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-by Christopher Walton

Ruling the world? Damn right, one covertly and one overtly, and both together
(although they never meet) in this superlative one shot. Lets face it, as the
past year has progressed, Warren Ellis' two Wildstorm titles have developed
into two of the most
entertaining books on the market. So, therefore, this meeting has a lot to
live up to.

Potential these days means an awful lot in today's comic book market place.
Hype on books can make or break a title and for many professionals in the
industry, they are only as good as their last book. One would hope that over
his illustrious career Warren
Ellis would have pushed himself beyond that bracket. But if Ellis really had
to stake his reputation on his last work, Planetary/ The Authority would rank
him as high still.

What makes this book so special? Well it's a combination of three simple
factors, charisma, action and mystery. The Authority is not about being big,
it's about being bigger; Planetary is not about not knowing , it's about
knowing. Both core concepts are
seamlessly entwined together in one perfectly crafted tale. But beyond the
set-piece action sequences and curious intrigue shines Ellis' trademark
storytelling technique: charisma.

Are there any better written characters in comic books today than Jenny
Sparks and Elijah Snow? Well, yes, but this pair (and they were a pair for
one fleeting moment!) come pretty close. The deep mistrust of anybody in the
spiral of lies Elijah Snow finds
himself in makes him perfect foil for the readers sympathy. Both reader and
character want to know as much as each other. It's a simple trick, and one of
the oldest in comic books, but one that is often forgotten by many creators
working with a similar approach. Making a character human gives the reader a
basis to take their thrills from.

Jenny Sparks charisma is different to that of Snow, she excels in her
would-be "superhero" role. Barking orders better than the much exulted "Cap"
ever has,
chain-smoking her way through every crisis. A typical Ellis creation and much
missed. This book shipped in the same week as the first issue of her own self
titled mini-series and half the charm is seeing Jenny back in action.
Kudos too to Phil Jiminez. A sublime job on pencils that beats George Perez
at his own game. Not as flashy as Hitch (former Authority penciller), grand
as Quitely (current Authority penciler) or as smooth as current Planetary
artist John Cassidy, but more
consummately spectacular. Hopefully this prestige project will propel
Jiminez's career forward, as he so infinitely deserves over other less
talented individuals on higher profile projects.
Planetary/ The Authority: Ruling the World is a comic book for the
twenty-first century. Self-contained and easily accessible, but a part of an
overwhelming, undiscovered whole. Classy, sublime and spectacular, this
crossover delivers more thrills for your buck
than any blockbuster you'll see this summer. Oh, if only it were a summer
blockbuster! It already is for comic book fans.

Published by DC/ Wildstorm June 2000.

Copyrightę2000 Christopher Walton