Plastic Man #1
Writer: Gail Simone
Artist: Adriana Melo
Plastic Man never quite fit in with the JLA set. His backstory is seedy, though he’s a hero, he’s essentially smarm personified. He’s as advertised- his name is Eel O’Brien. The DC universe is often preoccupied with moralism and bedrock philosophy. With Plastic Man, you have a quick-witted, low-rent wiseguy that literally falls into superpowers. A jolt of humor in the usually bleak universe is more than welcome. Plastic Man was always a bit of a loose cannon, and his grip on reality is historically just as malleable as his body.
Gail Simone is stretching the character out in a reboot/origin story that puts our putty-like protagonist in a more modern context. While Adriana Melo’s illustration is very much in step with DC’s usual unfussy, yet detailed clean lines, it’s clear that there’s real joy taken in all of the sight gags Plastic Man allows for. The dialogue is reminiscent of Deadpool in parts, and the dizzying iterations of Plastic Man’s forms are a delight. Plastic Man may never quite fit in with the stolid JLA triad of Wonder Woman, Superman, and Batman, but that also means his stories can go where theirs never can. Hopefully, this 6-issue series is just the beginning.
The Weatherman #1
Writer: Jody LeHeup
Artist: Nathan Fox
Adding to Image Comics’ already considerable library of sci-fi yarns, Jody LeHeup’s The Weatherman takes us to Mars. Hundreds of years in the future, the city of Redd Bay resembles the West Coast, with the addition of some flying vehicles and robots. LeHeup’s introductory issue establishes that Earth and the billions that populated it are no more. Life on Mars, however, persists, richly illustrated by Nathan Fox. The scenery is just the right amount of strange to be compelling science fiction, and colorist Dave Stewart’s palette work is impressive.
Though the initial set-up is somewhat somber, there are those who live for the moment, like weatherman Nathan Bright. Furthering the So-Cal vibe of the book, Nathan walks, talks and acts like a student of Vince Vaughn in Swingers. He’s an irreverent slacker-bro, a high-fiving Ron Burgundy for the cornhole set. The story starts at a crawl, but the final pages are a series of sharp turns. Our unassuming weatherman is clearly at the heart of something sinister, tragic and violent, but it’s anyone’s guess which way the wind is blowing.
Hunt for Wolverine: Adamantium Agenda #2
Writer: Tom Taylor
Artist: R.B. Silva
Not all 16-issue crossover events are worth it, but not all of them are about Wolverine, either. Wolverine casts a long shadow, and there’s something in Hunt for Wolverine for every stripe of reader; the bad guys (Claws of a Killer), the little guys (Weapon Lost), the Avenging guys (Adamantium Agenda), the X-(wo)men guys (Mystery in Madripoor). It will all be tied together in September’s Hunt for Wolverine: Dead Ends #1, but we’re barely halfway through. Thor #1 also threw a hell of a futuristic curveball into the mix, but it remains to be seen whether that will have any bearing on the Marvel of here and now.
The four Hunt for Wolverine arcs have thus far been wholly more satisfying and interesting than 2014’s Death of Wolverine, which was a soggy, sudden and unsatisfying end to one of the greatest characters ever created. Its only redeeming quality is that it set up these four separate Hunts and moved Laura Kinney officially into the Wolverine mantle. That said, even though Marvel isn’t lacking for Weapon X stand-ins these days, it was only a matter of time before Logan showed back up.
The problem is that while it’s clear he’s back on the scene, his existence is anecdotal, apocryphal and mostly hypothetical. Logan is more than capable of staying hidden when he doesn’t want to be found, even if it’s his friends who are looking for him. Adamantium Agenda focuses on his Avengers teammates- Tom Taylor’s dialogue is snappy and honest, and the magic of a classic Avengers line-up pairs beautifully with R.B. Silva’s dynamic and lush panel-work. It’s a fun book, maybe the most engaging of the four arcs thus far, and one befitting a character as beloved as Wolverine.