[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Gail Simone
Art: Adriana Melo
Colors: Kelly Fitzpatrick
Letters: Simon Bowland
The issue opens with Plastic Man fighting the Durlan, but the execution is done extraordinarily well as Plastic Man has an internal monologue discussing the way in which superhero costumes have changed over the years and the fact that there are some plastics as hard as steel. It’s a creative set up to segue into the fight and the humor is just fantastic.
As Plas and the Durlan fight at the amusement park, the Durlan shape shifts into Plastic Man and it becomes difficult to figure out who’s who. The end in the water and it appears that the Durlan has one. It turns out Dr. Psycho has been controlling the Durlan and he’s really got it in for Obscura, the Spyral agent. Plas infiltrates the Cabal, through a clever method I won’t reveal, here and does some nifty heavy lifting to take out Psycho, Hugo Strange, Insect Queen, Per Degaton and Amazo!
Feeling quite happy with himself, he goes looking for Doris and discovers that she’s got, Pado, he ran away from Child Protective Services. Eel explains that he’s learned something about himself, it’s better to be the hero and there’s a lot more of hero in Plastic Man than Eel O’Brien. But, what about Janet you say? She’s still out there looking for Plas….
There is a solid humorous vein throughout this series and it separates it from other titles. Despite Plastic Man’s Zany antics, Simone and Melo also find the humanity in the character allowing him to not only find himself, but to connect with the reader on an emotional level. Eel finds the hero in himself as he realizes that’s the “him” he wants to be. It clearly works as an analogue to Pado Swakatoon as well, as Pado continues to tell the adults around him that he identifies as a boy.
There’s an even deeper message as well: You don’t have to be what everyone else says you are. You can be who you want to be, and for Eel, he realizes he needs to be less Eel and more Plas and his view of himself is changing and he begins to see Eel and Plas as separate people almost, and he chooses to be the hero, Plastic Man.
Simone also manages to delve into Plastic Man’s power set, revealing things about plastics that Plas can use to his advantage. It’s a bit of an upgrade for the character while also expanding the understanding of how his powers work and adding some additional potential to the types of stories that can be told with the character.
The ending is a bit abrupt as Janet never actually finds Plastic Man, leaving this plot thread open ended.
This is a fun and emotionally satisfying end to this mini-series. The last page promises us that Plastic Man will return, and with Janet out there, she certainly the odds on favorite to be the antagonist in Plas’s next outing. Hopefully, Simone and Melo will return and continue to give us more of their faithful, yet modern take on the character.