Wherefore Art Though, Pado Swakatoon? (Plastic Man #2 Comic Review)

Writer: Gail Simone

Artists: Adriana Melo

Cover Artist: Bilquis Evely & Matt Lopes

Colors: Kelly Fitzpatrick

Letters: Simon Bowland

Plastic Man #2 cover by Bilquis Evely & Matt Lopes

Blurb

Previously in Plastic Man, former-crook turned crimefighter Eel O’Brian, aka Plastic Man, was investigating the murder of a security card that transpired the night he gained his powers, when he’s contacted by Spyral Agent, Obscura, to help her investigate The Cabal, who seem to have infiltrated every major power-group on Earth, including the JLA, leading to Plas discovering a former criminal associate, supposedly killed by the League, before the cops arrive and demand Plastic Man’s surrender…

 

Summary with limited spoilers

The comic opens with Plastic Man on a frantic search for the young kid introduced at the start of the previous issue, Pado Swakatoon, interrogating everyone he comes across on where Pado might be (including an exacerbated Batwoman after Plas apparently hit on her), all of this leading to an “Eye-Spy”-esque splash-page and other of a stressed-out Plas, before cutting away to the stripclub Eel manages, as two of the women working there, Doris & Lila, come across an exhausted Eel lying face-up in the parking lot. Doris, nursing a crush on him wants to help, however Lila is a bit reluctant. However she relents and the two drag Eel back up to his apartment, discovering his ductile nature while doing so. When he comes to, Eel offers a very manic explanation, briefly recounting his origin-story again (omitting the part where he may have been the one to shoot the guard), and confessing his confusion over why God chose this for him. After a slight prompt from Lila, Eel finally gets to explaining exactly what happened after the cliffhanger from the previous issue. Trying to convince the cops he didn’t kill the man inside (poorly), the police claim he’s reaching for a gun before opening fire and peppering Plastic Man with bullets. This recounting continues, as after being bombarded with bullets, tear-gas, tasers and tank-fire, Plas hears Pado cry out from across the street, the two making a break for it. Pado leads Plas to the empty watertower where the Suave Prince has been living, before the two are seemingly attacked by Batman!! The sheer terror of Batman’s reputation among criminals lead Plas to bolt out of the tower and abandon the kid, discovering him gone when Plas returns. After recounting all of this to Doris & Lila, Eel then receives a phone call from Obscura, telling him she found Pado, that the Cabal is holding him hostage at the docks. Plastic Man makes his way there, and after reuniting with Pado, the two are once again attacked, not by Batman, but by Man-Bat…

 

Opinions on story and art

Following up the absolutely AMAZING first issue, Gail Simone, Adriana Melo, Kelly Fitzpatrick and Simon Bowland deliver an equally sensation second entry! The issue opening on a flurry of incredibly funny gags both dialog-and art-driven! I particularly enjoying seeing just how many wacky shapes Adriana Melo can morph Plastic Man into, highlighted both in the book’s opening and it’s last few pages! And the back to back splash pages of the find-the-things-parody page followed by the opening-credits page of an absolutely exasperated Plastic Man are both BREATHTAKINGLY beautiful and absolutely hysterical! The constant shifts between the comedic antics of Plastic Man and the tragically-flawed Eel O’Brian are executed so well here, I honestly can’t imagine a single artist handling the material better than Adriana Melo. The writing from Gail Simone continues to have me both in stitches from the incredibly clever dialog, and thoroughly invested in Eel’s struggle to comprehend the events unfolding around him, and why he was given this odd gift. Much like priors works like Wonder Woman, Batgirl and Red Sonja, Gail creates the ideal balance of humor and pathos throughout the issue. I particularly enjoyed Eel’s pointing out the detachment that’s come from his powers, as he seems immune to harm, death, even sanity. It’s an aspect to the character I never considered before. The colors from Kelly Fitzpatrick remain perfectly-suited to Adriana Melo’s pencils. Of particular note being her rendering of Batman’s attack, it conveys the horror Batman truly is to criminals, and even ex-cons like Plastic Man, exceedingly well! Simon Bowland’s letters are very clear and concise, I never struggled with reading any of the text in the comic, and the sound-effects are well-integrated into the action sequences, as all great lettering should be!

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Ian Cameron

Ian Cameron

A comic-loving doofus eager to see the worlds on the page reflect the wonderfully diverse world we all share!
Summary
Gail Simone, Adriana Melo, Kelly Fitzpatrick & Simon Bowland continue the high quality of the first issue with this entry, even raising the bar! All aspects of this comic remain top-notch, and the further fleshing out of Plastic Man’s character by his actions in this comic are quickly making it one of the best character-pieces I’ve read in ages! It’s a shame this is only a six-issue miniseries, as I’d LOVE to see this creative-team continue to tell more stories with Eel O’Brian! Is this comic “wang”? I DON’T KNOW, but I do know it’s not-to-be-missed!
Good
  • The humor are as well handled here as they were in the previous issue, perhaps even more so
  • Plastic Man’s character feels very nuanced, allowing for both his goofy nature as a superhero, and his flaws from his criminal days to exist in equal balance, without making the character unlikable or unsympathetic
  • The art remains both crafty & gorgeous throughout
  • That “Find these Fun Items” page
Bad
  • The opening of the comic could be considered a bit disorienting
10
Perfect
Art - 10
Writing - 10
Plot - 10
Character Development - 10
Written by
A comic-loving doofus eager to see the worlds on the page reflect the wonderfully diverse world we all share!

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