Review – Plastic Man #3: The Wrath of the Cabal

Comic Books DC This Week
Plastic Man #3 cover, credit to DC Comics.

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.

It makes sense in context. Credit to DC Comics.

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.

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