Written by: Jeff Lemire and Emi Lenox
Art by: Emi Lenox and Jordie Bellaire
Published by: Image
Plutona is exactly how I like my Jeff Lemire comics. While I’m absolutely loving his grand saga in Descender, my favourite stories by him are those that are smaller in scope, usually involving a group of kids going on some form of coming-of-age journey. So when I found Plutona was a coming-of-age story that felt like Stand by Me set in Smallville, I was absolutely on board. Couple this with the absolutely beautiful art of newcomer Emi Lenox and Plutona is a series very easy for me to recommend.
Last issue ended with a group of kids living in a small town discovering the dead body of famous superhero Plutona. This issue picks up right where the last left off, with the kids arguing what to do while we learn a bit more about how the heroes of the world function. I really liked the pacing in this issue; while the first introduced our key players and their different personalities, we now get to see how they interact around each other, to great effect. The kids personalities bounce well off of each other and work brilliantly as a main cast. While this issue may make them seem a little more simplified compared to their more rounded portrayals in issue 1 (Ray is particular comes off as a little too antagonistic this time round), it’s inevitable given the tight space allotted by the book.
The world building, however, is handled excellently. I originally hadn’t known the book was going to feature superheroes and was unsure how they would fit in with the story, but the concept is woven in very naturally and isn’t at all obtrusive. It actually adds to the nostalgic feel to the story, as the superhero lover Teddy is both relatable and charming. The slow discovery about this world’s superheroes is like talking to other kids in school about comics in days of old, which gives the book a fantastic feeling. Lemire’s own back-up story also features again this issue, chronicling the last adventure of Plutona; however, clocking in at only two pages, it’s a little too short to leave much of an impact. While I’m still interested to see where the story goes and how it ties into the main narrative, it is a little lacking this month.
What really brings the nostalgic, charming tone to the book is the gorgeous work of Emi Lenox. His style looks like a refined version of Lemire’s own artwork, which gives the book a familiar feeling to fans while also going in its own direction. Anyone who’s read a comic featuring kids will know how awkward they are to draw, yet Lenox makes it look easy, imbuing each character design with a ton of charm and personality. Jordie Bellaire on colours also helps the kids stand out, and his work in this issue is absolutely fantastic, capturing the dark, imposing colours of the woods while also not making the issue look boring or muddy. The issue primarily takes place in the woods, meaning most of the backgrounds are quite similar, yet Lenox and Bellaire get to flex their talents on a lovely scene involving the kids at their individual homes. It’s beautiful as it really drives home the differences in their backgrounds and reinforces some of their character traits without any dialogue. Given the previously mentioned limited space, it’s a brilliant way to get across the characters without having endless pages of dialogue and exposition.
Plutona is a fantastic comic that knows exactly what it wants to be and does it excellently. For fans of Lemire’s smaller, more intimate works, this should be a top priority on your reading list. If you’ve never read any of his work however, this is a perfect place to start. With top notch writing and beautiful art, Plutona is definitely worth a read.