Wednesday, September 14, 2005


Am I the only person who didn't absolutely fall in love with Kyle Baker's "Plastic Man" series?

I just recently bought the first trade, and I honestly don't see what all the fuss is about. It's got some funny moments, but most of the jokes fall flat on their faces. The funniest parts are when Baker pokes fun at the DCU, or does new and unexpected things with Plas's powers. Then, it's hilarious. Particularly Baker's take on Batman, that was fantastic.

But the rest? Just bland. Sometimes tedious, sometimes trying too hard for laughs. Overall, a really, really mediocre read. Maybe Joe Kelly spoiled me with "The Dark Nut Strikes Again" in JLA, but that single issue told a better "comic farce with emotional gravitas due to Plas's past" story than the whole trade of Baker's comics. Maybe it's because Kelly's humor had less to do with pratfalls and slapstick, was a little more cerebral. Maybe it's because Woozy Winks wasn't there. Maybe it's because Plas had a straight-man to play off of.

I think that hit the nail on the head with the rubber mallet: "Plastic Man" reads like Bud Costello meets Natasha Badinov. When your slapstick character is a hero and your straight-woman is a villain, the dynamic between the two characters gets really complicated and takes away from the humor. Furthermore, Plas doesn't hold up well as straight man to Woozy Winks's dopey antics.

I know I'm going to take flak from folks who see my praise of the Infinite Crisis books and my dislike for this, who think "oh, this schmuck just likes dark, brooding comics. He doesn't know that comics should be vibrant and fun. What a jerk." Not so, noble reader. I loves me some fun comics. I recently started collecting Keith Giffen's "Ambush Bug," easily one of the funnest, most consistently hilarious comics ever printed. Giffen's "Justice League" and subsequent follow-up minis, "Trinity Angels," Greg Rucka and Louise Simonson's respective takes on Mr. Mxyzptlk in Superman's comics, Dan Slott's "She-Hulk" and "Spider-Man/Human Torch," and nearly anything with "Power Pack" in the title...some of my favorites, and fun comics all around. So it's not that I just don't like comedy comics.

I just didn't particularly like "Plastic Man," which is a shame given my love for the character and my enjoyment of Baker's work in "Truth" and "Bizarro Comics."


Anonymous said...

It's very simple, blog weasel. You're obviously too stupid to appreciate Kyle Baker's genius. If I were you, I'd save the world a great deal of trouble by chugging a bottle of lamp oil and swallowing a lit Zippo.

Tom Foss said...

I had an infestation of blog weasels once. A little rat poison really cleared the problem up quickly.