Review: Plastic Man #1

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A classic Golden Age character is resurrected for his own six issue run. The Plastic Man is here to kick ass and bend in uncomfortable ways.

The wisecracking, contorting chameleon is back on the DC main stage after a long
absence. He has been retconned, dropped, and resurrected many times since his
introduction in Quality Comics in the 1940’s, but Patrick ‘Plastic Man’ O’Brian is back to
his usual antics in his own stand-alone title.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Plastic Man, this recent #1 issue will help
explain his origin story, and also reintroduce his overly comedic tone. In other terms;
think Deadpool, crossed with the Mask, and you’ll get close to the behavior that makes
Plastic Man a great comedic foil for the Justice League.

It all started when nice-guy gangster, Patrick ‘The Eel’ O’Brian, was exposed to a strange
radioactive chemical during a botched robbery.

This chemical gave his body the
properties of malleable, liquid plastic. In other words, a classic Golden Age origin story.
This accident also provided him with invulnerability, immortality, and the ability to copy
the appearance of others, as if the T-100 had a great sense of humor. The new edition of
Plastic Man #1 goes into his origins, and also retconns the timeline, bringing him out of
the 1940’s into the present, without loosing his classic charm.

Plastic Man has gone through many changes since his introduction into DC Comics; from
hero to heel, to JLA member, to obscurity. He had rare appearances in different team-ups
over the years. He survived Blackest Night, had two reboots during the New 52, and then
was sidelined during DC Rebirth, until his dramatic return during the conclusion of Dark
Knights: Metal. The return of Plastic Man during a huge, multi-title, multi-verse battle
left many fans going; “Really? Plastic Man is back?”. This reader response has seemed
to have reached the editors of DC, getting them to green light a six-issue mini-series to
test the waters for future storylines.

In the past, Plastic Man was usually seen as a DC rip-off of Marvel’s Mr. Fantastic and
they are not wrong.

After the failure of Marvel’s Fantastic Four reboot movie, and the
success of Dark Knights: Metal; DC introduced a team called the Terrifics in February of
2018. The team consists of Plastic Man, Mr. Terrific, Metamorpho, and Phantom Girl in
an obvious jab at the so-called ‘first family of Marvel’. Fans of ‘Arrow’ and ‘Legends of
Tomorrow’ will recognize some of these names, but this team-up, helmed by Jeff Lemire,
has begun to pick up some momentum in the post-‘Metal’ DC Universe. This mini-series
of Plastic Man is a direct result of their success.

For those that know Plastic Man, or people who are new to the character, this #1 issue
will please all. It revisits his origin story, showcases his superhero abilities, and gives us
a taste of his Freakazoid-style humor. Gangsters, government agents, comedy, mystery,
and even a male stripper dressed like Batman; this issue has got the goods. More over, I
believe the success of the Rated-R Deadpool films have got comic book editors looking
through their roster and wading further into PG-13 waters.

Will DC continue with the Terrifics? Will Plastic Man get re-inducted into the Justice
League? Or will this mini-series knock it out of the park and become a permanent stand-
alone title? I’m not sure where they are going with Plastic Man, but I am definitely along
for the ride.

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