Planetary/Batman: Night of Earth, is a meta-fictional examination of the Batman mythos. The concept of Planetary is these three people investigate the mysteries of the 20th century which involve characters from various pop culture/comic books. (The villains of the main series are basically the Fantastic Four.) With the tag line “Archaeologists of the Impossible,” it was one of my favorite series.

Apparently in the world of Planetary there is a Gotham city, but no Batman. Dick Grayson is head of the Planetary office in Gotham, and has an assistant named Jasper, which is basically the Joker. The crew is called in to find a fugitive whose powers involved being able to cross different realities.

In a nice nod to DC’s Crisis on Infinite Earth’s, the leader Elijah recalls a “partial multiversal collapse” in 1986 where several universes folded into each other. It’s also theorized that Gotham city itself is some sort of focal point in the multiverse.

As the three find the fugitive they end up hopping realities and encountering different versions of Batman, including the original version of Batman who carries guns and is willing to kill. In a much more humorous moment, female agent Jakita run afoul of the Adam West Batman, who takes her out with his Bat-Female Villain Repellent. Frank Miller’s Dark Knight Returns Batman makes an appearance before the story comes to a close.

It’s a clever idea for a crossover to have the concept of different versions of a character be part of the actual story. It’s also a well-made crossover in the sense that there’s no reason it can’t be considered canon for the Planetary series. Recommended for a good quick read.

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