Sunday, May 26, 2013

Planetary - The Meta Man - J.D. Coughlan

SET-UP: Tying up one of the series' biggest loose ends, the Planetary field team finally tracks down the fictional man who escaped into reality from issue nine. He has since killed several people.

Panel 1: Wide shot. The fictional man's (whom I'll call "Meta") hideout; a disused subway tunnel. Jakita has him pinned against the wall. Elijah stands behind her confidently. Drums clutches his head in confusion behind him. Meta is a small, unassuming bald man dressed scruffily.

META: It doesn't matter! I know the truth!

ELIJAH: The truth is, you killed 27 people. I don't care what you are, that makes you a cunt in my book.

DRUMS: Hey, I'm getting some weird vibes off this guy...

Panel 2: Close on Meta. He is staring upwards, smiling, as if seeing the light of Heaven. Jakita glares at him, if possible to include her.

META: They weren't real. You're not real. I'm not real.

META: As I was going up the stair, I meta man who was not there...

META: Hehehehehehe!

JAKITA: Goddamn it, Elijah, I know the philoscientists wanna check this guy out, but if I have to listen to any more of this New Age hippie crapola--

Panel 4: Wide shot, same as Panel 1, but now Jakita and Meta's positions are reversed. He is holding her pinned to the wall. Jakita is shocked. Even Elijah breaks his facade; his body language alarmed. Drums clutches his head, bent over in pain.

META: Once you know the truth, the fiction is easy to rewrite.



Panel 5: Meta throws Jakita into Elijah and the Drummer, knocking them both over. Again, he should be a small, skinny guy, so this should look impressive.

META: I thought I had escaped before, but this is just another level of fiction.


Panel 6: Close on Meta. He is looking right at us, grinning, his eyes terrifying.

META: But I will break free. One page of script can't hold me.



  1. I'm not at all familiar with Planetary (which is going to make this week interesting at the least), but I liked a few aspects of this page.

    I liked Meta Man's play on words and rhyming. Very creepy. I also love that sudden reversal in Panel 4. Also, the last line from Meta is a great page turn, even though there technically shouldn't be one, haha.

    1. Or should there!?

      I actually didn't mean for his last time to rhyme, but there it is.

      I'd recommend Planetary highly. I couldn't put this in my Why post since I wrote that in-character, as it were, but each issue deals with a different aspect of sci-fi/fantasy. E.g. Japanese monster movies, ghost stories, superhero comics, 1980s British comics, 1950s B-movies, etc. It's a must for any fan of storytelling.

    2. I've been reading Ellis' pitch document for it earlier to get an idea/overview of the series. It does sound pretty cool. It inspired me enough to get an idea seeded in my head anyway.

  2. Cheese us, that is one creepy script, and the last line just sells it. You can definitely see Cassaday knocking this one out.

    BTW, I agree, this is one huge plot hole, but oh man do you plug it nicely. Sweet.

  3. So how DO you stop someone who can rewrite reality?

    For that matter, if Meta Man is so aware of his situation, what's keeping him from realizing that, realistically, he actually CAN'T break free?

  4. Great page JD.

    It's been so long since I've read Planetary that I can't remember this character. About time for a re-read - I'm not sure I ever read that late final issue.

    As the others have said, you successfully built a really creepy atmosphere. I also really enjoyed the rhyming/wordplay.

    You've written the characters true to how I remember them.

  5. Perfect idea. Super meta (Obviously haha) but that is so in keeping with the book its perfect. You write your antagonist with a creep vibe that almost puts him over as the victim of some cruel creative joke and that just makes him feel even more dangerous on the page. Also Panel 4 switching their positions is a sweet visual way to show Meta's powers. Classic use of the show don't tell.


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