More Plot than Punch, Plutona #2 Holds a Little Back
The first issue of Plutona set the stage with interesting characters and a starkly realistic interpretation of a modern superhero culture. The second issue continues the good momentum by further developing the plot. Plutona is the story of five incredibly normal suburban kids who find the corpse of a masked superheroine, Plutona. It should be a simple matter of informing the local police – or at least their parents – but Teddy, the“capespotter” of the bunch, convinces the rest of the kids not keep it a secret. After all, what will the super villains do when they learn that their greatest adversary is no longer around to stop them? But if that’s really the case, why has Teddy returned to Plutona’s corpse in the middle of the night?
Stories like Plutona are few and far between, probably because it’s hard to tell a superhero story when the superhero starts off as dead. However, the true beauty of Plutona is that – despite it very obviously being a superhero story – it’s focused on the life and trials of five pretty normal kids. Ray has an abusive father; Di is handy with crafts, but overweight; Teddy capespots and is a total nerd; and Mie and Mike bicker at every opportunity. Plutona is about how normal kids react in abnormal situations, and how their character is tested in the face of unbelievable and inconceivable darkness and horror. Plus, Plutona herself is not your run-of-the-mill superheroine; she’s a mother, a waitress, and just as unsure and scared as the rest of us in this mad world.
The art is a big help to telling the story. The style that Emi Lenox brings comes across as cartoonish, but the muted palette of colors translates into a much more serious, darker story. The paneling itself isn’t anything unique, but the arrangement and point of view of the illustrations manages to convey both the drama and emotion of the story. Probably my only complaint with the second issue is that it was over so quickly. Most panels are dialogue, which sets an interesting background for the story, but doesn’t move the story along too quickly. Without the last few panels, this issue would have been a little boring, but I think it’s clear that Lemire is setting us up for some action and drama in the next few issues.