Oct 13, 2009

[Comics] Planetary/JLA: Terra Occulta

Planetary/JLA: Terra OccultaWhen DC first started releasing books under the Elseworlds banner, it was a pretty interesting concept for sure. While rival titles like Marvel's What If...? explored what might happened if one or two things changed during key events, Elseworlds were complete reimaginations of many of their most beloved characters in strange and interesting ways. It certainly helped enrich the notion of a dynamically thriving multiverse, as has been a common theme across DC stories especially in cases when the fans embraced a particular Elseworlds universe more than others.

So what happens when you merge the Elseworlds concept with a comic book line like Planetary, which already deals with a Multiverse and many alternate realities? Well, you certainly get a pretty interesting tale and one that makes you wonder if it's something that might eventually get included in some potential Planetary story in the sky or just another Elseworlds book that will remain independent of the rest of the DC universe.

Planetary/JLA: Terra Occulta is essentially an Elseworlds title that pits an alternative JLA versus an alternative Planetary. Where normally such crossover titles involve the two groups working together to defeat a larger foe, this time around things were reimagined such that the Planetary members were essentially the bad guys while the JLA were trying to find a way to defeat them.

In this world, Planetary pretty much behave in a manner similar to how The Four do back in the primary Wildstorm universe. Of course this time their global archeology missions have affected the likes of the JLA leading to things like the theft of Superman's original spacecraft, the capture and dissection of what could have been Martian Manhunter and the destruction of Themyscira using a space laser cannon of sorts to name a few. Thus we get the rather human-looking Batman, Wonder Woman and Superman meeting in secret in order to find a way to take out Planetary.

I didn't quite realize how much of an alternate reality this story was set in and initially assumed that maybe the JLA just didn't fully understand Planetary and its mission and thus were incorrectly seeing them as bad guys. Of course this wasn't the case as the comic went along and more and more I realized that this wasn't quite the same Planetary that I had been following in other titles. So that's definitely something you'll need to accept as you jump into this book.

Plus you also have to remember that the JLA won't be the usual powerhouses in flashy costumes. Given the interference and manipulations of Planetary during their formative years or during those key moments when they're supposed to discover their powers, they're now pretty much superheroes in hiding and in dire need of finding a way to deal with a group as elusive and powerful as Planetary without tipping them off somehow. This does present an interesting dynamic to things but it takes a bit of a while to really get there.

Overall, the story was just okay and a tad confusing at points. Then again, this is both an Elseworlds book and a Planetary book, so confusion is par for the course. It's not a rock'em, sock'em kind of action title but then what Planetary book is such, right?

Planetary/JLA: Terra Occulta gets 3.5 dead alien Lanterns out of 5.

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