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cover: Plastic Man: Complete Collection - d1&2

Plastic Man: Complete Collection - d1&2

Director(s): various

Theatrical Release: 1979-1981

Cast: Michael Bell, Jack Baker, Melendy Britt, Johnny Brown, Peter Cullen, Bobby F. Ellerbee

Genre(s): comic book, TV, animation, Action, Adventure, Comedy

Countries: USA

Location in store: Sci-Fi & Fantasy > Comic Book

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The limb-stretching, wisecracking Plastic Man, one of the most offbeat superheroes in the DC Comics stable, got his own Saturday morning cartoon series between 1979 and 1981, which is compiled here in all its lighthearted, slapstick-driven glory. The Ruby/Spears-produced series did away with the darker origins of the character from the comic (in short: smalltime hood Eel O'Brien is doused by a mysterious chemical that gives him his powers of elasticity, which he uses to fight crime after his former partners abandon him) and focuses on broad situations that allow Plas to riff wildly while saving gal pal Penny and sidekick Hula Hula from various villains (three of which--Carrot-Man, Doctor Dome, and Doctor Honctoff--are carried over from the comics). The tone is very much in line with the cartoons of the period--laughs and wackiness are emphasized over story--but Michael Bell gives an amusing vocal performance as Plastic Man, and some of the episodes ("Wham-Bam! Beware of the Clam!") have a manic surrealism that brings to mind the Tick's brief animated tenure. Fans should note that the 35 episodes compiled here are only the Plastic Man episodes featured as part of the multi-segment Plastic Man Comedy/Adventure Show; the second-season debut of Baby Plas, who earned his own segments, and the Plastic Family (Plas, long-suffering girlfriend-turned-wife Penny, and their son, Baby Plas, take on somewhat lesser challenges) are not included here. Extras include an unaired Plastic Man pilot from 2006 with Tom Kenny (SpongeBob SquarePants) lending the rocket fuel to this new version of the character developed by Batman: The Brave and the Bold's Andy Suriano. There's also a 14-minute featurette, "PLAS-tastic: A Brief History of Plastic Man," which brings together several of the original show's writers with Suriano and Kenny to discuss both animated takes on Plastic Man, as well as his appearances in the comics and more recent guest shots on Brave and the Bold. (Paul Gaita)