One of the great concepts I’ve been enjoying in comics these days is the exploration of: What if superheroes were real? How would the average person react to them? Would they be treating them like celebrities?
This comic brings a Stand By Me-like concept to a group of kids who find something they don’t know how to deal with – the end of a superhero!
Previously in Plutona: “After discovering the body of Plutona – the world’s greatest superhero – in the woods, a shocking twist starts to tear the kids apart.”
REAL PEOPLE IN AN UNREAL SITUATION
One of the very greatest things that Jeff Lemire does is make comics characters feel like people you and I know in real life. I will always remember Sweet Tooth, Animal Man and many of his current books for just that reason. I KNOW these people regardless of them being a superhero or a mutant or whatever!
In Plutona, Lemire is working with writer/artist Emi Lenox to breathe life into a series of kids and younger teens who, like the kids in “The Body” short story by Stephen King (the basis for the aforementioned Stand By Me film), come across a corpse. It’s not just any corpse, though, which makes it even worse! It’s the body of the greatest superhero ever!
Unlike the X-Men, these teens are not handsome or beautiful people who look like models. Instead, they’re average kids, with one being somewhat heavy (Diane), another smokes (Ray), and still another seems to nearly always wear a shirt with the word “dumb” on it (Mie). Teddy is a “capespotter,” someone who tracks the appearances of superheroes across the nearby Metro City. Mike, Mie’s younger brother, is the one who discovers Plutona’s body, and the kids must decide what action, if any, to take.
The group decides to bury Plutona’s body, but when they return to do that the following day, the corpse is nowhere to be found. In this issue, we do find out exactly what’s going on, and it makes sense that someone intrigued by heroes might want to become one as well. We’ll see in the final two issues just what happens!
I also like the “new” superheroes we learn about, such as “Mini-Taur,” a bull-like hero who’s also very small, much like the Atom. Very creative!
It’s also important to point out that there’s a back-up feature in each issue, and it focuses on “Plutona’s Last Adventure.” Written and drawn by Mr. Lemire, it shows that being a hero doesn’t always mean things are easy or go well for you.
Jeff Lemire’s art is something unique when it comes to comics. It has a simpler, more direct style to it that occasionally seems craggier than the art I’m used to. He brings that to bear quite effectively in the back-up story.
Interestingly enough, Lenox’s art is the perfect companion to Lemire’s work. It’s simpler on many levels, and there are just enough details for us to “get” what’s happening. I like both, and this comic pulls me into its world very quickly.
The covers are great, with each one highlighting one of the kids.
I particularly like the facial expressions both display. Again, we see only what we need to see. When two of the characters are waiting for someone in the background, we only see their furrowed eyebrows, dots for eyes and their level mouths, which is all one needs to show their displeasure with the person they’re waiting for.
I have to also give credit to Bellaire’s colors, which often fills in some of the details such as the grass in a nearby lawn. It’s just what we need to understand what we’re seeing.
BOTTOM LINE: Kids Being Kids
I always like to say that I don’t understand kids as much as I did when I was one. I get a little creeped out by the way they reason at times, and I saw a lot of this book eliciting that response from me. That doesn’t mean that I don’t like kids – it just means I don’t “get” them as often these days.
The thing this miniseries keeps doing to me is, making me ask, “What would I do if I were in this situation?” I’d be a big enough superhero fan to want to treat that person with respect, but would I want to take a chance and attempt to gain powers? Would I let the authorities know what I found? Honestly, I don’t know exactly what I’d do, but I like exploring the possibilities through this group of kids and teens.
If you like this kind of story, I highly recommend this title. It’s something along the lines of Gotham Central, but looking through the prism of younger eyes instead of police officers. If you can get the previous issues, I’d seriously recommend that since it will help you understand all that’s happening. Still, an engaging comic for sure!
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