Jack Carter is dead. When Jakita drags Elijah and the Drummer to England for his funeral, they find that not every story about Carter comes to the expected conclusion.
Planetary #7 is a love letter to Vertigo, that much is certain, but amidst the fond remembrance of a beloved character and publisher we also find a unique exploration into a side of Jakita that hasn’t really been seen up to this point.
“The eighties are long over. Time to move on.”
Now that’s a remarkable line, and there are plenty more in the issue that show Ellis and company are exploring the comics dynamics of a time now passed. Sure it’s a bit on the nose, but Planetary #7 tells a rather meta story of John Constantine through the lens of a character named Jack Carter. He embodies London, is an occult detective with a penchant to upend the rules and even chain smokes, but more importantly his arc in this issue resembles the character’s own real-world journey with both Vertigo and DC as we transition to a new period in the industry. It’s the type of book that utilizes a flagship property who first appeared in the mid 80’s under Alan Moore to explore the wavering impacts of the industry itself while also giving insight into the seemingly everlasting potential of the medium in general. It might be transitional, but the engrossing power of comics remains and Ellis is bringing that cycle to the forefront in Planetary #7.
While it’s incredibly interesting to see how the creative team sets up such comparisons and builds this narrative surrounding the Vertigo timeline, the issue doesn’t get lost in the meta synchronizations. There is a story happening that might not feel all that influential on the overarching Planetary narrative, but it captures a perspective of one of the lead characters, Jakita in a powerful way. We’ve never seen her this engaged in a mission from an almost personal level. Her fascination with Jack Carter is the driving motivation of the issue and it ultimately begins to resemble our own reflections on the properties handled. It’s obvious the creative team wanted to explore a larger picture in the industry with this issue, but the amount of depth found in every element in Planetary 37 is just astounding. Especially because it reads as such a simple occult detective story!
The visuals had a challenge in this issue and once again they impress. Capturing Constantine’s cheeky flair in a way that doesn’t feel like a cheap knockoff isn’t easy. And everything from the character depictions to the panel layout and even the magnificent cover brings back memories of the many great comics at Vertigo like Hellblazer and Sandman. It’s a treat for longtime fans for sure, but there is plenty to enjoy for those just enjoying the continuation of the Planetary series.
Ellis, Cassaday and the rest of the team involved with this series have surely found their footing by the seventh issue, exploring both a larger picture of the comics medium while hitting important character beats. It’s the type of issue that you can find a deep appreciation for regardless of whether or not you are even following the series and that’s a sure sign for greatness.
Planetary #7 is a love letter and more to Vertigo, that much is certain, but amidst the fond remembrance of a beloved character and publisher we also find unique character moments that allow the issue to flourish.
Planetary #7: Time to Be Someone Else
Writing - 10/1010/10
Storyline - 9/109/10
Art - 9/109/10
Color - 9/109/10
Cover Art - 9.5/109.5/10
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