Summaries


ISSUE 2:
Island


Ish 2 Why would the Planetary gang care about the whereabouts of a slightly deluded, messianic, gun-toting, coke-sniffing revolutionary Japanese poet who demands to be called "Master Storyteller" and his tiny band of followers? Because the "where" in whereabouts is Island Zero.

Planetary has offices all over the world, and we get to see the Japan office, run by Shinya Fukuda. He's called in the field team because his sources have revealed that someone (our poet and friends) has landed on Island Zero, and they need to be tracked. He couldn't tell them this over the phone, and says he wouldn't say it out loud at all without Drummer in the room (if you missed the preview issue, this is our first exposure to Drummer's ability to communicate with machines and, in Jakita's words, be a "natural anti-surveillance device"). The public story is that Island Zero is off limits due to its location between Japan and Russia, and the fact that both countries claim it as their own. A political football since the end of WWII, it remains unpopulated by either nation. But that's just the official version. The real reason Island Zero is off limits is because of all the monsters.

Through the eyes of Master Storyteller and the Planetary team, we find that Island Zero is littered with the corpses of giant bugs, lizards, and other creatures, all of which parallel Godzilla and several of his movie foes from the '50s, '60s and '70s. Jakita relays to Snow that it all started the day after Hiroshima, when the island was enveloped by "bright lights and a terrible storm." The best intelligence available can't point to a cause--no atomic weapons were tested there, no alien contact was tracked, no inter dimensional activity was indicated. But five years later, the island was populated solely by monsters. Never breeding or leaving the island, the monsters slowly died off by the mid-'70s. A small defense and observation group, all bearing various multinational or unknown symbols on their uniforms has remained installed on the island to stand watch and preserve the secret.

A confrontation between this force and our nerve-gas carrying Master Storyteller results in the deaths of everyone present, save the Planetary group, who take advantage of the opportunity to search the base for more of the world's secret history (bearing fruit that we won't learn of until issue #6).

Analysis
mothplus This fun, self-contained story does a fine job of quietly pouring more history and subplot into our eager minds. We finally get to see some of Snow's powers in action; he uses his control over temperature to halt the advance of nerve gas, and this clarifies oblique references to ambient temperature around Snow dropping. Later, he says that cold doesn't bother him. We also gain more background on his history, as he speaks Japanese to Shinya. He tells Drummer he learned it in 1925, but doesn't go into further detail. We can assume he didn't learn it while living in Iowa out of boredom, so it's beginning to look as though Snow was at least a world traveler, possibly a covert adventurer. MothCovert enough, in fact, to have escaped the notice of Doc Brass (see issues 1 and five). There's surely more to come on this topic.Jakitashows us more of her powers as well, displaying incredible speed to accompany her already revealed strength and/or limited invulnerability.

The fact that there's a Planetary office in Japan, and it's apparent access to off-limits information, continues to underscore the resources that must be available to the organization.

The fun element to this tale is Ellis' suggestion that all those old Godzilla flick made in Japan were inspired by actual, living creatures. This introduces the X-Files-esque notion that governments might deliberately release a mix of truth and misinformation to the public that would inspire rumor and, in this case, fiction (the movies) that could serve to discredit anyone with a tiny piece of the truth. The best lies, after all, have a shred of truth as their foundation. This should also put us on alert that all realms of fantasy, pulp, and science-fiction that have developed in the twentieth century are fair game in this universe, not just the "one hundred years of superhero history" promised by the advance publicity for the title. (This theme will be seen again, and more directly tied the the Planetary-specific storyline, in issue eight!) It seems like an awful big undertaking, but if nothing else it provides Ellis with even more ammunition for for his endlessly involved storytelling. This is good news for us!

Questions Raised
What government or group controlled Island Zero's security force, and what information did Planetary uncover after searching the island further? Why wouldn't this group hide or dispose of the remains of these creatures to avoid detection? What brought the creatures of Island Zero to life, and how does it tie into Planetary's mission? The revelation that at least one of the island's monstrous residents is still alive begs the question, has the force that created the monsters the first time somehow still active, or has it revisited the island?


RDG

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