el escritor británico explora el concepto del multiverso: “Una multitud de alternativas posibles, ninguna de ellas del todo real, todas contribuyentes de la realidad actual”. Para explorar esta miríada de posibilidades, lo que necesitamos es un equipo de “arqueólogos de lo imposible”. Planetary es ese equipo. Excepto que aún no son un equipo, no a menos que encuentren a su último integrante.

    En la secuencia inicial de “Por todo el mundo” (publicado en Planetary # 1, abril de  1999) hallamos a Elijah Snow comiendo en un cafetín barato, en el medio de una carretera abandonada. Ha estado comiendo allí por diez años. No quiere irse. Porque irse sería lidiar con las consecuencias de sus actos y con los dolorosos recuerdos de su pasado. Pero cuando Jakita Wagner llega y le ofrece 1 millón de dólares por un año de trabajo, él accede. Después de todo, está cansado de tomar un café que sabe a orina de perro. Y así se completa el equipo de los arqueólogos de lo imposible. Elijah Snow, Jakita Wagner y Drummer se preparan para su primera misión: una incursión en un misterioso sistema de cavernas dentro de una montaña en los Adirondacks.  
    La arqueología comienza. En el fondo de las lúgubres cuevas, Elijah y Jakita descubren los restos de lo que parecía ser un museo. Excepto que es un museo que contiene objetos y huesos de criaturas que no son de la Tierra. En una fascinante página, hermosamente ilustrada por John Cassaday, vemos los enigmáticos elementos preservados en este museo: un dios cuervo de Vulcania (Cassaday dibuja un esqueleto muy amenazante y como lectores sólo podemos imaginar lo aterradora que sería esta criatura 'en carne viva'), el casco de una nave alienígena que se asemeja a un bote pre-medieval y un extraño cuerpo humanoide que nos recuerda a Silver Surfer.
    Planetary # 1 - Warren Ellis John Cassaday
    Doc Brass (Doc Savage) still awake after half a century /
    Doc Brass (Doc Savage) todavía despierto después de medio siglo

    Finalmente, los dos exploradores encuentran a Doc Brass, un legendario aventurero que desapareció en 1945. Brass, entonces, les explica el descubrimiento del  multiverso. Fue un accidente, desde luego. Brass y un grupo de héroes hicieron un gran esfuerzo para dar fin a la Segunda Guerra Mundial, y pensaron que podrían usar ‘el cerebro’ –una supercomputadora extraña y sofisticada– para seleccionar una realidad paralela en la que la guerra nunca sucedió. De manera no intencional, lograron ver la forma de la realidad, “un copo de nieve teórico”, un fractal, que engloba incontables universos diferentes. Pero lo que ignoraban era que, en uno de esos mundos alternativos, otro grupo de súper-hombres también había hecho el mismo descubrimiento. Y así empieza una cruenta batalla.   

    Al ser un ávido lector de comics, Ellis rescata la figura de los clásicos héroes ‘pulp’ de los 30s y 40s. Así que Doc Brass es, de hecho, Doc Savage, el hombre de bronce, y sus aliados son similares a la Sombra y a otros personajes tradicionales de esa época. Ahora, deben enfrentarse a adversarios más contemporáneos: un equipo de 7, un versión paralela de la Liga de la Justicia de América (Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Green Lantern, Aquaman y Martian Manhunter). 

    Sólo Doc Brass sobrevive, y sabe que debe proteger al ‘cerebro’ a toda costa. El arma más poderosa que ha visto la humanidad no puede ser reclamada por las personas equivocadas. Doc Brass, al igual que el Doc Savage original es un hombre muy inteligente con habilidades extraordinarias. Él había eliminado su necesidad de comer y había detenido su envejecimiento, también había aprendido cómo controlar su mente para permanecer despierto por años. No ha cerrado los ojos en décadas, siempre vigilante, preocupado constantemente por lo que podría sucederle al ‘cerebro’. Finalmente, aliviado por la presencia de Elijah y Jakita, él entiende que ya no es necesario seguir en guardia. “Me figuro que el año debe ser 1970 o por ahí”, dice. Ni Elijah ni Jakita se atreven a decirle la verdad. Es 1999. Él ha estado despierto por más de 50 años.

    La propuesta de Ellis es brillante, pero no habría llegado muy lejos si hubiese caído en manos de otro artista. Solamente John Cassaday tenía la imaginación y la creatividad visual para traer a la vida lo fantástico y lo insólito, lo humano y lo sobrehumano. Ya sea con un sólo planeta o todo el multiverso, el innegable talento de Cassaday brilla en cada página de este inolvidable primer número.

    Originally Published at http://artbyarion.blogspot.com/2014/03/planetary-1-warren-ellis-john-cassaday.html

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    About the Author - Arion


    Arion, who is either from Chile or New York (it’s not really clear) writes a blog that the Outhouse steals on a regular basis.  Arion is by far the nicest of all the staff writers and the most well behaved only having been banned from one country.  One thing we really appreciate about Aroin is that he writes his reviews in English and Spanish and we hope someday he’ll translate this blurb for us.  We’re not so good at languages, just look at how well we write in English if you need proof.  You should bookmark Arion’s blog -  http://artbyarion.blogspot.com – and actually look at it.  There will be a quiz at the end of every month.

     


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