Plastic Man #5 Review

Reviewed by: Mathan “Rubber Dude” Erhardt
Story Title: Despair

Editor: Joey Cavalieri
Written, Art, Colored, and Lettered by: Kyle Baker
Publisher: DC Comics

The issue begins with Plas mentally recounting the tragic events of last issue that resulted in the death of Woozy Winks. Then we are transported to Woozy’s funeral, which is attended by two people; his mother and a priest. The thing is one of them is Plas in disguise. We don’t find out which one is Plastic Man for seven whole pages when Morgan and Chief try to apprehend him. It’s a great sequence.

Plas does escape. Chief then runs through everything that he knows about the crime allegedly committed by Eel O’Brian and about Woozy’s death. He and Morgan retrace every move that Plastic Man made the before and after the murder. Eventually they realize that Plastic Man has an airtight alibi. When they realize that it is an inside job, the insider in question poisons the other and sends them on their way to meet Woozy. And the last page has Plastic Man confronting someone from his past.

I love Kyle Baker’s art. I still remember his art for the Joke profile in Who’s Who. I searched frantically for “I Die At Midnight.” I’m a fan. His art adds to the lighthearted feel of the book. It is bouncy and fun. It’s vibrant and kinetic. It’s a perfect match for the character and the story. Maybe if Baker did the Ultimates it wouldn’t have been canceled.

And why wouldn’t it match the story? Baker provides that as well. I love Baker’s imagination. It’s not sci fi like Warren Ellis or Grant Morrison. It’s not gritty like Brian Azzarello and Ed Brubaker. It’s a hilarious, inventive imagination that works perfectly with the Plastic Man character. When Chief is interviewing witnesses they all seem distinct and to have lives of their own. I really believe that those characters exist. The dialogue is on 10. This issue isn’t as “laugh out loud” funny as previous issues. The comedy has been turned down, but the story keeps pace. The clever “which character is Plastic Man” sequence that opens the book is an example of how perfect Baker is for this book. Baker deserves not only to be nominated for an Eisner, but to win as well.