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Planetary # 3 - Warren Ellis John Cassaday

Written by Arion on Tuesday, May 27 2014 and posted in Blog
Planetary # 3 - Warren Ellis John Cassaday
Perhaps the origin of ghosts is as primordial as mankind’s most ancient rituals. Death is not always the final answer, some spirits seem to linger on the physical plane, seeking revenge, demanding justice, or simply, trying to complete one final task, one last obligation, before resting in peace.

After visiting the monsters graveyard in a Japanese island, the Archeologists of the Impossible are now in Hong Kong. There are rumors of a phantom cop, a spectral figure that hunts and exterminates criminals. Elijah Snow, Jakita Wagner and the Drummer show up in Hong Kong’s Planetary offices, and they start investigating the ghost’s origin.

In the same way Warren Ellis explored the classic superhero prototype (from ‘pulp’ adventurers to the Justice League of America) in “All Over the World” and B-movie monsters in “Island”, now the British writer reconstructs the timeless archetype of a vengeful soul, in this case exemplified by an honorable Hong Kong police officer that was betrayed and murdered by his partner.

As contrived as this concept may seem, it has been used countless of times in the superhero genre. Literally hundreds of characters have sworn to avenge the death of a loved one (Peter Parker avenges his dead uncle, Daredevil avenges his dead father, Punisher avenges his dead wife and children, Batman, Nightwing and the second Robin avenge their dead parents, etc.). And Warren Ellis takes that as the basic premise of “Dead Gunfighters” (published in Planetary # 3, June 1999). 
Planetary # 3 - Warren Ellis John Cassaday
the ghost of Hong Kong / el fantasma de Hong Kong

The ghost cop of Hong Kong isn’t the first and certainly won’t be the last one. He is one of many, one of the hundreds of men that were unjustly murdered and cruelly betrayed by those they trusted the most. Planetary’s archeological investigation uncovers a gigantic and sinister structure, trapped inside of it, there are over a hundred squeezed bodies, forever in agony, forever waiting for redemption. This impressive scene is fantastically illustrated by John Cassaday, an artist with the ability to draw over one hundred contorting bodies and a fascinating structure that doesn’t seem to belong to our world.

Elijah Snow, Jakita Wagner and the Drummer understand that helping the cause of the ghost guarantees only one thing: the arrival of a new ghost. Because murder and betrayal are frequent in Hong Kong; and, undoubtedly, they are also frequent in the rest of the world.  

In this third issue, Cassaday focuses not only on fast-paced action sequences but also on the way those sequences are presented. There is an exquisite sense of design, a visual sophistication that very few artists could achieve. Particularly, I love the first pages, they are examples of clean and effective graphic narrative. A demonstration of Cassaday’s talent can be seen in his marvelous images and his meticulous architecture. 
Planetary # 3 - Warren Ellis John Cassaday
vengeance against criminals /
venganza contra los criminales

Tal vez el origen de los fantasmas es tan primordial como los ritos más antiguos de la humanidad. La muerte no siempre es la respuesta final, algunos espíritus se aferran al plano físico, buscando venganza, exigiendo justicia o, simplemente, intentando completar una tarea final, una última obligación, antes de descansar en paz.

Después de visitar un cementerio de monstruos en una isla japonesa, los Arqueólogos de lo Imposible están ahora en Hong Kong. Hay rumores de un policía fantasma, una  figura espectral que caza y extermina criminales. Elijah Snow, Jakita Wagner y Drummer van a la oficina de Planetary en Hong Kong, y empiezan a investigar el origen del fantasma.

Así como Warren Ellis exploró el prototipo clásico del superhéroe (desde aventureros ‘pulp’ hasta la Liga de la Justicia de América) en “Por todo el mundo” y los monstruos de películas de serie B en “Isla”, ahora el escritor británico reconstruye el arquetipo atemporal de un alma vengativa, en este caso ejemplificada por un honorable oficial de la policía de Hong Kong que fue traicionado y asesinado por su compañero.
Planetary # 3 - Warren Ellis John Cassaday
extraordinary design and amazing architecture / extraordinario diseño y arquitectura asombrosa

Aunque parezca un concepto predecible, ha sido utilizado incontables veces en el género superheroico. Literalmente cientos de personajes han jurado vengar la muerte de un ser querido (Peter Parker venga a su tío muerto, Daredevil venga a su padre muerto, Punisher venga a su esposa e hijos muertos, Batman, Nightwing y el segundo Robin vengan a sus padres muertos, etc.). Y Warren Ellis toma esto como la premisa básica de “Pistoleros muertos” (publicado en "Planetary" # 3, junio de 1999). 
Planetary # 3 - Warren Ellis John Cassaday
The details of destruction / los detalles de la destrucción

El policía fantasma de Hong Kong no es el primero y ciertamente no será el último. Él es uno de muchos, uno de los centenares de hombres que fueron injustamente asesinados y cruelmente traicionados por aquellos en quienes más confiaban. La investigación arqueológica de Planetary descubre una gigantesca y siniestra estructura, atrapados en ella, hay más de cien cuerpos que se retuercen, eternamente en agonía, eternamente en espera de la redención. Esta impresionante escena está fantásticamente ilustrada por John Cassaday, un artista con la habilidad de dibujar más de cien cuerpos contorsionados en una fascinante estructura que no parece pertenecer a nuestro mundo.

Elijah Snow, Jakita Wagner y Drummer entienden que ayudar a la causa del fantasma garantiza una sola cosa: la llegada de un nuevo fantasma. Porque el asesinato y la traición son frecuentes en Hong Kong; e, indudablemente, también son frecuentes en el resto del mundo.

En este tercer número, Cassaday se enfoca no sólo en secuencias de acción trepidante, sino también en la forma en la que esas secuencias son presentadas. Hay un exquisito sentido de diseño, una sofisticación visual que muy pocos artistas podrían lograr. Particularmente, me encantan las primeras páginas, son ejemplos de una narrativa gráfica pulcra y efectiva. Una demonstración del talento de Cassaday puede verse en sus maravillosas imágenes y su meticulosa arquitectura.

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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 - – and actually look at it.  There will be a quiz at the end of every month.


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