Shiny Shelf

Plastic Man #3

By Eddie Robson on 20 February 2004

My initial doubts about ‘Plastic Man’ – whether it would sustain itself over the long haul – have quickly vanished over the course of issues #2 and #3. It’s not what you’d call intricately plotted, and each issue takes no more than ten minutes to read even if you take your time, but it’s funny and it’s different and that’s good enough for me.

Like the central character, Kyle Baker’s plots bounce around in all kinds of unlikely directions to no particular purpose. Issue #1 was occupied with the bothersome task of telling the character’s origin story, but almost all of issue #2 was a sequence of dumb set pieces arranged by villain the Red Herring (no, it’s not subtle). Issue #3 is little different: Plastic Man is under suspicion of murder, and the FBI has to work out how it can keep the most powerful member of the JLA in custody whilst simultaneously debating whether, in all honesty, he really is the most powerful member of the JLA.

Not content with making the style of ‘Plastic Man’ completely inconsistent with other DC Universe titles, Baker has now turned his attention to mocking them. If you’re a big DC fan with an irreverent sense of humour then you’re probably buying ‘Plastic Man’ already. Hilarious, isn’t it? Comics continuity gets a kick in the pants when it’s already on the floor, the characters suddenly display awareness that they only exist in a comic strip – but only when Baker wants to make a joke about it, and the JLA themselves turn up halfway through for comic effect.

There are even some jokes which aren’t arch send-ups of comics, and who knows – Baker might even be going somewhere with all this nonsense. There might be some kind of character arc developing, but maybe I’ve just been staring at the thing too long. It doesn’t matter though, as the new ‘Plastic Man’ is proving a great addition to the DC line-up.

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By Eddie Robson

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