Wednesday, August 10, 2016


Plutona has a pretty simple set-up: It is about five young people who happen upon the dead body of their city's greatest superheroine in the woods. So, in a way it is like a bizarro version of Stand By Me, but like that movie what really makes this narrative hum is the synergy between its protagonists. The superhero elements are the backdrop, and the human drama takes center stage. The players here are a motley bunch, starting with goody-goody superhero fanboy Teddy,
trying to be cool Diane,
proto-juvenile delinquent Ray,
tough-girl Mie, and her little brother Mike (who constantly annoys her):
Of course there is a bunch of in-fighting between these kids, but what transpires crosses over into surprisingly dark territory. There are lies and betrayals aplenty, and alliances and relationships form, shift, and morph in almost unrecognizable ways. This book is much more about identity and finding one's place in the world than it is about a murder mystery. And I found the characters and constant twists highly satisfying, because the characters were so well-defined and the plot was so compellingly complex.

Part of what makes this book work so well is that it looks very cartoony and bright, which juxtaposes very well with the darkness and seriousness of the plot. Writer Jeff Lemire and artists Emi Lenox and Jordie Bellaire have collaborated in excellent fashion, and this tale is simply masterful. Lemire has a laundry list of comics credits for all sorts of genres at all sorts of publishers. Lenox is a relative newcomer, and Bellaire is the reigning Eisner Award winner for Best Colorist. Lemire and Lenox speak about their work on the book in this interview.

All of the reviews I have read about this book have been full of praise. Doug Zawisza wrote, "I was ready to dismiss "'Plutona" #1 as "Stand By Me" meets super heroes, but Lemire, Lenox, Bellaire and Wands bring along a balanced cast and fun, lively art." Paul Bowler wrote that it is "one of those new comic book series that arrives like a bolt from the blue, capturing the imagination and completely blowing you away with its thoughtful premise, great writing, and beautiful artwork." Caitlin Rosberg called it "a mystery worth waiting for."

Plutona was originally published as a 5-issue limited series. This collection was published by Image Comics, and they have a preview and more information available here.

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