Every now and then, a comic series comes along with a plot so outrageous and bizarre that readers have no choice but to check it out. That time has come once again in the form of Plastic from Doug Wagner, Daniel Hillyard, and Laura Martin. A comic that made Robert Kirkman himself say, “This is the weirdest shit I’ve ever read! I love it!”
Plastic is the story of a retired serial killer who’s found love. But while on vacation, his love is kidnapped and he’s put to work to earn her freedom. The disturbing twist? His love is a plastic blow-up doll.
Sometimes the best stories are those that take a tale as old as time and give it a weird twist. Plastic is a shining example of that. The whole “coming out of retirement to save your love” concept is old hat, but by making the love interest a blow-up doll, Wagner makes it feel wholly original. His story is dark and intriguing – as you’d expect a serial killer story to be – but it’s not without humor. It’s not a jokey, “laugh out loud” kind of humor either; the comedy is derived from the concept. Wagner has set up such an absurd situation that everything that happens in it is automatically funny when you think of the larger picture.
The protagonist, Edwyn (or Victor, according to his ID), is completely unpredictable. He’s unhinged, making it impossible for the reader to get in his head. Now, this takes away his relatability, which is usually essential in a central character, but it adds a layer of fun to his story. As a killer, he’s more of an antihero, if not a flat out villain archetype. If there’s one thing people love in their bad guys, it’s mystery.
With a story as dark and gritty as this one is, the art needs to be equally dark and gritty. The work by Hillyard and Martin fits the bill perfectly. Their visuals are gloriously violent and over-the-top, which again reads as hilarious when you remember this is all over a sex doll.
There are times however where Edwyn/Victor’s facial expressions just seem off. It’s a bit jarring, but no other characters suffer from the same fate. It appears that the creative team actually made this a conscious decision to make their protagonist feel even more disturbing and off-kilter, and it works in spades.
Plastic is weird. It’s absurd and it’s twisted. But it’s also good storytelling, and good storytelling deserves to be read. Be sure to pick this book up before it sells out!