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It was fun to briefly look back on Plastic Man, a show I hadn’t seen since I was just a little kid. I had pretty vague memories of this since it had a much shorter life than its contemporary, Superfriends, and much less syndication. Clearly this was rival animation studio Ruby-Spears attempt to get onboard with their own DC Comics franchise after former employers’, Hanna-Barbara, long running success. And in its manner, Plastic Man succeeds at the template set by Superfriends. Its focus is largely on comedy over straight action and, even in aiming this at a very young set, Plastic Man is occasionally pretty funny. The animation is serviceable, on par for what was being done at the time, but the writing runs dull when it focuses on Plas and his crew. Penny is the worst, generally doing nothing but throwing herself unsuccessfully at Plas, who would rather moon over the always hateful Chief, who belittles and threatens Plas constantly, regardless his level of success. Yeah, it’s a pretty misogynistic cartoon. His other sidekick is Hula-Hula, who must have replaced comics’ Woozy Winks during the Great Ethnic Superhero Drive that brought us Black Vulcan and Apache Chief. He’s useless and blames every failure on his ever-present “bad luck.” That is until he meets with one of his innumerable contacts and becomes the Sam to Plastic Man’s Michael Weston, finding out the dirt on their villain-of-the-week. That brings me to the show’s real strength, its collection of oddball antagonists. Nowhere else are you going to find an anthropomorphic clam wearing an eye patch and a captain’s hat. The Weed seems like a precursor to Tick villain El Seed. The show could be indirectly responsible for a lot of the Tick’s rogue’s gallery in retrospect. Watching them on DVD got old, though, as the plots tend to run together and the jokes kept repeating themselves. I only made it through a couple of discs, skipping the Baby Plas years altogether. Fun is fun but I’ve had enough for now. 3 stars


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