Review – Plastic Man #5: Plastic Men?

Comic Books DC This Week
Plastic Man #5 cover, credit to DC Comics.

Plastic Man #5 – Gail Simone, Writer; Adriana Melo, Artist; Kelly Fitzpatrick, Colorist


Ray – 8/10

Corrina: Who Is That Guy?

Ray: Gail Simone has done a good job of combining the natural comedy of Plastic Man with a darker conspiracy twist in Plastic Man, and Plastic Man #5 finally lays bare the core mystery at its center – the identity of the Cabal. Last issue saw Plastic Man becoming convinced that there was no such thing as a Cabal and rejecting Obscura for fooling him for so long. The only problem is, there is a Cabal. It consists of Hugo Strange, Doctor Psycho, Amazo, Queen Bee, and Per Degaton, and it’s been manipulating Plastic Man through this entire run.

Villain teams are always a lot of fun when they’re able to cut loose, and the snarkiness of this group of villains as they discuss possible additions is hilarious. I also liked what Simone did with Man-Bat – this is a darker twist than what Tynion is doing with Justice League Dark, with some shades of the Hulk in this genius scientist with a barely caged monster within, but it provides a few really effective scenes this issue.

The Cabal. Credit to DC Comics.

Convinced that he has no more mission, Plastic Man spends a day at the fair with his foster kid Pado and one of the girls from the club. It’s a sweet scene – until it becomes clear that this is a goodbye, with Eel turning Pado over to foster care because he doesn’t trust himself to care for a kid long-term. That’s when the issue’s main focus comes into play. As Eel’s life collapses around him, he gets a call from Obscura – who is currently being attacked by Plastic Man. Or, at least, something that looks a lot like him. It’s the Cabal’s final plot – a Durlan hostage that they’ve trained to become a doppelganger of Plastic Man and destroy everything he’s built for himself. The scenes towards the end of the issue, with the two shape-shifters mutating into increasingly bizarre things, are easily the highlight of the issue. While Gail Simone is great at comedy, she also has an excellent handle on the dark and creepy. This issue combines the two neatly.

Corrina: There are villains aplenty this issue, and they’re terrific, and there’s even another Plastic Man–well, a Durlan. I love Melo’s twisty transformations of Eel and the Durlan, as Eel’s temper seemingly gets the best of him.

But the panels that stuck with me the longest were the most personal: Pado and Eel’s farewell. It’s messy. Pado feels betrayed by Eel giving up on him, while Eel believes he’s doing the right thing for Pado. But what Pado feels the most under his anger is abandonment and that cuts to the bone.

Come for Eel’s oddball sense of humor and the confrontations with the villains. Stay for the emotions that’ll break your heart.

To find reviews of all the DC issues, visit DC This Week.

Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.

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