"Four": Jakita and Snow make their way into the Four Voyagers Plaza laboratories of the mysterious individuals known as The Four.
- In the last few months, I've seen a computer built in 1944 that could map the Multiverse, and something that stored ghosts as information, and I've walked the decks of a ship designed to sail between realities... and these are lost things, that could be salvaged or retrieved... and now I see these wonders, you utter scumbag, shiny-new and hidden away in a place paid for by God knows what atrocity...
Synopsis for "Four"
Jakita and Snow make their way into the Four Voyagers Plaza laboratories of the mysterious individuals known as The Four.
Days earlier, in a small film room, Snow is briefed by The Drummer on exactly who and what the Four are. The story begins in 1945, when the American government managed to sneak Nazi Germany's top scientists, the rocket builders, out of the country and put them to work in America on the space program. And whereas the Apollo program to launch rockets to the moon was done for public consumption to much fanfare ("the Cold War glamor"), the covert work that these scientists focused on -- Artemis -- was way ahead of Apollo. Artemis, according to The Drummer, was "Cold War direct, striking the victories only their boss and our boss would ever know about....Artemis was the real glory." And in June of 1961, Artemis sent a crew of four (at least two of whom had Nazi connections) to the moon: flight commander and project leader Randall Dowling, who would have been known as the American Einstein if not for his background. Pilot Jacob Greene, who flew classified missions in World War Two. Flight engineer William Leather. Physicist Kim Suskind, the daughter of the one Nazi brain trust. Once they were in space, something was waiting for them. And when their ship returned to Earth five days later, its crew were no longer completely human.
Once news of the Artemis crew's return reached their counterparts in Russia, they conducted their own launch to the moon on the exact same trajectory as Artemis on November 22, 1963. That spacecraft never returned. By 1964, The Four were running Artemis, using its funding for their own agenda.
At the end of the briefing, Snow is given a packet of information on the technology the Four have developed, and hidden from the rest of the world, over the years. Planetary uncovered the information, and the Four's whereabouts, while going through files recovered at the military base on Island Zero, left by what Artemis had become. Sickened by the corruption, he needs no further prodding to go after the Four.
Elijah and Jakita sneak into the building, override security measures to take the elevator to the top, and encounter William Leather, whose eyes and body radiate flowing blue electric fire. Easily overpowering Wagner and shrugging off Snow's powers, Leather leaves them alive, "because you amuse us." He is frank in explaining the Four's secrecy: "We're adventurers, and you can't all come along." Departing, he implies that Snow has evidently forgotten much about his own past, and warns that investigating the Four further might cost him a great deal. "What are your teammates not telling you? Who benefits from your lack of memory?" he says, ominously before leaving. Alone, Snow is left with much to think about.
Appearing in "Four"
- The Four
- Four Voyagers Plaza
- The Bleed (Flashback only)
- This issue is collected in Planetary Vol. 1: All Over the World and Other Stories.
- The Four are twisted analogues of the Fantastic Four.
- The 1961 Artemis moon mission is a reference to the actual debut date of the Fantastic Four (November 1961).
- Four Voyagers Plaza is a reference to Four Freedoms Plaza, which was the Fantastic Four's replacement headquarters after their original dwelling, the Baxter Building, was destroyed by Doctor Doom's son Kristoff Vernard. Also, the name "Four Voyagers Plaza" is sometimes cited as an alternate address for the Baxter Building.
- The Subterrans which are stuffed and displayed are a reference to Marvel Comics' Moloids, who are minions of the Fantastic Four villain Mole Man.