Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Plastic Man, Volume 1: On the Lam! by Kyle Baker Review

Back in 2013 and 2014, Superman and Batman turned 75 to much fanfare. This year it’s Wonder Woman’s turn… and Plastic Man’s.

Unlike those other characters, I’ve never read a Plastic Man book before. I briefly thought he was in Identity Crisis but that was the Elongated Man instead. That’s right, DC have two stretchy-guy characters and they both suck! (“Elongated Man” - what an awful superhero name. Then again, Plastic Man’s not much better!) Anyways, I decided to give this one a shot - and now I see why the character’s pretty low-profile! 

Eel O’Brian was a crook who fell into some acid and gained superpowers (this was the 1930s so that trope wasn’t corny yet) becoming - Plastic Man! Nobody knows his criminal past though until someone frames Eel as the culprit in some new crimes. Plastic Man must go on the lam, hiding from the authorities while working to clear his name. Meanwhile his Foggy Nelson, Woozy Winks, pathetically tries to become a superhero. 

The most striking thing about this book is Kyle Baker’s art which looks heavily influenced by Ren and Stimpy and the Jim Carrey movie The Mask. Baker takes advantage of Plastic Man’s powers and gives us some really interesting visuals you wouldn’t expect to see in a DC comic - but not a whole lot else. 

The plot is fairly humdrum and never once gripped me. The overall tone of the book is trying too hard to be funny/amusing with its over-the-top slapstick style and the characters are cheesy. The book ends in a rushed mess of convoluted nonsense and a deus ex machina that underlines Baker’s casual style of unimpressive storytelling. 

Underwhelming and uninteresting, if I’m still around in 75 years I’ll give another Plastic Man book a shot but meanwhile I’m gonna go back to ignoring him!

Plastic Man, Volume 1: On the Lam!

1 comment:

  1. I enjoyed your review but I think you've probably started in the wrong place to re-evaluate Plastic Man; the Kyle Baker stuff mostly being set outside continuity. I'd recommend JLA #65 or the more recent Injustice Year 4 Annual to see examples of how the character can be used, not only as the main protagonist but also within a 'serious' context.