What happens when you mix five kids and one dead superhero?
A wonderfully twisted tale about friendship, loyalty, and coming of age, turns out.
Plutona is the brainchild of Sweet Tooth alums, Jeff Lemire and Emi Lenox, both of whom seem to have struck comic book gold yet again with this one. Fans of the creators’ previous works will surely not be disappointed by this five-part miniseries that catalogues the daily lives of teenagers: Mie, Diane, Ray, and Teddy, as well as Mie’s little brother Mike, after they discover a dead body in the woods on their way home from school.
Now this isn’t just any average run-of-the-mill dead body, mind you. This is the body of the incomparable and supposedly-indestructible Plutona, the most renowned superhero of them all. Fearing that bad guys would completely take control their city if news of Plutona’s death were to get out, our protagonists decide to keep this discovery to themselves. Naturally, this evasion strategy ends up working out just as terribly as you’d think it would, and as any Edgar Allan Poe fan may have surmised, the guilt of keeping the body a secret eats away at each of them, some in more harmful ways than others.
This leads into one of the book’s more interesting facets, the different ways each of our “heroes” react to the inciting incident. Diane is a kind and good-natured girl who finds the whole situation appalling and immediately wants to inform an adult. Ray, on the other hand, a chain smoking rebel “bad boy” from an abusive household, thinks this is one of the most exciting things to ever happen to him and wants to use this gruesome discovery to become rich and famous (and presumably rectify his non-ideal living situation). Our resident nerd and superhero expert, Teddy, attempts to take on the situation from a more scientific angle, whereas Mike and Mie are more willing to follow the herd and keep up appearances, choosing to take things one day at a time. With such a huge revelation kept between five fundamentally different individuals, it’s only a matter of time before secrets, lies, and lapses in judgement pile up, ultimately leading to power struggles, tragedy, and betrayal.
All of this is made even better by the fact that as you are seeing the lives of these children spiral out of control, you are simultaneously learning about what happened to Plutona in the moments leading up to her demise. The contrast provides a really thought-provoking commentary on heroism and how the decisions we make are what ultimately define us as people and separate the bad guys from the good.
This story is expertly crafted and perfectly weaves the innocence and naivety of golden age superheroes with the harsh and sometimes horrific realities of everyday life. My only real complaint? I wish there was more of it! Short and impactful with stunning visuals and striking character designs that will stay with you long after you finish reading, Plutona is an excellent choice for fans of other dark sci-fi comics such as Wytches or The Woods.