By Jonathan Edwards
Y'know as much as I've loved every issue of Plastic, I'm glad it's ending here at #5. A big part of what makes this book so damn engrossing is the uniquely skewed perspectives of Edwyn and the narrative itself. As such, one of the biggest problems we could encounter as readers would be getting used to those perspectives. So, ending it before that has a chance to happen is the way to go. That being said, is the ending actually any good? Is it a predictable conclusion? Or, does it do something unexpected yet inevitable? Well to be honest, the answer to all three of those questions is "yes." At first, I was almost a little disappointed in how quickly and even perhaps uneventfully things seemed to be wrapping up. And then, right before the end, something happened. It's simultaneously the type of thing I never expected for a second that this book would do and the final defining reinforcement of who Edwyn really is. But, that's all I'm going to say about it. Because, there's no way I'm going to even come close to spoiling that moment.
We start with Edwyn and Belliveau in the boathouse. Virginia and Tray are exchanged for each other, and everything is hunky dory. Except, we know that it totally isn't. Because let's face it, Belliveau has never been one to leave loose ends hanging, and Edwyn is a loose end he's been trying to snip off since issue #2. And sure enough, the shit almost immediately hits the fan. This whole sequence kind of threw me for a loop when I first read it, as I really didn't expect Edwyn to get Virginia back so early. Furthermore, what I did expect was for the action to keep going until the last few pages, and that didn't happen. Instead, we have the whole back half of the issue dedicated to wrapping everything else up. But to be fair, I'd rather have more pages dedicated to a substantial ending over a big dumb fight in a book that's not really had a lot of big dumb fights.
However, the second half of Plastic #5 does make me wish for something we didn't get a ton of throughout the series. And, that's backstory for Gwen. I think Wagner nailed it with Edwyn's character and arc, but all I really know about Gwen is that she must've had a real hard life up to this point, and even that I had to almost entirely infer. It's really unfortunate, because it does ultimately prevent us from empathizing with her as much as we could have. It's easy to intellectually understand that meeting Edwyn was very meaningful to her (especially given the circumstances of that meeting), but it feels like there is something deeper going on with her character that we just aren't privy to.
Now, I know I've pretty much lauded the artwork of Plastic in all of my reviews for it. And, that's not going to change with this one. But, I will cut to the chase and talk just one last time about Laura Martin's wonderful colors. The greens of the entire series have more or less been limited to either sickly or military shades. But here, one of the last images we get is La Croix and Edwyn's mom among lush and verdant nature. I love this. So much. Taken in context with how we're introduced to Edwyn at the beginning of the first issue, this shift in greens becomes a perfect visual bookend for his development. And yes, it even coincides with that significant moment I mentioned in my first paragraph.
Plastic has been a trip. One I thoroughly enjoyed. With a unique and nuanced take on morality, love, and the lenses we see other people through, it's hard to describe it as anything other than one of the most interesting books I've read all year. The trade comes out in October, so if you haven't given it a shot yet, are interesting, and comfortable with more than a few gory details, I'd definitely recommend picking that up.
Writer: Doug Wagner
Artist: Daniel Hillyard
Colorist: Laura Martin
Letterer: Ed Dukeshire
Editor: Keven Gardner
Publisher: Image Comics