By Jonathan Edwards
This is a bit of a different issue for the series. The first half is almost entirely dedicated to action, and though there is still time for some really nice character moments, none of them are as revelatory as in previous installments. That is to say, the characters and tone have all been properly set, and now we're just watching the events unfold. On the one hand, it does make for a technically less substantial read. But on the other, there's still plenty of good stuff in here, and it does still build off of what's come before. Plus, with the series conclusion right around the corner, the real purpose of this issue is to set up the big finale. And in that regard, Plastic #4 is hugely successful.
Our first page quickly reminds us of the current status of the book's morality. Namely, Edwyn is ultimately a good person at heart, while Belliveau's men are uniformly assholes. Furthermore, there's something progressively surreal and kind of honest about the way the former identifies the latter as "Potty Mouth" or "Bigot" after he's killed them. At first glance, one could argue that Edwyn's mental instability limits the way he can perceive others. It's as if he really doesn't see people for their complexities but a singular defining trait instead. However, even if that is meant to be the case, perhaps those singular traits aren't arbitrary. Maybe he's capable of seeing the core of who a person is. For example, I went back to double-check, and the aforementioned "Bigot" was indeed the single goon that was throwing around homophobic slurs. What's more "Licker" the Sheriff whom Edwyn killed last time for, well, licking Viriginia also attempted to sexually assault Gwen after another woman shut down his unwanted advances. He was a sleazy dude through and through, and "Bigot" was just that too.
The biggest question I have from this issue and going into the next one is why exactly does Gwen want so badly to help Edwyn? Because, it seems fairly evident that there's something else going on with her that's being left unsaid for the time being. My best guess would be that she developed some psychological complex perceiving him as her personal savior because of his killing of "Licker." But at the same time, that doesn't really feel right with how the book has been written thus far. Not to mention the fact that there really hasn't been a single thing that I've actually seen coming. So yeah.
The art is as great as always. Without giving away too much, I do want to especially mention the page where Belliveau... let's just say he receives a call. The pacing and composition make it so perfectly evocative. So much so that it's one of the few moments in recent memory that I could vividly hear in my head while I was reading it. And, this is in no small part thanks to Hillyard's pencils, which depict Belliveau with a completely on point set of expressions for the entire scene.
With one issue left to go, it is a bit saddening to know that a series as good as Plastic will be over by this time next month. Although, not a fiber of my being expects anything less than a wholly satisfying ending. Because as it stands, Plastic has remained one of the best series I've read all year.
Writer: Doug Wagner
Artist: Daniel Hillyard
Colorist: Laura Martin
Letterer: Ed Dukeshire
Editor: Keven Gardner
Publisher: Image Comics