Writer Gail Simone sent comic book readers into a frenzy with the hilarious first installment of PLASTIC MAN! Now, in PLASTIC MAN #2, Eel O’Brian returns in yet another entertaining adventure. This time though, the stakes are a little bit higher. According to the operative known as Obscura, a cabal has infiltrated the Justice League of America. The group is corrupting the team from within.

We don’t exactly know much about the cabal yet. All we do know is that Obscura has been hunting them down and attempting to pinpoint their motivations. Also, she has been imploring Plastic Man to help her stop them since the first issue. Unfortunately for Eel though, the JLA-situation isn’t the only problem on his plate.

From a kidnapping to a rocky romantic relationship, Plastic Man is trying to put out fires everywhere. For a guy who doesn’t feel much like a hero in the first place, is Eel O’Brian capable of saving everyone including himself?

plastic man #2
PLASTIC MAN #2 page 1. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

 

Plastic Man II: Attack of the Man-Bat

Despite the fact that the first issue sets up an overlying arc in the series, PLASTIC MAN #2 is very much its own self-contained story. It features its titular hero taking matters into his own hands and embarking on a personal investigation. In the first few pages, Plastic Man desperately searches for Pado Swakatoon, a kid known as the Prince of Pine Street. Plastic Man is not having much luck in his search, literally asking anybody he comes across for information including Batwoman.

Eel O’Brian Bounces Back to Life in PLASTIC MAN #1

From this point, the story takes a step back. Eel processes the events that led him to the moments seen at the beginning of the issue. We learn that the cabal set up Plastic Man for the murder of his pal Benny, an event depicted in PLASTIC MAN #1. A multitude of cops appeared at the scene of the crime, prepared to take Plastic Man down. Fortunately, though, the Prince of Pine Street appeared and helped Plastic Man escape arrest!

During their escape though, Batman appeared out of nowhere and attacked the two. However, this Batman looked a lot scarier than the Batman we are familiar with. In an act that lacks any semblance of heroism, Plastic Man left the kid with Batman and ran off. Later, after feeling immense guilt, Plastic Man decided to return and try to find the kid, only to find the Prince and Batman gone.

plastic man #2
PLASTIC MAN #2 page 2. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

A Blast From Start to Finish

In the midst of the search we witness at the beginning of the issue, Obscura calls Plastic Man. She tells him the cabal was responsible for the Prince’s kidnapping. To redeem himself, Plastic Man decides to find and rescue the Prince. Additionally, to Obscura’s surprise, Plastic Man states that his decision to save the kid has nothing to do with the cabal or the JLA. In fact, he doesn’t believe Obscura nor that the JLA has become corrupted.

Plastic Man embarks on his rescue mission and succeeds! However, not without some hiccups. Man-Bat appears and battles it out with our hero. Interestingly though, Plastic Man stops the battle and tells Man-Bat that he doesn’t want to fight. Actually, he wants to join the cabal!

Once again, PLASTIC MAN #2 defies expectations with a twist ending and another wildly entertaining work. Simone succeeds in establishing a dynamic story that never misses a beat. Unsurprisingly, the humor shines in each and every page of this issue. I love Eel’s jabs throughout his fight with Man-Bat, particularly the one about the TRANSFORMERS franchise. The one qualm I have regarding PLASTIC MAN #2’s narrative lies in the lack of development amongst the supporting characters.

I do enjoy how focused this story is on Eel himself. However, I would like to get to more characterization of some of the other significant figures in his life. More context from characters such as Doris and Obscura would thicken the narrative and give us a broader understanding of Plas’ world.

Of course, there are four issues remaining in this mini-series. So, perhaps we will get more from these figures in upcoming installments.

plastic man #2
PLASTIC MAN #2 page 3. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

The Many Hues of PLASTIC MAN #2

One of the major improvements upon PLASTIC MAN #1 lies in the artwork of this issue. Adriana Melo’s illustrations work particularly well in isolated sequences. Specifically, they work in scenes that are smaller in scale, focusing on one to two characters rather than a wide shot full of action.

For example, the final sequences that showcase Plastic Man’s fight against Man-Bat, as well as the sequences that depict the Prince talking to himself, are great. They centralize on only a few characters and are detailed and vibrant. This contributes to the dynamic nature of the issue’s narrative.

These sequences are also beautifully colored thanks to Kelly Fitzpatrick. Despite the darker thematic elements of PLASTIC MAN #2, Fitzpatrick keeps the tone light. The work as a whole is rooted in humor. I love the boldness of the background colors Fitzpatrick often selects to keep the tone lively.

The Bait and Switch Edition of ‘Consider The Wedding’

The artwork does falter slightly in some of the larger scale scenes, specifically the one in which the police corner Plastic Man. Some aspects of this sequence feel chaotic and lack cohesion. As a result, detail is lost in the midst of the chaos.

However, despite those faults, the majority of the issue’s art maintains balance, contributing to an overall solid work.

What Lies Beyond

Before PLASTIC MAN began its run, most people did not expect for the series to be such a hit amongst critics and fans. Thankfully, it was! Now, PLASTIC MAN #2 continues the strong start of its predecessor by providing a refreshing take on its titular hero.

Four issues remain in this mini-series, and the state of the Justice League of America is still in peril. Be there to witness the next adventure of Eel O’Brian when Plastic Man returns next month!

PLASTIC MAN #2 by Gail Simone, Adriana Melo, & Kelly Fitzpatrick
Art
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Summary
PLASTIC MAN #2 doesn't sacrifice its narrative for the sake of entertainment, which establishes a balance that makes the story such a success.
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