How do you make Plastic Man #1? First, take a gritty crime drama along the lines of The Sopranos. Next, add in a pinch of super-heroics and a smattering of a secret society or societies. Finally, grab a gallon of slapsticky special sauce and body horror and shove the whole mixture in a blender. One of the DC Rebirth initiative’s greatest strengths has been bringing back a sense of fun and joy. Plastic Man is one of the best indicators of fun. What’s more fun than a shape-shifting goofball who solves mysteries?
Gail Simone understands the intrinsic humor in Plastic Man. The quips are fantastic and Eel’s powers are shown in a really fascinating light. Not only do we get a classic bouncing ball, but he also turns into a car and a bizarre caricature of Wonder Woman, showing off an unexpected bit of criminal psychology knowledge. Then again, it does make sense, considering that the issue reestablishes his former criminal past.
It actually starts off in the vein of a Mafia caper. The criminals are delightfully scummy, and their nicknames feel like something out of a detective story. I truly enjoy the contrast between a fairly-lighthearted hero contending with dirtbag villains. Of course, Plastic Man isn’t all laughs. Really, his origin is quite horrifying, and Kelly Fitzpatrick and Adriana Melo’s art reinterprets it in an appropriately horrifying manner.
Pure body horror. Thankfully, the rest of his body during the transformation isn’t fully shown, but the panel’s positioning still allows you to imagine the gruesome melting.
Plastic Man #1 is written by Gail Simone, drawn by Adriana Melo, colored by Kelly Fitzpatrick, and lettered by Simon Bowland and is currently available from DC Comics.