Plastic Man #3 – Gail Simone, Writer; Adriana Melo, Artist; Kelly Fitzpatrick, Colorist
Ray – 8.5/10
Ray: Gail Simone’s reinvention of Plastic Man’s origin often feels like a 1980s comedy-noir, and it makes a lot more sense once you realize that she’s been planning to do this comic for years. It could have easily been a New 52-style reboot for the character and worked perfectly, although now it feels rather out of step with the character’s return in Dark Nights: Metal and The Terrifics. With multiple plots surrounding Plastic Man, he still manages to stay at the center of the story and display his bizarre powers in hilarious fashion in a story that’s slightly more serious than the average. The main villain of the series is “Sammy the Suitcase”, a stock mobster who was involved in the accident that transformed Eel and will now do anything to keep him silenced. Of course, he’s more than a little busy with his own personal issues, such as a girlfriend who wants to be a songstress but can’t carry a tune. Plastic Man, meanwhile, is busy trying to infiltrate the mysterious Cabal, a villain group that happens to boast Man-Bat as one of its personal bodyguard. He gets around for a giant bat.
The biggest strength of Simone’s take on Eel is that she gives him something to fight for. That would be the “Suave Prince”, a street kid who he bonded with last issue and who is in just as much danger as he is when the Cabal turns on them both. That gives the issue a little emotional heft in the fight scenes, although not too much – Plastic Man’s transformations still provide a lot of comedy, especially one increasingly absurd segment involving Harley Quinn’s many costumes. The trope of the tough mafia guy having to protect a little kid has been done before many times, of course, but both Plastic Man’s irreverent tone and the kid’s edge and willingness to pick a fight make it stand out. The subplots, involving the trio of women seeking answers to prove Eel isn’t a murderer, and the reveal of just how far Sammy the Suitcase will go to preserve his secrets, aren’t quite as compelling. I think that’s just because Gail’s Plastic Man is a fantastic character, both in visuals and dialogue, and the book is much better when he’s the focus.
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GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.