Comic Book Resources recently posted an article about the upcoming “The Dark Knight III: The Master Race,” which is frankly a comic I almost could not care less about. In spite of the presence of writer Brian Azzarello and artist Andy Kubert on the project, both of whom are creators I tend to like quite a bit, I’m pretty much done with original Dark Knight creator and Master Race collaborator Frank Miller. As it is, I only enjoy current Batman stories about half the time, so I’m pre-soured on the whole thing to the point of ambivalence.
But that’s not the point.
The point is that during the interview (you can read the spoiler-laden article at the website) Kubert and Azzarello were asked what characters could be expected to show up. Specifically mentioned as possibilities were Green Arrow, who played a major role in both the original The Dark Knight Returns and its follow-up, The Dark Knight Strikes Again, as well as Superman, Wonder Woman, and their daughter (and maybe more offspring?).
And then there was this from Azzarello:
But I thought you said in comic books, nobody is ever really dead.
Azzarello: Well, he [Martian Manhunter] got burned. [Laughs] And you know what? In “DKIII,” it does matter. But we’re going to hit the remaining, living members of the Justice League. The Atom is in it. We’ll be continuing the story of the characters you’ve seen before.
And that’s what caught my attention, because Batman’s longtime buddy Plastic Man was one of the heroes rescued from the clutches of Lex Luthor in DKII.
I can’t say the Miller version of Plas is one I particular care for, but it would be nice to see him in a comic again (especially coming so relatively soon after his appearance in Plastic Man and The Freedom Fighters). And hopefully Azzarello would keep him from being as over-the-top and out of character as Miller depicted him and everyone else in Strikes.
Unless they bring back Elongated Man (also featured in Strikes) and leave Plastic Man out altogether. That would be … oh, man. I’ll just let Plas sum it up.
You keep telling yourself that, Ralph … keep telling yourself that.
While we’re still waiting for our favorite pliable policeman to return to the DC Universe (I’ve got my fingers crossed for a return during the “Convergence” event), it seems as if Plastic Man is becoming a welcome fixture of the LEGO world.
Planned for release on Feb. 10, 2015 (just a day before my birthday *ahem*), LEGO DC Comics Super Heroes: Justice League Vs. Bizarro League will be Plastic Man’s next appearance in the LEGO Universe following this month’s release of the LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham game. I’m not sure why other folks — like LEGO and DC Nation — seem to do more with Plas than DC Comics, but I’m not complaining; maybe DC can get some pointers on how to handle the character when they eventually bring him back. (You, uh, will be bringing him back, right, DC?) Plus, the movie looks like a lot of fun!
Plastic Man only has a brief, brief cameo in this trailer for Justice League Vs. Bizarro League, so I’m hoping that he’ll have a larger role to play in the rest of the story. After all, on top of featuring a gaggle of Bizarros this will also be Darkseid’s first LEGO appearance — and who else are you going to throw at the iron-fisted ruler of Apokolips? Watch the trailer closely, and you’ll see Plas in action as he takes his seat at the famed Justice League meeting table:
Like I said — brief. But it’s still nice to see Plastic Man taking his rightful place in the League, and hopefully we’ll be seeing even more of him in the near future. I wonder what a Bizarro Plastic Man would be like? An accountant?
A no-nonsense librarian?
That chump, Dibney?!
1982 seemed to be a good year for Plastic Man.
Not only was he coming off a string of recent earlier appearances in various team-up books — including a year-long run in Adventure Comics and featured roles in Super Friends, All-Star Squadron and a few others —he was a cover boy for the ’82 DC Style Guide! Of course, “seemed” is the key word; except for some sporadic pop-ups in All-Star Squadron (nooo, I’m not going to abbreviate it), Plas would almost disappear from the DCU until he and everyone else walked on for the Crisis on Infinite Earths in ’85.
(I’m planning to get into it for a future post, but man, does the Earth 1/Earth 2/Earth X-ish timelines for Plastic Man get a little confusing.)
Still, there was obviously some love for our Indian rubber man in the DC offices, and he got some repeated play in the style guide from who I’m still pretty sure was José Luis Garcia-López. And that’s never a bad thing.
Here’s the cover, with Plas taking a stretch on the back. (Don’t think I didn’t notice that chump Dibney on the front cover). I’m always amused by the way artists hide Plastic Man in crowd shots, but reward the viewer if they’re paying attention. He’s like a super-powered Waldo.
This black-and-white detail is gorgeous, and somehow looks less crowded (even with the addition of Red Tornado). But now that I think about it, what the hell happened to Plas’ arms?! Is he doing the T-Rex?
And here’s a really well-composed splash page — including arms!
I love, love, love this art and could look at it all day (and have!) I do have one question, though. Go back and look at the covers: What’s the deal with the baby Dynamic Duo? And the Li’l Superman and Wonder Woman? And wouldn’t this have been a perfect time to plant a tiny Baby Plas?!
(Check out Plastic Man’s Pantone appearance in this earlier post!)
When it comes to designing powerful iconography, it’s hard to beat a superhero.
Artist Steve Garcia figured this out and has created a striking series of “silhouette” portraits based on various pop culture characters — most notably, from the Marvel and DC universes. Especially the DCU.
Allies and rogues from the Superman and Batman families, the Green Lantern Corps, the Legion of Super-Heroes and the Teen Titans are represented, and almost every member of the JLA makes Garcia’s extensive roster. Most importantly (at least as far as we here at N.B.I headquarters are concerned), that even includes a certain you-know-who!
This is a great image of Plastic Man in action, and even in silhouette the character is instantly recognizable. I especially like the way Plas’ iconic red-and-black color scheme is used — one color shading subtly into the other, giving the whole thing added depth — and I love the inverted goggles that highlight a visual fingerprint for ol’ Eel O’Brian.
(You eagle-eyes out there might also notice something familiar in this image. Or you might be asking yourself, “Hey. What’s with the angel?” Many of Garcia’s images are based on existing comic book art, and the Plastic Man “angel” is taken from a panel drawn by Doug Mahnke for JLA #65; in that issue, Plas is begging Batman to scare his illegitimate son away from a budding life of crime.)
As I mentioned earlier, Garcia has done a whole series of silhouette portraits — there’s even one for that chump Dibney. There are so many, it’s taking a Justice League of Bloggers to cover it all! Be sure to visit these sites, get their takes on how their favorite characters have been depicted, and give ’em some love!
• Firestorm Fan
• The Aquaman Shrine
• The Indigo Tribe
• Kord Industries
• My Greatest Adventure
• Comic Box Commentary
• Flowers & Fishnets
• The Riddle Factory
• Speed Force
• The New Wonder Woman (with more here!)
• Justice League Detroit
• The Idol-Head of Diabolu (a double-header!)
• The Power of the Atom (and here!)
• DC Bloodlines (and here, too!)
• S.T.A.R. Labs Detroit
• Red Tornado’s Path
• The Blog from the Bog
• Dave’s Daredevil Podcast
• Splitting Atoms
• The Hammer Strikes
And of course, if you like what you see from Steve Garcia, be sure to visit the artist on deviantART, Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram or Twitter.
When you’re talking about a character with a little more than 72 years of history behind him, there’s bound to be some subtle continuity peppered here and there.
One of my favorite bits that crops up is Ralph “Elongated Man” Dibney’s near-pathological antipathy for Plastic Man. And is it because Plas is a formal criminal? Is it because of his superior stretching abilities? Or his effortless devil-may-care approach to crimefighting?
Nope. It’s because Ralph is so insecure about his own abilities and contributions to the JLA (another nice bit of recurring characterization) that he can’t stand the comparison. Even better, I think the fact Plastic Man just doesn’t care really drives Ralph crazy.
Note: How great is Captain Marvel’s reaction in the background?! That’s some Herculean mugging going on back there.
page from Justice #8
story by Alex Ross and Jim Krueger (script); art by Doug Braithwaite and Alex Ross