"Opak-Re": It's 1933, and a haggard Elijah Snow travels up a thin strip of river through a dense jungle, searching for the Lost City of Opak-Re. He finds it, gleaming and golden, at the river mouth. His arrival is met by an immense snake, whose attack Snow confronts with a pistol, with limited s
Planetary #17 is an issue of the series Planetary (Volume 1) with a cover date of December, 2003. It was published on October 22, 2003.
Synopsis for "Opak-Re"
It's 1933, and a haggard Elijah Snow travels up a thin strip of river through a dense jungle, searching for the Lost City of Opak-Re. He finds it, gleaming and golden, at the river mouth. His arrival is met by an immense snake, whose attack Snow confronts with a pistol, with limited success. His unique powers also prove somewhat effective, although ultimately it is Lord Blackstock, a member of British royalty who was raised in the jungle and preceded Snow to Opak-Re, who swings in on a vine and ends the battle. As white men ("minorities," as remark by Blackstock), they become friends, although Snow, who remains in the City to tell stories of the outside world, becomes even closer to the beautiful Anaykah, one of Opak-Re's intellectuals. Blackstock is an adventurer, a man with a "pathological fear of being bored," and Anaykah tells Snow that he basically views the people of Opak-Re as his subjects, even his slaves.
Evidently Anaykah changes his mind at some point, since when Snow leaves, promising to return one day, she and Blackstock have a child. Snow returns, 18 months later, to find the city submerging and Anaykah and her baby at the surface. Children fathered by white men are not welcome in Opak-Re. Telling Snow she loves him and will always love him, she begs Snow to care for the child, as she must return to her people. Snow accepts, later giving the child to a farming couple in Germany. They name her Jakita.
Appearing in "Opak-Re"
- Lord Blackstock (First appearance chronologically)
- Jakita Wagner (First appearance historically)
- This issue is collected in Planetary Vol. 3: Leaving the 20th Century.
- This issue's cover is design after the October, 1912 issue of All-Story Magazine, which contained the first printing of Tarzan of the Apes.
- The opening story of Elijah Snow moving up river is reminiscent of the river trip in Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness. This is emphasized with a steam-powered vessel, a crewman lost due to an attack from the shore, the theme of a man gone native, and a journal serving as part of the audience's window into the situation.
- Elijah Snow mentions the Cummings Scientific Club, which is a reference to American science-fiction author and early innovator in the genre Ray Cummings (1887 -1957). "Scientific Club" was the name of a series Cummings authored.
- Opak-Re is based on the fictional city Opar featured prominently in the Tarzan novels. Unlike Opak-Re, Opar is its exact opposite. Whereas Opak-Re is incredibly advanced spiritually, culturally, and technologically, Opar was a fallen utopian city and the populace was reduced to a mostly-savage band of sun-worshippers who practice human sacrifice.
- Elijah mentions that the Wagners undergone a strange experience with a crashed alien spaceship the year before. This is a reference to the origin of Superman, only this one appears to have ended less happily for those involved.