Eel O’Brian, aka Plastic Man, is one of the DC heroes I found most surprising as I got into comics. While his powerset is reminiscent of the Elongated Man (or Mister Fantastic), Eel’s a former criminal who never stops making outlandish jokes. Plus, Plastic Man’s origins date back to creator Jack Cole’s work in the 1940’s Golden Age of comics!
Whether you know all about Plastic Man’s long comics history, or just know him from modern roles in series like Grant Morrison’s JLA or The Terrifics, I’ve put together a guide detailing Plastic Man’s essential starring roles.
Below you’ll find a complete guide for the essential Plastic Man comics, from his origins to today. Enjoy the comics!
Related Reading Orders:
Golden Age Plastic Man by Jack Cole
Collects: Police Comics 1-20
Collects: Police Comics 21-30; Plastic Man 1
Collects: Police Comics 31-39; Plastic Man 2
Collects: Police Comics 40-49; Plastic Man 3
Collects: Police Comics 50-58; Plastic Man 4
Collects: Police Comics 59-65; Plastic Man 5-6
Collects: Police Comics 66-71; Plastic Man 7-8
Collects: Police Comics 72-77; Plastic Man 9-10
Post Crisis & in the JLA!
Collects: Plastic Man #1 To #4
Grant Morrison’s run writing JLA (with art primarily by Howard Porter) is the biggest moment for Plastic Man since the Golden Age. Everything we know about modern Eel O’Brien starts here!
Note that the above four JLA collections will take you through JLA #1 to #41
JLA Vol. 5 – Issues #47 to #60
JLA Vol. 6 – Issues #61 to #76
Late 2000’s and the New 52 Dark Ages!
Collects: Grodd of War #1, Kid Flash Lost #1 to #3, Legion of Doom #1 to #3, Reverse Flash #1, Citizen Cold #1 to #3
Plastic Man gets recast in DC’s Flashpoint as a villainous member of the Legion of Doom!
Collects: Injustice Year 4 Annual #1
Without question some of my favorite Plastic Man comics of all time. The Tom Taylor written annual is a wonderful story about Eel and Luke connecting (or a lot times, not connecting) as they use stealthily explore the secrets of the Injustice universe. As you’d expect, knowledge of Injustice goes a decent way to setting the stage, but honestly, if you have the basic premise as background (really bad stuff happened, Superman finally decided to become a Tyrant of Earth, Batman leads the resistance) you can jump in for the Plas pleasure cruise.
After this, Plastic Man and Luke have a slightly more regular role in the series during Injustice 2. As always, I like to extend a standing recommendation to read any of these stories written by Tom Taylor.
The Return of Plastic Man!
Collects: Plastic Man #1 To #6
Gail Simone takes a stab at this Plastic Man miniseries.
Collects: Dark Nights: Metal #1-6
While he spends a vast majority of the event as an egg – no, really – Plastic Man is shockingly crucial to my favorite DC event of the 2000’s!
For the full guide, check out Comic Book Herald’s Metal reading order.
Collects: The Terrifics #1-6
Following Plastic Man’s strange role in Metal, he gets to join up with the newest DC team, The Terrifics. This series never really hit for me like I hoped it would, but I still enjoy the team concept.
Collects: The Terrifics #7-14
Collects: Event Leviathan #1 To #7
Plastic Man is one of the detectives working to solve the event’s central question: “Who is Leviathan?”
For the full reading order, check out Comic Book Herald’s Event Leviathan guide.