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Mild Mannered Reviews - JLA Comics

JLA #65

JLA #65

Scheduled to arrive in stores: April 24, 2002

Cover date: June 2002

Writer: Joe Kelly
Penciller: Doug Mahnke
Inker: Tom Nguyen

"Bouncing Baby Boy"

John-Paul Zito Reviewed by: John-Paul Zito (

While out on a routine surveillance mission of the roughest toughest thugs in Gotham, Batman is interrupted and fouled up by none other then the JLA's resident class clown: Plastic Man. It would appear that Eel O'brien has a tiny problem that requires Batman's talents, but doesn't want to go through normal JLA protocols to get it taken care of. What is this emergency that only Batman can deal with?

An ex-girlfriend of Plastic Man's, Angel, is having trouble keeping her son, Luke, under control. A son that Plastic Man denies having any relation too. Luke is involved with some bad kids, and he's been getting mixed up with inner city gangs. Plastic Man thinks it would do the boy good to get scared straight by the Dark Knight himself. When Plas shows up, Capped Crusader in tow, she's more then suprised. After a quick questioning of his mother, the JLA twosome hit the streets.

Meanwhile off the coast of Florida the sea life is torn up into bloody pulp and the sea is stained red. And the JLA is no where to be found.

Back in the city Batman and Plastic Man stumble upon Luke. He's shapeshifted into a triceratops and rampages down the street over turning cars as gang bangers ride his back. It's more then obvious Luke is the son of Plastic Man. Batman swoops in and disarms the gang bangers. But the whole crew gets away along with Luke when Plastic Man shows up in the form of the Flash attempting to bluff the kids into surrendering because he doesn't want Luke to see him.

After the skirmish Plastic Man admits to Bats that he knocked up Angel ten years back and ran off like a big chicken when the due date rolled around. Despite Plastic Man's assumption that Batman is going to hit the road and never talk to him again. However, Batman isn't about to let a ten year old meta-human with dangerous powers run around unchecked.

Back at the gangs house Luke is psyching himself out in the bathroom. It's time to prove himself, it's time to off someone. When young Luke exits the bathroom he finds his hard-core gang banging friends shivering and paralyzed with fear. Batman has arrived, the mere sight of him causes Luke to melt into a puddle of goo. Then Luke goes into defensive mode and shape shifts into a monster of sorts. When Batman doesn't budge the boy backs down. Luke breaks into tears, Batman tries to talk some sense into him, but Luke's more interested to know if Batman knows his dad. "Are your friends" ha asks "does he know about me?" Just then Batman's utility belt sheds a tear, Eel O'brien has been there the whole time, watching, too scared to say hello to his son.

Later back at the Watchtower Batman urges Plastic Man to be a man and go see his son. Plastic Man hangs his head in shame. He's just not ready.

4Story - 4: The story itself is a great exploration of Batman and Plastic Man's relationship. For a while way back when Plas used to work for Bats at the Dark Knights digression. Here we get to see how much more comfortable Batman is around Plastic Man then one might assume. You get a real sense that Batman is talking with Plastic Man as opposed to talking AT him.

I find it hard to believe, however, that Plastic Man had a son and Batman never knew about it. I mean this is Batman, he's supposed to know everything. Plus I don't think Bats would be so understand that Eel turns out to be a dead beat dad.

Not that this matters too much but the gang members Luke hooks up with use way too much slang for such a relatively small amount of dialogue. Just a pet peeve I have when writers use too much "young people slang." Joe Kelly isn't usually guilty of this, he just seems to slip up here.

3Art - 3: The art for the most part is pretty good, but it's in consistent. It starts off rough but by the end of the book Mahnke pulls his act together, his art is more evenly shaded and his figures are better defined.

2Cover Art - 2: I like the concept of the cover but it's just sloppy looking. Batman's pose looks forced and Plastic Man is shaded in big blotchy dark spots. The image almost looks as if it had been drawn much smaller and enlarged to fit the dynamics of a cover.

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Note: Month dates are from the issue covers, not the actual date when the comic went on sale.

January 2002

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