Each Friday, we'll be letting a different DC.com writer share what they'll be reading over the weekend and why you might want to check it out. Here's this week's suggestion for a perfect Weekend Escape!

Kyle Baker's Plastic Man is quite unlike any other DC Comic that you've read. His twenty-issue series slams the superhero’s story into something more akin to Looney Toons, paying homage to the history of animation and comics and giving us an entirely new take on the Golden Age hero. It stands as one of the best and most original DC series of the 21st century—it’s certainly one of the funniest! And seeing how Baker also happens to be one of the most stylish and distinct Black cartoonists working today, this early-2000s title feels like the perfect weekend read to wrap up Black History Month.

The Premise:

This fantastic reimagining places us in the cartoonish world of Eel O'Brian, brought to life by the masterful Baker. In this twisty crime caper, Plastic Man is hired to hunt down a wanted criminal. The only problem is that criminal goes by the name of...Eel O'Brian! Struggling to prove that his underworld alter-ego is innocent, Plastic Man has to dive deep into his past, all while keeping a femme fatale-like FBI agent on her toes and dealing with the "help" from his old pal Woozy Winks. This is the perfect introduction to the hero as it works as something of a primer on his past adventures, while also feeling like an easy jumping on point.

Let’s Talk Talent:

This is the Kyle Baker show, baby! Writing and drawing this exhilarating comic that stretches the boundaries of what superhero comics can be, Baker brings his unique talent and vision to this gorgeous book. Initially making his name at Vertigo, Baker brought an auteur sensibility to unconventional stories like The Cowboy Wally Show, Why I Hate Saturn and I Die at Midnight. Blending a natural gift for sequential storytelling with illustration that evokes expressive animation, Baker pushed his style further throughout the '90s. He won the Eisner award in 2000 with his wife Liz Glass for the controversial story Letitia Lerner, Superman's Babysitter. Although this edgy story led to the issue getting pulped, it acts as a basis for the look and tone of Baker's 2003 Plastic Man series, which reinvigorated the title character after years of cameos and supporting roles.

(And don’t worry, if you want to read Letitia Lerner, it was reprinted in this 2011 Elseworlds special.)

A Few Reasons to Read:

  • Unbelievable Cartooning: This iteration of Plastic Man's success and enduring appeal all centers around Baker's singular art style, which perfectly lends itself to the endlessly bendable star. Baker understands the strangeness of Plastic Man and leans into the era of art and animation that was at its height when the character first debuted in 1941. If you're looking for a comic that showcases cartooning rather than the usual superhero collaboration of a writer and artist bringing your caped crusaders to life, then Plastic Man is the series for you.
  • A Unique Twist on Superheroes: With Baker's art comes his often radical sense of storytelling. He's not confined by the rules and regulations of what a superhero comic should be. Instead, Baker presents a more comedic and wild take on who a hero can be, while investigating and interrogating the nature of starting again and reinventing yourself for the better.
  • Plastic Man Doesn't Get the Love He Deserves: As we live in an age that is saturated with superheroes, it's rare to find a truly underrated hero anymore. Even the most deep-cut characters have their champions and get their due. But Plastic Man is rarely at the center of any modern-day DC comic books. He often gets overlooked when it comes to weird heroes that we love and hasn't had a solo series since 2018. So, what better time to go back to the best comic that he's ever starred in and discover why it's got such a legendary status?

Why It’s Worth Your Time:

Hilarious, unique and still fresh twenty years after its publication, there really isn't another book like Baker's Plastic Man. Vibrantly beautiful, exceedingly strange and ultimately deeply entertaining, this is a masterpiece of cartooning and superhero comics!

Plastic Man: Rubber Banded by Kyle Baker (with contributions by Scott Morse) is available as a deluxe edition graphic novel and can be read in full on DC UNIVERSE INFINITE.

Rosie Knight is an award-winning journalist and author who loves Swamp Thing, the DC Cosmic and writing the monthly gossip column here at DC.com. You can also listen to her waxing lyrical about comics, movies and more each week as she co-hosts Crooked Media's pop-culture podcast, X-Ray Vision.

NOTE: The views and opinions expressed in this feature are solely those of Rosie Knight and do not necessarily reflect those of DC or Warner Bros. Discovery, nor should they be read as confirmation or denial of future DC plans.