Plastic Man 3

Quick Rating: Wacky, but in a good way
Title: Rubber Banned

Writer/Artist: Kyle Baker
Editor: Joey Cavalieri

If you’ve spent any time watching cartoons on televisionlately, then you’ve probably noticed that they share the same hypnotic effect of music videos. Time passes, drool pools, and your buttocks become a major gravitational power. It’s so easy to just sit here… and watch that little rabbit… and that little creature with the stripes… and…

What was I talking about? Ohh, yes- Plastic Man— this issue begins where the last one concluded. The police have realized that Plas is the criminal Eel O’Brian. They try to apprehend him and wackiness ensues.

Kyle Baker wants the Plastic Man comic book to be a cartoon. The problem is that you have to turn the pages. Comedy is all about… well, pacing. (Jack Benny probably said that first and if he didn’t then he should have.) This is particularly true with slapstick. Imagine a pie fight. Now imagine the film focusing a little longer on each impact — less funny. In a cartoon, the pacing is predetermined and the viewer experiences the pacing as set by the makers of the cartoon. With a comic book, you can reach for your drink and the magazine and the joke wait for you to come back. Yet, the pacing is gone. I’m not saying that it can’t be done- just that readers make it harder. (The corollary being that, if we’d stop reading comic books altogether, then they would be funnier.)

So, Kyle Baker has a tough job laid out for him, especially since this looks like it may become an on-going series. (You heard it here first- 2004 is the year of plastic.) So, the first two-thirds of this issue rely on trademark Plastic Man slapstick and they’re funny, but sometimes it gets a little off- and I think it may be the pacing. Then, the JLA shows up and we switch humor gears to satire. The pacing becomes a little less important and the humor blasts off. If nothing else, the issue is worth it for the interaction between Batman and Superman. Maybe that’s just because the humor plays much more into single panels rather than the extended art required for more physical jokes.

January, 2004

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