The Characters of Planetary. Click on a name to view the biography. SPOILER ALERT: The information provided here includes much, but not necessarily all, of the relevant information revealed about the characters over the course of the series. If you're just now getting on board with the series, or haven't read all of the issues, be aware that this page could reveal key details about the characters and plot elements.
Elijah Snow Jim Wilder Sherlock Holmes Jakita Wagner Doc Brass Science City Zero The Drummer The Spider Island Zero Ambrose Chase Lord Blackstock Jack Carter The Four John Stone Shek Chi-Wai Anna Hark
The Four Voyagers
Dr. Randall Dowling, Kim Suskind, William Leather, and Jacob Greene - four members of the secret Artemis team, participants in the top-secret US moon shot in June 1961, are Planetary's main adversaries and the source of many of earth's problems for the last 40-plus years. The apparently-failed moon shot brought the crew into close proximity of a sudden translunar event involving a manifestation of a Snowflake, and Bleed energy (as shown in Issue 6). (This was long believed to have imbued them with their terrifying powers, though Issue 25 shows the real source of their abilities, and the devil's bargain they made to get them.) While overt world domination seems within the grasp of this powerful group, they have thus far preferred to work behind-the-scenes to control earth and hoard exotic technologies. The Four Voyagers are on the "human adventure," and have deemed the rest of us unworthy to join them.
This has brought them into direct conflict with Elijah Snow, Planetary's Fourth Man, who has dedicated himself to uncovering the secret history of the world. As he has come to discover, that history often involves the machinations of The Four. Snow has uncovered their involvement in the destruction of extraterrestrial life: at least one whole planet had all of its inhabitants slaughtered just to house The Four's weaponry (Issue 14), and other aliens or hidden civilizations on earth have been prevented from contact the earth (resulting in a preemption of what might have given the Wildstorm Universe a collection of heroes resembling those of DC's Silver Age, as dramatically shown in Issue 10). Snow has even had to thwart attempts by The Four to capitalize on his own writings in the Planetary Guide; he narrowly prevented The Four from accessing the "Dreamtime," a Bleed-like domain outside of normal space and time, by intervening with his field team using facts he left out of the Guide (as shown in Issue 15).
Snow and the Planetary organization has been trying to track the Four for some time. The first chronological encounter between The Four and Planetary that we've witnessed saw early successes of the Planetary field team against Leather and Suskind (Issue 14), but eventual defeat at the hands of Dowling's awesome technology. This ultimately lead to the capture of Snow and a surgically precise mind wipe performed by Dowling to cripple his ability to threaten The Four. While The Four enjoyed the challenge of Planetary, they weren't about to risk the possibility of defeat. The Four threatened to kill the Planetary team outright, however, if Snow ever regained his memory and continued his pursuit. Despite this threat, Jakita Wagner tracked down the amnesiac Snow and recruited him back into the Planetary fold. Eventually recovering most of his memories, Snow issued a challenge to The Four (in Issue 12) to let them know he had returned.
Since getting his memory back, Snow has begun a strategy of divide-and conquer. He captured Leather in Issue 18, interrogated Leather in Issue 22Issue 22 and seemed to remove Jacob Greene from the equation by stranding him on a massive space ark on it's way out of our solar system (Issue 20). He finally faced Dr. Randall Dowling and Kim Suskind for their final showdown in (Issue 26).
The Four are analogs to Marvel's Fantastic Four, as seen from the similarities of their origins and the powers manifested so far. They seem to be Ellis' commentary on the dominance of Marvel Comics characters in the sixties, along with a critique of the squandered opportunity by such characters to make the world around them a better place. A brief biography of each follows.
Dr. Randall Dowling - Physicist, Engineer, Artemis Project Leader and Flight Commander
Dowling was involved in off-the-books government projects from his earliest appearances. He was a Science City Zero scientist in the early 1950s (Issue 8), experimenting on disappeared U.S. citizens during the Red Scare days of the Cold War. After the Artemis shot, his already-formidable scientific ability seems to have been enhanced by access to alien/bleed technologies. While it is easy to suppose that his intellect has been enhanced, there has been no indication to date whether it is somehow superhuman. The stretching or shape-changing abilities of Reed Richards of the Fantastic Four was adapted (in an intriguing, but non-specific way, by Ellis) were mimicked in the form of the mental ability to extend his mind and "lay eggs" in the minds of others in close proximity.
Kim Suskind - Artemis Project Physicist
Suskind, the daughter of a Nazi scientist, gained powers very much like those of Sue Storm, Invisible Girl of the Fantastic Four: she can turn invisible and project invisible force fields. Though needing special goggles to see while invisible (Sue Storm/Richards doesn't require the additional equipment), she is a more dangerous foe for two reasons. First, she seems to posses some measure of super strength. She ripped solid metal doors off of their hinges with her bare hands in Issue 14. Second, she uses her force field powers in inventive and ruthless ways: Snow has seen her explode people from within, and she has been seen projecting her force field with dangerous, potentially impaling spikes. Like Sue with Reed, Kim appears to be romantically involved with Dowling. Though she and Dowling's genomes are too damaged to breed successfully (see Issue 14 for an example) as a result of the event that gave them their powers, they have still tried. According to William Leather, Suskind may be the only person Dolwing cares about besides himself.
William Leather - Artemis Flight Engineer, Aircraft Designer
William Leather believed he was a descendant of John Leather, the Dead Ranger (the Wildstorm universe's Lone Ranger, as shown in Issue 22). John Leather had a son, Bret Leather, on January 1, 1900, making him a Century Baby, a being of extraordinary power and higher purpose. Bret grew up to take the role of The Spider and fought along side Doc Brass and his group. Born into the family of Bret Leather, William assumed he would inherit the Leather call to greatness and The Spider's powers. But William was the product of an affair between Bret's wife and an associate, and without any genetic tie to Bret, William Leather has not inherited any of Bret's power. He has no part of the Leather bloodline.
Randall Dowling somehow knew of Leather's situation and recruited him to work with the Artemis team, enticing him another chance to become great. This brought him into conflict with people like Elijah Snow and S.T.O.R.M. agent John Stone back iin the 50s and 60s. He once came under fire from Stone while on board Captain Nemo's ship The Nautilus. Snow was aboard, and it was revealed in Issue 22 that Leather shot someone close to Snow during that encounter.
Around 40 years after joining forces with Dowling, Leather realized that Dowling was primarily out for himself, and so Leather formally broke with the rest of the Four. He still maintains ties with them when it seems mutually beneficial to do so, but the relationships is strained; Issue 18 saw Leather arguing with Dowling before breaking off to confront the Planetary field team.
Leather's powers seem somewhat similar to those of the Fantastic Four's Johnny Storm, but where The Human Torch's powers all revolve around fire, heat, and light, Leather's powers seem to be of a more general nature; he seems to crackle with an unidentified energy. Flight and super-strength are also among his powers, and he's beaten Jakita Wagner in hand-to-hand combat. He has been beaten in return, though. Jakita beat him after getting the drop on him in Issue 14, and The Drummer seemed to catch him off guard with explosives in Issue 18. It's almost as though his powers are more mentally driven than physically embedded: if he's not concentrating, he's as vulnerable as anyone else. When Jakita beat him in issue 14, she "punched him in the brains" periodically to keep him subdued, and he was stabbed in the brain with an unknown weapon in Issue 18 to keep him too disoriented to escape. He remains a prisoner of the Planetary organization at this point in time, having his personality (and eyes) reconstructed.
Jacob Greene - Artemis Project Pilot
Jacob Greene, like his logical Fantastic Four counterpart Ben Grimm/The Thing, is the least human of The Four. His hide, looking like some kind of combination of heavy gray skin and stone, covers a misshapen, veiny, and tumorous form. Some of his joints (wrists and ankles) appear to be bleeding a bit (or is that lava?), as though his hide wasn't designed to accommodate the flexibility his bones and muscles employ. His eyes are a reddish-orange with triangular pupils. His tongue looks like a red, stone cylinder behind his stone-plate teeth, and as a result he can barely speak. Never the smartest of The Four, is deformity and presumed isolation has left him a vicious monster, as seen in Issue 20 where he rampaged through an alien ark, killing anything or anyone in his path. Snow, calling Greene "inexhaustible cannon fodder" and "an unkillable soldier," opted to avoid engaging Greene directly. Instead, he stranded him on a spacecraft on its way out of our solar system. Whether or not Dowling has the equipment, wherewithal, or inclination to try to retrieve Greene is unknown. But it seems as though Dowling could build or find a spacecraft to save Greene if he wanted. The Planetary team may not have seen the last of Jacob Greene.
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