In my mind, Plastic Man #2, written by Gail Simone, is the comic equivalent of a “greatest hits” montage. Fast-paced and appropriately edgy, it zooms along as we see Eel frantically going on a hunt for the “Suave Prince”, aka the lost child from the first issue. Aside from having quite possibly the funniest Batwoman cameo in recent memory, it also shows that even though Eel has, let’s face it, a lot of flaws, he will do whatever it takes to protect innocent lives. An early panel depicts a scene that could have been pulled straight out of a particularly twisted Looney Tunes cartoon, with Plastic Man as a cannon, about to send a cannonball right into the face of a crook. Or, more likely, just his foot or hand or something.
He really only calms down when questioning an elderly gentleman about the Prince’s whereabouts. I especially like Adriana Melo’s staging in that particular drawing. The other panels are placed almost frenetically, but that one is deliberately meant to look smaller and more unsure. This continues throughout the rest of the montage, echoing Plastic Man’s feelings of despair and increased hopelessness. This could just be me projecting, but it seems to show Plastic Man’s emotional state temporarily deteriorating, almost to the point of a panic attack.
It also leads to the next reason why I believe this issue shows the greatest hits of Plastic Man’s comic career. Colorist Kelly Fitzpatrick and artist Adriana Melo created two immense splash pages that not only show off the title in an amusing way, but also contain a great Where’s Waldo? parody. I can’t pick a favorite gag in the sequence, it’s all so incredibly well-done. From a very traumatized horse to the street-fighting emu family, it all showcases the immense talent of everyone involved.
Finally, the comic also balances out the humor with an intensely horrifying villain. At this point, I still don’t know more about the identity of who’s behind all of this, but they’re willing to kill an orphan. Based on the promotional material, I can hazard an educational guess at who it might be, but I’d rather not. Based on the twists and turns that the plot has taken so far, I think that there might be something unexpected up ahead. I think that this unknown threat might be the worst (as in most evil) threat that Plastic Man has had to face. The emotional stakes are very high and I can’t wait to see how the third issue ramps it up.
Plastic Man #2 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.