Week 6, Planetary: My brain hurts.

I would be lying if i said I didnt feel overwhelmed reading Volume 1 of Planetary for the first time…. or the second…. or the third. Reading Planetary forced me to pause after each issue and seriously think about what was happening and what it was representing (assisted by going down extensive internet rabbit holes – turns out there are some m a j o r Snow stans out there).

over my headGif of me entering my fifth message board to work out all the references in Planetary.

BUT once I had got to grips with Planetary and the characters I realised I loved the plots being contained to their own issue. It was refreshing to dive straight into the work of Planetary as an organisation and who the characters are, with my perspective of them being isolated in the present. Unlike with Black Panther where I felt like I needed to learn the rich backstory of Wakanda and T’Challa, Planetary is set up in a way that this isn’t necessary.

After the first unit of this module I thought I had a pretty good idea of how I defined ‘Superhero’ and had definitely broadened my definition from when I started this course. However, reading Planetary has made me re-assess this definition all over again. Yes, they have super-powered enemies (The Four), their overall goal is to help the Earth, protect it, and enlighten its citizens to some of the wonders of the universe(s). However, as Snow critiques, they don’t really do much to stop these bad things from happening in the first place…. and despite criticising The Four for hiding things from the world we never actually see Planetary share anything with the world either (although correct me if my memory is wrong here- a very likely possibility). I understand they are a secret organisation, and that to be a superhero you don’t have to recieve recognition to validate the goodness of your deeds. Furthermore, following the consequences of Planetary’s actions on the everyday world would not fit into the single plotline per issue criteria but I can’t help but feel like I need more context to the implications of their actions for the ‘greater good’ in order to be able classify them as superheroes. I’m sure the answers to many of my musings regarding their superhero status lies in reading the rest of Planetary… for now I’m content sitting on the fence of this Superhero debate and reading all your blog posts to help me!

8 thoughts on “Week 6, Planetary: My brain hurts.

  1. Hey Katie, great post! I went through the same dilemma of having to reconsider my definition of what a hero and anti-hero is, as well as attempting to classify the characters in Planetary into each category. I also enjoyed the idea of a secret organization and look forward to reading more comic like this one in the future.

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  2. Great post Katie, I also enjoyed how the comic got straight into the thick of things without the readers needing to know previous knowledge, this is part of the reason to why I think I enjoyed Planetary as much as I did. With Black Panther, there was simply too much going on at one time and I donut it hard to keep track of all the characters, whereas in Planetary, although there are a lot of characters, they are slowly introduced and not all introduced in the first issue.

    Daryl Hsiung

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  3. Hey Katie!! I’m right there with you when a lot of these references and subtleties went right over my head. Once you get a good grasp of everything this comic is trying to do though it is really quite good. Also I couldn’t agree with you more how this comic really stretches our definitions of superhero past the typical superheroes of Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman. Great post!!!

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  4. Hi Katie!
    I will admit that a lot of references went over my head as well, however whenever I did catch one I found it to be almost like a reward as if I were playing a game within the story telling. You’re right ‘greater good’ is a subjective term just like the ‘good guys’ in war were written by the winners. I think this contradiction shown really adds to the story though. It shows that although everyone may have an idea of ‘greater good’ it may not be necessarily right or even just. Great post!

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  5. Great post Katie! I agree with you that the effects of Planetary’s actions make it hard to define them as superheroes. I think they fall into a grey area and definitely don’t fit into the typical superhero category. Also, in contrast to your opinion, I felt that each issue having it’s own storyline made the series less enjoyable.

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  6. I like to think of planetary as “people with powers” , not really superhero’s. It’s an important distinction as I find we think anyone with powers automatically makes them a superhero. Which when you think about it really makes no sense. If I got powers rn, I wouldn’t be going out fighting crime (how would I know where it even is??), I would either study my powers using science or fight in wars.
    Hardik Paliwal

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  7. Hey Katie, awesome post!
    I have to agree with your reaction to the comic, it was a lot to take in at first. It’s like with the first volume, they were just giving you a peak behind the curtain of a massive universe that is filled with possibilities. I also liked that for each issue, there was no background knowledge required.

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  8. Hey Katie,

    I actually found Planetary fun and exciting. It reminded very much of Alan Moore’s League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. I wont lie the first volume is difficult to digest. There is a lot of set-up and mystery surrounding each character and the plot seems to be heading to a certain direction without giving a lot away. So far the secret organization theme seems to be fun!

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