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Plastic Man #14

Posted: Tuesday, February 1, 2005
By: Jason Cornwell



"And For My Next Impersonation ... Warren Beatty"

Writer and Art: Kyle Baker
Publisher: D.C. Comics
$2.95 U.S. / $4.50 CAN

Plot:
As Plastic Man discovers his apartment is playing host to a mouse, we see his efforts to get rid of the rodent quickly escalate into an all out war that pits his vast powers against a surprisingly intelligent mouse. Needless to say the mouse looks to be winning this fight, until Plastic Man starts to fight dirty, but he finds he has the race to save the creature's life, when he discovers the creature belongs to the temperamental Edwina.

Comments:
This issue might work better with the younger readers, but frankly there's not much here for readers like myself except for a handful of mildly amusing visual gags, as Plastic Man spends pretty much the entire issue doing battle with a mouse. Now I was a big fan of "Tom and Jerry", so I appreciate the comedic potential of this premise, and there's a handful of cute gags in this issue, but the simple fact of the matter is that Kyle Baker's gag a page pace quickly goes through the funny gags and this results in a number of jokes that either fall flat, or simply aren't funny enough to justify spend an entire page on their delivery. In the end the main problem I had with this issue is that unlike the previous issues, this was the first one where it felt like Kyle Baker was writing down to the audience, and as a result I'm a little concerned that the higher ups have told him that this book is being marketed toward younger readers, and as such Kyle Baker has removed the more subversive humour that I'd enjoyed in the previous issues. Now the payoff to the scene where Plastic Man employs the cross-dressing gag in his bid to capture the mouse has a cute payoff, and how can one not love the sequence where the mouse gets inside his head and starts chewing on his brain. The final fate of the mouse was also a nice moment of dark comedy, as was Plastic Man's lament before he tries to save the life of the dying mouse, but in the end this was Kyle Baker's weakest issues, and I can't help but be a little concerned.

Kyle Baker's art is one of the main reasons I continue to come back to this title, as he has a wonderfully original style that is perfectly suited to the comedic potential of Plastic Man, and if nothing else his art does a wonderful job of setting the bar for other artists who make use of Plastic Man. I mean how can one not smile at the various shapes that Plastic Man employs in this issue to capture the mouse, from his cross dressing mouse hooker, to his lifesaving efforts to rescue the dying mouse. The sequence where the mouse climbs inside Plastic Man's head and smarts munching on his brain was also a delightfully disturbed bit of imagery, and the effects that this attack had on Plastic Man were quite funny. Also while it's such an obvious gag I have to say that I did smile at the breakfast face panel, though I felt ashamed afterwards, as it's such an old gag, that it should be long past its best before date.



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