Meet Eel O’Brian: a petty thug, thief and con artist who runs a strip club. Hey, he’s also dead, at least according to the gang that tossed him out like last week’s garbage. Literally. Don’t worry, though he bounced back from all that, and now he’s trying to make a new life for himself, but the effort is stretching him pretty thin.
Plastic Man #1
Author: Gail Simone
Artist: Adriana Melo
Colorist: Kelly Fitzpatrick
Cover Artist: Aaron Lopresti
Publisher: DC Comics
What You Need To Know: Eel O’Brian is a con artist, believed to be dead by his former boss, and now Eel wants his revenge. Armed with the ability to stretch and shift into other objects, he’s tracking down his old partners in an attempt to learn the truth…
What You’ll Find Out: The story begins in an alleyway in Cole City where mob boss Sammy Mizola is about to beat up Eel O’Brian for screwing up a factory heist. Sammy ‘suitcase’ Mizola is a brutal man who Eel once worked for, called o after throwing his brother out of a moving train after stuffing him into a suitcase. While being beaten by two of Sammy’s guys, Eel keeps bantering, pissing off the thugs. They leave him in the street with broken legs. Once the mob has disappeared, a small child comes up to Eel on the floor, having witnessed the event, calling it ‘Wang’. The child introduces themselves as Suave Pado Swakatoon and walks off. Eel, sure no one is around, slips out of his smart suit and into his superhero suit, calling himself ‘Wang’ still unsure whether it is a good or bad thing.
Plastic Man bounces all the way to the house of Benny Turlin, recalling the events of the factory heist where both a guard and Eel got shot, and he doesn’t know who killed the guard. Plastic Man appears to Benny as wonder woman who he quickly attacks. Eel then grabs Benny and stretches into the sky asking him who killed the guard to which Benny says it was Eel.
Eel arrives at his job as night manager of a strip club where one of the girls, Doris, asks him out on a date. He declines saying he doesn’t date girls who want him (because he’s either cocky or just stupid). He goes home after work and remembers the factory heist where ‘The Duchess’ want whatever is in the safe in the factory. When the guard shows up he shoots a vat containing toxic waster which spills onto Eel. They take him with them but soon decide to throw him out of the car when it seems that he’s dead. Eel wakes up to a woman dressed in stealth gear holding a gun to his head. Her codename is Obscura and she works for Spyral. She goes to him for help in unraveling an ‘Illuminati-esque’ conspiracy, believing that most metahuman teams are compromised. As Eel declines, he gets a call from Benny Turlin asking for his help with a creature outside his door. Eel bounces away to Benny’s where he finds Benny dead and he’s written JLA into the wall in his blood. Eel begins to think what Obscura was saying was true as the metahuman team may be compromised. AS he is about to leave he is caught by the police where a woman says that she saw Plastic Man kill Benny in cold blood.
What Just Happened: This is a decent start to the miniseries of Plastic Man. Simone has written Plastic Man as a normal man trying to be a hero in a life of crime in an interesting manner. She has given new readers the chance to catch up and understand the story of this ‘hero’ without the need to read any past stories, which is an added bonus to this fun story. Simone has weaved the crude humor of Plastic Man into the tale of mystery and conspiracy to a joyful effect. Her dialogue is simplistic but delivers the story, and she doesn’t take it too seriously, with Eel constantly making jokes at the worst of times, but that’s his entire character so it doesn’t feel out of place, as cliche as most of them are.
Simone has forged new relations within Cole City and I would like to see more than just two pages on Plastic Man’s job as a night manager. His desire to not be desired is funny and could be explored further in his relationship with Doris, but hopefully, we will get this expansion in later issues. Eel has made a new friend in ‘Obscura’ whose seriousness to the situation directly contrasts his playful personality. The Yin-Yang duo should be more prominent later on but in this issue, their banter is enjoyable and shows how Plastic Man uses his powers outside of his hero time.
The art of Adriana Melo works with the story and with Plastic Man. The cartoonish style goes well with Plastic Man’s personality and the story set up for the mob. The stereotypical mobster has been channeled through the collective power of Simone and Melo to great effect. The mysterious nature of the city alone is emphasized in their use of dark and dingy alleys. However, Plastic Man is well known for breaking down what most people think a comic book is like, and ultimately this fails to be anything more than a good superhero comic book and you could get most of the same story and just as much fun in almost any other series. This version of Plastic Man is just another superhero in a crime-ridden city.
Final Thoughts: A fun start to the miniseries of Plastic Man, that at this rate will only need 6 issues before they start to lose readers. Melo as well has drawn Eel and the city around them as a shady place where dirty dealings going on and though Simone has encapsulated the quirkiness of the protagonist and uses his abilities in imaginative ways, there is much more to be desired.
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