TITLE: Plastic Man vol. 5, Issue #20
YEAR: October/November 1977
COMPANY: DC Comics
Script: John Albano
Art: Ramona Fradon/Bob Smith
Color: Liz Berube
Letterer: D. Schulman
Before there was Elongated Man for DC Comics and before Mr. Fantastic debuted in Marvel Comics’ “Fantastic Four”, there was Plastic Man.
Created back in 1941 for Quality Comics’ “Police Comics” by Jack Cole, the character was acquired by DC Comics and he would have his own series. The character would become known even more in the late ’70s thanks to the Saturday morning cartoon “The Plastic Man Comedy/Adventure Show” (1979-1981), he would also appear later in the animated series, “Batman: The Brave and the Bold” (2008-20111).
And since I first discovered him decades ago and to this day, the character still dons his white goggles and the same red/yellow outfit from back in the day.
The original origin of Plastic Man is that he was a thief named Patrick “Eel” O’Brien who had a ring of friends and he was an expert safecracker. When the group planned a heist at a chemical factory, Eel and his gang of thieves were surprised by a night watchman and as the thieves tried to escape, Eel was shot and doused with a large drum of a mysterious chemical. While Eel managed to escape, he was in bads hape and taken in by a monk who help rehabilitate him and wanted to reform (especially as his gang left him for dead).
Eventually Patrick realized that his body was starting to stretch and became like rubber and seeing the new abilities that he has, makes a decision to use his abilities for good and to conceal his identity, wears white goggles and re-molding his face to become Plastic Man.
He would eventually gain a sidekick named Woozy Winks (for comedy purposes). And he would be a member of the police force and FBI.
In vol. 5, issue #20 of “Plastic Man”, Plastic Man and Woozy Winks are trying to avoid being captured by the authority and are on the run.
As Plastic Man tries to look into a secret facility in the middle of nowhere, the two discover a cabin with two beautiful women and some guy inside, who allows them to stay.
But when they go inside, to the shock of both Plastic Man and Woozy Winks, the cabin turns out to be a trap as the windows and door are then sealed with metal. Who has captured Plastic Man and Woozy?
For the most part, I admit that it’s been many decades since I have followed Plastic Man. I was a kid and I would imagine that I was into Plastic Man because he was a character that many of us grew up watching each Saturday morning.
But I have to admit that reading it today, especially this issue, while the artwork was cool, having a blubbering buffoon sidekick along with Plastic Man was less comedy and more irritating. I guess I was easier to please as a child reading “Plastic Man” but reading this issue, I found it (or primarily Woozy) to cheesy for my tastes as an adult. I was thinking while reading this comic, how much the comic book series would be more entertaining without Woozy Winks. But I heard Plastic Man has changed and evolved in recent years. Hopefully for the best.