Jeff Lemire, writer of Descender, Sweet Tooth, and the latest Animal Man series, is bringing us another brand new comic, coming September 2nd. This time, it’s a five-issue mini-series called Plutona, announced back at the Image Expo in January 2015, about five kids who discover something shocking out in the woods one day. Is it good?
Plutona #1 (Image Comics)
The first issue of Plutona, overall, is pretty good and does a lot of things right. Story-wise, the comic here is very light (the solicit for this first issue pretty much tells you the entire story) and not a whole lot happens in it. Instead, the issue is primarily about introducing the audience to our five main characters and what they are all about. You get to learn more about them and what makes them tick, getting quick glimpses into their lives and how they interact with one another when they cross paths. For instance, early on, you get four pages about just showing their morning routines, with each kid getting one page dedicated to them (except for two, since they are brother and sister). There’s a lot to read into about them and their family life from these pages alone.
Speaking of which, let’s focus on the characters themselves who are a nice wide range of characters and personalities, each different from one another. “Teddy Tugger” (though he says he isn’t called that anymore) is the first kid introduced, who’s big into the superheroes in his town and is also quite smart. There’s Diana, who seems to be a bit self-conscious about herself and is trying to build up this façade around her, judging by the first page she appears in and how much she wants to get her jacket back. There’s Ray, who has also built his own façade, making himself look like a tough and rough teen who doesn’t care about anyone or anything. However, at times, those walls fall and he lets his guard drop (in particular with a later scene with Teddy). Then there’s Mie, who is abrasive and selfish, wanting things to go her way and acting mean when they don’t. Lastly, there’s her brother named Mike, who is the least developed of the characters due to not doing or saying much in the issue. They are an interesting cast of characters and I look forward to seeing how they grow and develop.
Lemire’s writing, like with a lot of his series, is very good. The pacing is just right, keeping things from feeling too fast or too slow. There are moments where the comic becomes decompressed, which is the main reason why the comic feels rather light on story. However, it’s not as egregious about it like in other series out there and it helps make the comic flow better. The dialogue is good and engaging—the characters sound natural and human during their exchanges with one another, which helps make them be more believable. The only weakness I could say about the writing is more from a personal point-of-view having read a lot of Lemire’s work in the past and while also being a nitpick. He’s really strong at writing emotion and drama, making you really feel and get wrapped up in these characters’ lives and stories. However, there wasn’t any real strong emotion or drama to this issue, so it didn’t have as much impact as his other series… yet at least. Again, it’s just something nitpick worthy.
Last thing to note is the artwork, brought to us mostly by Emi Lenox. Lemire himself draws the backup story at the end of the issue, which looks pretty good. Lenox’s work on the comic is great, who brings this more kiddish and cartoonish look to the book. The characters all look decent and are easy to distinguish from one another, while also having a really solid range of facial expressions and body language (you can really get a good read on what everyone is feeling in this book). The layouts are put together well and easy to follow, while most of the panels actually have backgrounds in them and not just blank voids. Jordie Bellaire provides the colors on the book and her coloring is nice as well. It’s a good looking book overall from start to finish no matter who is drawing.
Is It Good?
Plutona #1 is a good comic, and a good start to this series. While the story is fairly light and almost nonexistent until the end, the strength of the character work makes up for almost any shortcoming this comic has. If you are looking for another Jeff Lemire book or a comic with a classic adventure kids’ film feel, check it out this September.