Saturday, May 16, 2020

Plastic Man #1 Review

The Gummy Gumshoe

Writer: Gail Simone 
Artist: Adriana Melo 
Colorist: Kelly Fitzpatrick 
Letterer: Simon Bowland 
Cover Price: $3.99 
On Sale Date: June 13, 2018

Hooray! This means I get to play this amazing Plastic Man theme song!

Now check out my review of Plastic Man #1, right here!

Explain It!

Plastic Man is one of those characters that everybody wants to see in action, but few have any concrete ideas about how he should be. Is he insane, or goofy? Is he a do-gooder, or an agent of benevolent chaos? Frankly, there are few better writers to handle a character like Plastic Man than Gail Simone, who has a wide range of writing styles and is known to corral wayward characters into fan favorites. Her pairing with Adriana Melo here works wonderfully as the plotting is careful but not precious. This story is pretty well-paced throughout, a good portent when many six-issue miniseries are expanded stories that could have fit in one or two issues. But I digress.
Eel O’Brien is a detective, of sorts, going undercover with Sammy Mizoola and his crew to get some payback since they left him behind during the last job. On the plus side, he was infused with some gas or whatever, and that allowed Eel to become Plastic Man. So shouldn’t he really be thanking Sammy? I mean, he was a two-bit criminal before, now he can literally transform himself into Wonder Woman. I’d call that an upgrade. Eel slaps some hoods around for information, including one Benny, with whom he had a friendship before O’Brien went all stretchy.
Back home, Eel is chilling out on his bed—wait, Plastic Man sleeps? I guess it’s not too weird, I just thought he no longer needed to, considering he doesn’t have any organs or skeleton to my knowledge. Can someone make the Visible Plastic Man, please? Anyway, while he’s chillaxing, Obscura, agent of Spyral shows up and gives him some agita. She needs his shape-shifting skills to infiltrate some cabal, but before he can agree, Eel gets a call from his old pal Benny, who is scared witless. Plas rockets over to find Benny dead in a pool of blood, the letters “JLA” scrawled on a wall nearby! And whut-oh, the military has just shown up with their machine guns drawn! Well this isn’t going to end well for O’Brien.
The best thing in this book is the dialogue, which is as snappy and witty as Gail Simone has ever done. A balance has been struck with this iteration of Plastic Man: he’s definitely wacky and reckless, but also has to maintain some semblance of an ordinary life in the off-hours. Melo helps illustrate many of these jokes with expertise, like the time Plas grows two more abs to impress Obscura when she shows up. This feels like a creative team firing on all cylinders, and I’m glad to see it happening to one of comicdom’s most misunderstood characters. Not that I understand him, mind you. I’m much more an Elastic Lad kinda feller.

Bits and Pieces:

It's not a stretch (pause for thunderous applause) to suggest that Simone and Melo may be perfectly paired to handle this character. Great dialogue, some goofy moments, and a reasonably engrossing mystery are just what the doctor ordered. The reiterated "wang" jokes, not so much.


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