Your Mind -- Plastic Man Is Back!
story and art by Kyle Baker
it's not as much Jack Cole as may have been promised, but
in spirit - there's a lot here that says yeah, man, Plas is
it, Kyle Baker
has leaned just as heavily on Looney Tunes as he has Cole's
legacy. Plastic Man's creator drew a world as wacky as his
hero, populated with grotesques, exaggerating the mundane,
and likely to break the fourth wall long before anybody thought
up the term "post-modern." Sound familiar to Looney Tunes
fans? Then the dual influence makes sense.
opens with two criminals dreaming up a suspiciously familiar
plan. The smaller of the two will dress up as a baby, and
somehow this will lure banktellers into a false sense of security.
Never mind the guy has a greasy pencil-thin mustache. In this
world, such a plan might well work long enough for the more
violent aspects to fall into place. (But I'd also bet the
unnamed "Boss" goes by Finster.)
for the criminal duo, they hatch their scheme over a garish
red plastic table. And unfortunately for the table, pepper
makes it sneeze. It's Plastic Man, alright, able to assume
any form from Max Fleischer nightmare to standard chiseled
at least so far, are some of the post-Crisis additions
to his personality. Though Baker does letter the word "acid"
incriminatingly (as in, the acid coursing through a wounded
Eel O'Brien's bloodstream, turning him into Plastic Man),
he leaves out any overt reference to this being something
psychedelic. Thus we can assume that Plastic Man isn't actually
doped up and constantly hallucinating.
he has just adopted a persona as malleable as his body. Always
on the side of good, of course, and that malleability makes
for some strong visuals, as in a sequence of the sleeping
Plastic Man unconsciously reverting to being Eel O'Brien.
Though it makes sense in hindsight, it never occurred to me
that his goggles were actually part of his skin. Pardon the
has also returned Plastic Man to the FBI, an element that
seemed to have been dropped during his stint with the JLA.
(And it is the FBI, as Cole had it, rather than the NBI as
DC had it during the 60's through 80's.) Woozy Winks clearly
considers himself Plas' partner, another aspect of continuity
briefly acknowledged, at least, by Mark Waid during his run
the fun for old fans is a dash of melancholy, insistent but
not overpowering. It's hard to predict how strong it will
run through this first story arc, but it makes a nice acknowledgment
of modern storytelling expectations. Even silly heroes need
a touch of the human.
Baker's art, like a lot of his more personal cartooning of
late, it smacks strongly of his recent experiences working
for Warner Brothers to revive Bugs Bunny and friends. If the
guys at Cartoon Network are awake and reading this book, they
might just want to bring Baker back out west to pitch a Plastic
Man animated series. We need something to wipe the memory
of the one with Hula Hula and Penny out of our minds.
people may take issue with the artistic approach. Indeed,
it's really not like anything you might have been prepared
for by reading JLA. But it's strong, somewhat unique,
and at least has the illusion of being personal.
going to be a fun ride.