Review: Plastic by Doug Wagner

in Comics Games Cartoon2 years ago (edited)

Sometimes you want to write a post or review and for some weird reason you just don't manage it. You haven't forgotten about it but even two years later you still sit on it and draw blanks. Which is pretty annoying, especially if it was about a creative work with many drawings, a comic.

Maybe it was the topic and you aren't fully ready to admit your liking to a specific thing or genre. Definitely not on an immutable platform like the blockchain. Would you admit listening to Adele - Live at the Royal Albert Hall?

Me neither.

I guess the same goes for me when it comes to admitting to liking love stories. Yet, I do.

That's right... I like the odd love story.

With a twist. The twist, most of the time being a high pace - no, I don't mean that both partners constantly end up in bed and burn calories. Add to the pace of the romance also a healthy level of violence, maybe even gore. Think True Romance or Natural Born Killers, or Thelma & Louise when feeling very PC.

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Maybe you've just been sitting that long on that review because you just don't have any clue about what you should say, should write about that comics title? Maybe because the story is just too darn baffling and absurb for even you?

Yet too exquisitely good too.

That's probably what brings me to finally write this review of Doug Wagner's Plastic. Or maybe it was the commitment to review a longer and more complex series, which required some renewed review practice.

I should have chosen Jason Latour’s Loose Ends to review to get some practice again. It would definitely have been easier. But unlike Wagner’s Plastic Latour doesn’t take the whole concept of a Tarantino style road movie romance, wrings it out and sticks it in the blender while joyously mumbling “Yes, it will blend. Oh yes, it blends!”

In Plastic Wagner brings us the story of serial killer Edwyn Stoffgruppe, whose tribal desires to kill are silenced because of his love for Virginia. Together, in the most classic road movie romance style, they travel the USA enjoying — like true Americans do — plenty of doughnuts along the way.

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Next to Virginia, a girl Edwyn “met online”, there’s also regular dialogues with Edwyn’s mom who isn’t anymore which allows us to discover another side to our serial killer.

All things good, until one days a billionaire kidnaps Virginia. Because otherwise we would be reading the equivalent of the Titanic, minus boat and minus ice berg: a bore fest.

Driven by love, of course, there is no surprise about all hell breaking loose in Edwyn and blood is again amply left behind on his path. At a rather ridiculous pace and with a solid touch of gore - although not entirely graphic.

“This is the weirdest sh*t I’ve ever read. I LOVE it!”
Robert Kirkman, creator of The Walking Dead.

The fact that the series is only 5 issues long is a good thing as it leaves little room for too much world building. Wagner has done the necessary and we have sufficient background about all characters involved without it being too much. Because the focus here isn’t character development but the bone crunching passion driving Edwyn, much like a healthy eater on an evening out at a lobster restaurant who can’t get enough of the joy of finding more meat after cracking open the shell of yet another crustacean.

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There’s something strangely satisfying about Edwyn’s relentless search for Virginia and the trail of blood he leaves behind. After reading the full Plastic series, you too will pine like never before for Virginia.

Even though she’s a sex doll.


Plastic TP, collecting issues 1-5 is available from Image Comics for $16.99.

PS: No sex dolls were harmed in the writing of this review.

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Wow, well written review.

I’m going to have to read this a few times to figure out why I liked it so much. It feels like the review has its own pacing reveal etc.

Nice work and interesting comic, some reviews like this are one of the things I hoped to see here.

 2 years ago (edited)

Thanks, glad you enjoyed it. Truly wanted to review this for more than two years but drew blanks. Too short and fast-paced, too absurd and don't want to give away too much.

So I decided to approach it from the personal experience narrative angle rather than just review yet another comic story. Which at the same time allowed me to keep the biggest oddity until the end.

I'm not sure if I wanted to make the review as absurd as the series, but I definitely wanted to play with a level of comparative hyperbole.

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Has definitely gotten my attention, great review.