Leaving the 20th Century

Author: Warren Ellis
Artist: John Cassaday
Titan Books
RRP 8.99
ISBN 1 84023 938 7
Available 22 April 2005

Their existence is a secret buried under riddles and conspiracies, their pasts are shrouded in mystery, and their mission is as diverse and complex as the universe itself. They are Elijah Snow, Jakita Wagner and The Drummer: Planetary. Snow initiates part of his plan to stop the mysterious four, makes a startling revelation about his past and uncovers information on the world's first manned space launch... in 1851. As more secrets crumble, more mysteries rise to take their place...

Leaving the 20th Century is the third volume in the Planetary series. If you haven't been following the events from the previous collections you're going be a little lost - this is not one of those graphic novels that allow you to dip in in the middle of the action.

John Cassaday's art brings an almost cinematic feel to Warren Ellis's script. Ellis's writing never really hits its mark until Chapter 18: The Gun Club (this volume collects together volumes 13-18) everything before this seems too slow moving and a little on the dull side. While Chapter 15 is intriguing - this sees an appearance by Sherlock Holmes and other fiction characters - I couldn't help feeling that a great opportunity was missed.

The Gun Club is concerned with a bizarre object that has been trapped in a fixed orbit above Earth for many years. But that orbit has become unstable and now this projectile is hurtling towards our planet. What secrets does it hold and, when its mysteries are revealed, how will it affect the way mankind views its history books?

Sadly, by the time you've reached The Gun Club this collection is over. None of the tales told here are really poor, just not what we've come to expect from Ellis.

Nick Smithson

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