Wednesday, October 5, 2011

A Deluge of Stretchy Guys

DC Comics Presents #93:

"That's the way the Heroes Bounce" with Superman and the "Elastic Four."

Who are the Elastic Four, you ask? All the stretchy guys in the DC Universe: Plastic Man (Eel O’Brien), Elongated Man (Ralph Dibny), Elastic Lad (Jimmy Olsen) and Malleable Man.

Unless you've read this issue, you're now wondering who the heck Malleable Man is. He's actually the bad guy. Now stay with me--this gets a little weird.

Malleable Man was in the same gang as Eel O'Brien when Eel has the bullet wound/chemical spill accident that gives him stretching powers. He deduces that Eel is Plastic Man and that he must have gotten his powers in that accident. So he recreates the accident (yes, he shoots himself in the shoulder and then spills toxic chemicals over himself). Comic book science being what it is, this works, giving him stretchy powers also.

Then he uses a mind-control potion to gradually gain control over the other three stretchy guys. His motive? Well, Jimmy Olsen knows where the Fortress of Solitude is; Plastic Man can take the form of a hot-air balloon to fly them all there; and all four of them can use their stretchy powers to get in through the giant key-hole. Then Malleable Man can rob the Fortress of its treasures. I'm not sure why he needs Ralph along as well, but there you go.

It's an undeniably brilliant plan. 

Well, okay, actually it's a silly plan. But this is a deliberately silly story. If you go with the silliness and just enjoy the images of stretchy guys chasing each other and fighting each other and "accidentally" getting in Superman's way a couple of times, then you'll have fun. The frame of Ralph stretching out his fingers and wrapping them around a gang of gunmen alone makes the story worthwhile. This is a nice break from heart-breaking angst and world-threatening supervillains and overly serious comics that have often forgotten how to just have fun from time to time.

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