By Gail Simone, Adriana Melo, Kelly Fitzpatrick, Simon Bowland
Plastic Man #3, Under Cover of Darkness, is extremely disappointing in that this means there are only three more issues in this fun as hell miniseries. Gail Simone injects Plastic Man with her signature writing style, which means you can expect butt-jokes butted up against really sweet moments. Who better to draw those butt moments than Adriana Melo? Her style matches with Simone’s perfectly, so when the plot demands a moment Melo dials it up. Simone sort of dares Melo to be more weird, then Melo’s answer spins back on Simone. Kelly Fitzpatrick, caught up in the middle, connects the two with her colors. This series throws together a crime series with Plastic Man’s goofy personality, and Fitzpatrick does the same. All the while, Simon Bowland keeps the story paced briskly with his lettering.
Simone’s script relies on each of her co-creators for a joke to land. If Plastic Man turned into a literal buttface out of nowhere—it would probably still be funny. But, in this case, Bowland’s job is important when it comes to building up everything that leads to that moment, and what comes after it. Bowland gives the dialogue voice thanks to how he paces out the words.
Simone somehow knows how to rip an emotion out of a reader with every page turn. Laugh, cry, smile, whatever, it happens in Plastic Man #3. This issue embraces a personality that’s totally raw. Lots of the reasons it’s funny is because of jokes you stop telling when you get old, but still laugh at when no one’s watching. You can almost feel this comic nudging you, saying “c’mon, lighten up!” It’s cheesy, it’s sweet, it’s unforgivably Gail Simone.
Adriana Melo is a great fit for her. These two women seem like they’re consistently on the same page, and challenging each other to be more them. Melo’s art goes for the moment relentlessly. When Plastic Man becomes a hammer, he’s a hammer. When music is bad, it’s terrible, and every single character on the page knows it, and you know it because even the layouts change. The buttface even has little hairs on it. If that’s not the best detail in a comic this week, what is?
Maybe it’s Kelly Fitzpatrick’s stream of pink behind another of Plastic Man’s transformations, or maybe it’s the fact that her coloring makes this comic feel like it actually belongs to Eel O’Brian. The palette she uses to accentuate backgrounds and border panels comes consistently from Plastic Man’s costume. They stand out against her gritty, crime backdrops and push the emotion in a panel just a bit further.
Plastic Man #3 is a book for people who like to have fun, and feel a little something. Whether you’ve been keeping up with the book or not, this issue is easy to enjoy. The people working on this comic are putting their best butts forward, and it’s hard to ask for anything more than that.
Sound fun? Check out our preview here.