If there’s one super power that has a tendency to be underestimated, it’s shape-shifting, particularly of the stretching type. Mister Fantastic, arguably the most famous “stretchy” character out there often has that part of his talents down played to focus on his high-level intellect. I’ve always felt that was a shame. I love stretchy characters because I think they have a lot of potential for creativity on the part of the writer/artist. They’re just a whole lot of fun! In fact, one of my favorite characters of all time is the Elongated Man. He’s not the character I’m looking at today, but he almost would have been, had it not been for the fact that Julie Schwartz, one of the guys behind the creation of Elongated Man (and so many other Silver Age DC characters, but that’s more for a later time), didn’t remember that DC owned the name Plastic Man. Granted, EM would have still be the same character, just with Plastic Man’s name, similar to the Hal Jordan Green Lantern and the Barry Allen Flash. I’m getting a bit off topic, aren’t I?
For those of you who don’t know, Plastic Man is Eel O’Brien, a one-time crook who gets doused by a strange chemical and left behind by his gang during a heist. When he awakes, he discovers he has the ability to stretch his body into impossible shapes. He decides to use this power to bring his old partners to justice and creates the identity of Plastic Man. He was big in the 40s, but faded into obscurity until around the 80s, where he saw a bit of a resurgence in popularity, eventually leading to him joining the Justice League of America during Grant Morison’s run on the series in the 90s. But, what of the figure?
THE FIGURE ITSELF
Plas was released in the 3rd series of Kenner’s JLA series. JLA was a line of figures exclusive to KB toys in the late 90s. They were made using retooled molds from Kenner’s Total Justice line from a few years previous. Plas’s inclusion in the line makes sense given his place on the titular team at the time. Plas has 5 points of articulation and stands about 7 inches tall with his neck fully extended. The line was in 5 inch scale, so he fits right in. The line used a few common pieces for certain figures, and Plas features the generic male torso, used by a few of the figures. The rest of the figure’s sculpt is unique. It all works together pretty well, though I can’t help but feel that the re-used torso looks a bit too stubby in comparison to the rest of the figure. The head and arms are cast in rubber with wires running through them, allowing you to pose the arms and neck in a variety of ways. The paint is passable. It’s fairly basic, but that fits with the rest of the line. The biggest issue with the paint is that it had some peeling issues on the rubber pieces, particularly the white on his goggles and teeth, which is almost gone on my figure. The hands have also suffered from some noticeable yellowing. Sadly, these are both issues of working with rubbery materials. I don’t know that anything could have been done to prevent them. Plas included a JLA logo stand, in red I believe.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
I got Plas from the KB Toy outlet in the town where my family vacationed. I know I had seen the figure before, and had been interested in getting it, but I never did. My parents bought him and another JLA figure (I believe it was Impulse) for me, which was pretty cool. It’s actually not a bad figure, though it sadly did suffer from a few issues over time. I’d be curious if a Plas who had less playtime might have come out unscathed.