Writers: Emi Lenox, Jeff Lemire / Artist: Emi Lenox / Image Comics
In a comic whose setting was creatively equipped to balance the reality-defying world of superheroes with the everyday life of normal people, Plutona has taken an unexpected direction. Instead of the two worlds colliding – effectively introducing superheroes into the lives of our non-powered, regular protagonists – we see them being kept quite separate, and in its place we’re given a different struggle of our regular teens wanting that collision to happen; wanting to go further down the rabbit hole of the fantastical after their first glimpse of a hero lying dead on the ground.
[quote_right]How dark can Plutona get? Is this more “How to Train Your Dragon,” or more “Attack the Block”? [/quote_right]It’s an unexpected direction, but not a bad one. The fact that more heroes haven’t arrived yet, or that Plutona hasn’t proved to be alive or, predictably, risen from the grave by some magical means, is only surprising because it’s been the obvious direction for a superhero plot to take. After all, the entire theme is always of a special person who lives around the normals – an alien among us. Plutona proves to be different in that the only hero tied to our plot is a dead one… at least so far. And after four issues, I’m starting to think she’s really not getting back up.
If so, they really just made an orphan of her daughter, making this also a darker comic than expected. It’s always interesting reading a new creative property before you know the rules – you know the survival odds of any Marvel or DC event, you have expectations for the fear of death and the likelihood of any character’s resurrection. An indie, though? Is this more How to Train Your Dragon, or more Attack the Block?
Either way, I’m down for the ride. A 5-issue series, Plutona quickly tied readers to its cast of characters in its very first issue, and that definitely pays off as I understood their individual personalities and their role within the group, and cared about their social dynamic. Every time Mie treats Die like crap, I cringe inside. You probably do, too. The painful awkwardness of their scenes, the disappointment in Mie, the desire for Die to grow up to have the confidence of Pam Poovey – it all points back how fast we came to understand and appreciate these characters.
Probably the most underrated element of Plutona is the sequential art, which has consistently told its half of the story in a clear, emotional way. The expressions set the emotional tone of each scene, especially capturing the nervousness and awkwardness of the frequent silent panels.
One more issue to go and that’s the end of Plutona.
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