|The Four (Wildstorm)
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The Four were part of a secretive U.S. government attempt to land on the moon in 1961. However, their rocket intersected The Bleed, and they returned transformed into super-humans. Using their involvement in private corporations and covert government projects, they began to create their own conspiracy of world domination. Along with the mystery of the Fourth Man's identity, the unrevealed nature of the Four and their true motives is a major subplot running through the series.
In Planetary #25, John Stone revealed the origin and goals of the Four.
Dowling had succeeded in contacting a parallel Earth with his earlier launches into space. He described this Earth as being ancient and populated entirely by unique super-humans (a pastiche of various Jack Kirby creations including Apokolips and the Inhumans.) This world, while being immensely powerful and technologically advanced, was also deeply paranoid. Seeing the potential for the Wildstorm Earth to become a threat, with the emergence of various super-humans and their tentative encounters with the Bleed, they were willing to make a deal with Dowling.
In exchange for suppressing any advances that could allow humanity to defend themselves from the parallel Earth, Dowling and his three crew-mates gained access to technology that would rebuild them into super-humans. They had 50 years in which to bring their world to heel, after which the inhabitants of this parallel world would invade and destroy the Wildstorm Earth. The Four would be spared from this invasion and free to travel the multiverse, vastly empowered with their superhuman abilities and the technologies they had stolen over the years.
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Absolute Edition vol. 01
Absolute Edition vol. 01 (Second Printing)
Absolute Edition vol. 02
HC vol. 01 - 'All Over The World And Other Stories'
HC vol. 02 - 'The Fourth Man'
HC vol. 03 - 'Leaving The 20th Century'
Omnibus HC - 'The Planetary Omnibus'
Reader - 'The Planetary Reader'
TPB vol. 01 - 'All Over the World and Other Stories'
TPB vol. 01 (3rd Printing) - 'All Over the World and Other Stories'
TPB vol. 01 (4th Printing) - 'All Over the World and Other Stories'
TPB vol. 02 - 'The Fourth Man'
TPB vol. 02 (3rd Printing) - 'The Fourth Man'
TPB vol. 03 - 'Leaving the 20th Century'
TPB vol. 03 (5th Printing) - 'Leaving the 20th Century'
TPB vol. 04 - 'Spacetime Archaeology'
#6 - '4'
#10 - 'Magic & Loss'
#14 - 'Zero Point'
#15 - 'Creation Songs'
#25 - 'In From the Cold'
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