And, as the pages turn, things go from slightly off-kilter to absolutely nuts quicker than Jack Nicholson working on his novel in the Overlook Hotel.
Weird. Plastic, is definitely weird. Brutal too. There’s an undoubted brutality to Plastic. And, dark, so very dark, but humorous as well, and bloody, and utterly twisted, but gentle, in an odd way, and, and…and I think I’m in love with this comic!
Plastic is a story that’s sets its own tone so, absolutely, perfectly right from the opening shots. A close up of roadkill, the sounds of a sex scene hidden from view behind the steamed windows of a parked car, a strange one way conversation as a man emerges from the vehicle discussing a shopping list that features crème filled donuts, petroleum jelly and a new cleaning brush, and then the beginning of a second steamy encounter as the car door clicks shut.
It puts the reader in a place of unease. As openings go, Plastic really has a firm grasp on all things odd. And, as the pages turn, things go from slightly off-kilter to absolutely nuts quicker than Jack Nicholson working on his novel in the Overlook Hotel.
As reader we are introduced to Edwyn Stoffgruppen in a convenience store grabbing the shopping list goodies from earlier, outside a trio of young men are at his car making lewd suggestions to Edwyn’s silent partner. With this not sitting well with our main man, he naturally proceeds to unleash a world of pain upon the trio, plunging them deep into a world of broken bones, cracked skulls, and torn ears, oh, and the culminating act of a toilet cleaning even deeper into the throat of the ringleader. It’s lands as a curious blend of over the top cartoon violence and stomach churning visuals. Then, as the dust settles, and in the blink of an eye, Edwyn shifts gear from crazed and sadistic back to mild mannered and apologetic, we skip once again into a whole land of weird as we finally meet Edwyn’s better half, a plastic sex doll named, Virginia. Oh, and before I forget, Edwyn is a retiree, a retired serial killer at that.
Yeah, Plastic is one on its own all right.
I’ll refrain now from talking plot and instead talk about how blindingly brilliant this opening issue from the, possibly unhinged, mind of Doug Wagner undoubtedly is!
Plastic is like nothing I’ve ever encountered before. It manages to breathe new life into a well-worn genre by including a lifeless character. By the close of this opening we have already skipped between madness, uber-violence, and a deep love story. And based upon the direction the writing takes us over the course of issue one, it seems as though what lies ahead is a love story at its heart, but, a love story peppered with darkness and an edge that could take the hairs off a gnat’s leg. It’s truly an outstanding introduction.
Plastic seems longer than its twenty-five or so pages, but not in an outstaying its welcome sort of way, more in a, I can’t believe how much has already happened in such a short time, and my god I’m craving more!..sort of way.
The art perfectly compliments the story with character detail looking wonderfully striking on the page, and the almost washed out feel of the colour really feeling at home with what is quite a bleak little tale.
I feel as though I’m embarking on a journey through some twisted fairytale that has the power to catch me off guard at every turn. Each beat this dark hearted comic produces resonates long in the air and leaves me as open mouthed as the fabled Virginia herself.
A must read.