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SuperFriends Comic Book Character
Ruby-Spears Character
Plastic Man
Plastic Man (01x03 - Professor Goodfellow's G.E.E.C.)
Information
Real name: Unknown[1]
AKA: Eel O'Brian
P.M. (Called by Superman)[2]
Plas (Called by Batman)
Plaz[3]
Species: Metahuman
Homeworld: Earth
Universe: Earth-One
Earth-1A
Sex: Male
Hair: black
Relatives: Penny O'Brian (wife)
Baby Plas (son, later known as Offspring)
Apprentice: Woozy Winks
Hula-Hula
Occupation: Government Agent
Reformed criminal
Affiliations: National Bureau of Investigation (N.B.I.)
Voiced/Played: Norman Alden[4]
Michael Bell[5]
Taylor Marks[6]


PM 2

Ruby-Spears Appearance

Plastic Man (SF 43)

Plastic Man!
Image from SuperFriends, #43 (April 1, 1981)


Plastic Man (“Eel” O'Brian) is a superhero, who is an agent for the National Bureau of Investigation.

He has the ability to stretch all or part of his body to superhuman lengths, as well as change his size and shape.


Background Information

Continuity from Earth-One

Earth-One Continuity

In the parallel-universe of Earth-One, "Eel" O'Brian, a ruthless lawbreaker and ‘safecracker’ was on a heist at ‘Crawford Chemical Works’ Metropolis branch.[7] The heist goes south when the cops show up. His cohorts exchange gun-fire with the police, leaving their safecracking expert to take a bullet in the back. This causes O’Brian to fall into a chemical vat. Thinking he is dead the cop follows after the others. Despite tremendous pain, the wounded thug manages to drag himself out of the fiery liquid and escape. He sleeps for several days. When he awakes, he feels great, but soon realizes that he is able to stretch like rubber. He thinks that the chemical had seeped into his open wound as has changed him. With his new found ability, he seeks to apprehend and bring to justice the criminals who left him for dead.[8]

O’Brian soon teams-up with fellow hoodlum, Woozy Winks. Together, they would fight crime, bringing fear into the hearts of criminals.[9] O’Brian would also be recruited by the ‘National Bureau of Investigation’ (N.B.I.) and begin work as a secret operative.[10]

On the evening of February 11, 1959[11] (1971 in the Earth-1A universe) new hero, Plastic Man along with several other heroes was on hand for an unknown to the public, yet historical occasion. Future fellow Leaguer, Martian Manhunter had been kidnapped by Commander Blanx who was also from Mars. The gathered heroes, along with Superman, Batman, Robin, Wonder Woman, and the Flash free the Manhunter. These heroes believe that the world is not ready to handle Martians on earth and decided to keep the incident a secret.[12]

After this historic team-up, the usual solo-hero began working with other heroes. He was able to free Batman from a trap set by the Molder. The Molder is a ‘plastics research expert’ who has committed a series of complex heists. The two heroes team up, and in spite of the fact that the Molder's weapons work against Plastic Man's abilities, the two heroes manage to trip up the crook enough for Batman to defeat him and turn him over to the police.[13]

After a few years of crime-fighting, O’Brian begins to feel like he was seen as a joke by society, so he decides to retire the Plastic Man routine and become adventurer, Kyle Morgan – a man no woman could resist! He sets his sights on Ruby Ryder, world’s richest woman and top female tycoon. The two start dating and become engaged. He soon realized that she was cruel, selfish and power mad. Love for Ruby meant owning people. Wanting out of the relationship, he paid Jake Angel to fake his death and then disappeared. This only inspired Ruby to use her resources to find Kyle. After an exhaustive search, she is able to rally the Batman to her cause, by offering to donate five million dollars to the charity of his choice. Ruby sends Batman to South America where Kyle was last seen. Batman finds him and brings him back to Ryder, who shoots him dead and escapes. Batman then goes on the trail to find Ryder. Aided by a mysterious benefactor, Batman finds her and turns her over to police for murder. However, Batman stops the proceedings when he reveals that Kyle Morgan isn't dead. Kyle reveals that he is Plastic Man and that he took on the guise of Kyle Morgan to try and live a normal life. After learning her true nature, he left her and faked his death. With the mystery sorted out, Ruby's charges were lessened to attempted murder. As our story ends, Batman an O’Brian discuss the future of super-heroics.[14]

With a broken heart and crushed spirit O’Brian begins work in carnival, but eventually quits cause of all the ‘yokels yukking’ at him. He soon takes to the streets panhandling as a bum. As fate would have it, Batman is on a routine patrol on the streets in Gotham, when he stumbles upon the former hero. As they talk, Batman decides to offer him an opportunity to help on current case. Batman must leave Gotham for a few days and asks O’Brian to ‘fill-in’ as Batman and patrol the streets in his absence. As Bruce Wayne heads to Istanbul, O’Brian dons the Batman cape and cowl. Wayne’s mission is to purchase the ‘Neji’, an expensive totem from the Kahari tribe of Africa and bring it back to its native tribe that has erupted into violence. Back in Gotham Batman (O’Brian in disguise), who has just foiled a bank robbery, is asked to arrest Bruce Wayne, who is wanted for fraud and murder; so he heads to Istanbul. Not wanting to rock the boat as it were, Wayne is taken back to Gotham where his found guilty of his crimes and locked up in prison. There he's visited by his "lawyer" Rudolph Tinsley who turns out to be Rex Mason (AKA Metamorpho) in disguise. He gives Bruce a spare Batman costume and the two break out of prison and begin looking for Plastic Man and clues to Wayne’s false imprisonment. Their search brings them to Ruby Ryder Inc, where they over hear Ruby praising Batman (O’Brian in disguise) for his role in framing Bruce Wayne. As the two listen, O’Brian leaves and they hear that Ruby has used a polymeric catalyst to brainwash O’Brian, so she can have the priceless Neji. Ruby then tells her accomplish that the next phase of their plan involves giving the clueless O’Brian a fatal dose of the special cocktail. Batman soon uncovers that this plan of Ruby’s was set into motion months ago. She had placed a listening device in O’Brian’s jacket while he was panhandling and heard the plan to pose as Batman. And so, the perfect crime was conceived – get rid of Wayne and get revenge on Plastic Man. Batman and Metamorpho come up with a plan of their own. Batman will steal the Neji and Metamorpho with pose as the totem with a recording device hidden inside. Later, Ruby summons the crime-fighter imposter to give him the deadly dose. However as O’Brian arrives, Metamorpho cannot help cough due to Ruby’s cigarette. With his cover blown, the malleable men begin to battle. As Ryder's goon tries to shoot Plastic Man, he begins to realize that he's been brainwashed. He and Metamorpho work together to capture Ryder and turn her over to the police. Days later, the ordeal is over. O’Brian contemplates going back to panhandling. Batman tells him that he is good hero and that he handled himself admirably. Going back to panhandling would be a crime.[15]

A New Start and the N.B.I.

A New Start and the N.B.I.

Taking these words to heart, O’Brian rejoins his sidekick Woozy Winks and goes back to work at his old job with the ‘National Bureau of Investigation’ to fight crime as an operative. He would work for the N.B.I for the next several years. He also occasionally dated a young woman named Dolly.[16]

Plastic Man 2 (01x03 - Prof Goodfellow's G.E.E.C.)

Exclusive to the parallel-universe of Earth-1A, during the summer of 1976 Plastic Man, Superman, at the request of Batman, reaches out to O’Brian for help saving a tiny mouse that has fouled up Professor Goodfellow’s G.E.E.C. computer. Using his X-ray vision Superman guides P.M.’s special talent, successfully saving the mouse.[17]

Plastic Man teams up with Batman again after he is kidnapped by a cigarette smuggling gang. Batman manages to save Plastic Man, but the criminals get away. Their investigation takes them to Florida and after a long struggle, they capture the crooks.[18]

For the remainder of the decade (up to the Crisis), the shape-shifting sleuth would team up with Woozy to solve crimes for the N.B.I.[19]

According the The Plastic Man Comedy/Adventure Show (1979 to 1981) continuity, Plastic Man also works for the National Bureau of Investigation. He is assigned to tracking down and defeating bizarre criminal organizations. He was partnered with fellow agent and girlfriend, Penny – whom he later married. Later, they were joined by their son, Baby Plas. He also had bumbling sidekick called Hula-Hula.

NOTE: The Plastic Man episode "Superstein" is directly linked to the Season 4 episode "The Super Friends Meet Frankenstein." Dr. Frankenstein's sidekick; Gork, (inspired by assistant to many types of Gothic villains, Igor)[20] appears in both episodes, with the same voice actor and a similar character design.

More Coming Soon!

Plastic Man and Superman team up with a little help from Woozy and Jimmy Olsen to bring in one of Superman’s old enemies, Winslow Schott, alias the Toyman.[21]

Ex-con "Skizzle" Shanks, a former associate of Eel O'Brian who was present when O'Brian was accidentally splashed with the chemicals that gave O'Brian his incredible elasticity, sets his sights on revenge. Years later, after serving a lengthy prison sentence, Shanks bought the defunct ‘Crawford Chemical Works’ in Metropolis at a tax auction. With a gun in hand, he sets out to recreate the industrial accident that transformed Eel O'Brian into Plastic Man. Amazingly, his plan worked! He calls himself ‘Malleable Man’ and takes mental control of Plastic Man, Elastic Lad (aka Jimmy Olsen), and Elongated Man. Now, the four men have traveled to the arctic, to plunder the treasures hidden within Superman's Fortress of Solitude. Superman, however, is waiting for the Malleable Man. Superman is way ahead of them with an antidote. He successfully administers it and together they take down the inexperienced Malleable Man.[22]

Crisis on Infinite Earths

Crisis on Infinite Earths
Main Article: Crisis on Infinite Earths

It is July 1985. The skies overhead have turned red. Weather around the world is out of whack. All the signs point to the coming of Armageddon.

Plastic Man and his allies find themselves aboard a strange satellite. The heroes have been summoned by Alex Luthor Jr. of Earth-Three, Pariah and Harbinger. This trio has brought together a massive congregation of heroes from Earth-One and Earth-Two – against their will. Together the three explain that a being called the Anti-Monitor is consuming all positive-matter realities, but also explain that in order for things to correct themselves, the Multiverse must be folded back upon itself and become a single universe – the way it was intended, or else all worlds will be destroyed.[23]

That is the last we see of Plastic Man before the New Earth emerges.

Powers

Abilities

  • Skilled Thief
  • Master Detective


Weaknesses

In the Comics his weakness is Extreme Temperatures – hot or cold. The Comedy Adventure Show episodes back this up, where he can be temporarily melted by extreme heat. Because of its pliable nature, it's also been seen that sufficiently strong opponents have been able to stretch and bind Plastic Man with his own body.


Equipment

None


Transportation

None given


SuperFriends Team Members

Members of the Justice League of America

Aquaman (founding member) • Batman (founding member) • Superman (founding member) • Flash (founding member)
Green Lantern (founding member) • Martian Manhunter (founding member) • Wonder Woman (founding member)

Comic Book JLA Team Members:
Black CanaryElongated ManRed TornadoZatanna Zatara
Phantom Stranger (part-time Leaguer) • Sargon, The Sorcerer (honorary Leaguer)

Other Known Justice Leaguers:
The HuntressBlack OrchidCaptain MarvelSupergirlGreen FuryPlastic ManAtomGreen Arrow

SuperFriends Founding Members:
SupermanBatmanWonder WomanAquaman
HawkmanSamuraiGreen LanternFlashBlack Vulcan

Other Known SuperFriends Members:
HawkgirlApache ChiefEl DoradoRima

Junior SuperFriends:
RobinCyborgFirestorm
ZanJayna
Marvin WhiteWendy Harris

Mascots:
GleekWonder Dog


Appearances

SuperFriends Series (1973-85):

Super Friends comics (1976-1981):


See Also


Notes

  • The Golden Age Plastic Man first appeared in Police Comics, #1 (August 1941).[24]
    • He was created by writer-artist Jack Cole.
    • The first installment was an origin story that depicts our hero as a common criminal named “Eel” O’Brian. He was orphaned when he was young, leaving him to fend for himself on rough streets. (Later Golden Age stories explained that he earned his nickname by being so adept at eluding the authorities.)
  • The Silver Age Plastic Man was introduced in Brave and the Bold, #76 (February/March 1968).
    • He was revamped for a modern audience by writer Bob Haney and artist Jack Abel.
    • His ‘new’ origin was depicted in the flashback portion of Plastic Man, #17 (April/May 1977). While it was virtually the same, there were a few differences. Instead of waking up at home after a few days, he awoke at a monastery called Rest-Haven. He was found by monks on a remote road. They even turned away police who were looking for him.
    • Another change to the character, was instead of enlisting him with the F.B.I., O’Brian worked with an organization called the N.B.I. (National Bureau of Investigation).
    • His look was identical to the original and he still had his bumbling sidekick, Woozy Winks.
  • Plastic Man is mentioned in Justice League Unlimited episode "The Greatest Story Never Told" by Green Lantern to Booster Gold and Elongated Man but is never seen. This is apparently due to ownership arguments, and copyright complaints,[citation needed] To get around these problems, the show used Elongated Man as a replacement.[citation needed]
  • Plastic Man returns to animation and is a recurring guest star hero in the new animated series Batman: The Brave and The Bold voiced by Tom Kenny.


Trivia


External Links


Appearances in Other Media

Live Action

Animation


References

  1. Plastic Man's real name was never revealed in the series. The name "Eel" O'Brian was revealed in an episode of The Plastic Man Comedy/Adventure Show called The Dangerous Doctor Dinosaur.
  2. As revealed in the Superfriends TV Show, Season 1 episode: Professor Goodfellow's G.E.E.C..
  3. This nickname is revealed in Plastic Man, #11 (February/March 1976).
  4. Norman Alden provided the voice of Plastic Man in Professor Goodfellow's G.E.E.C.
  5. His voice was provided by Michael Bell in The Plastic Man Comedy/Adventure Show.
  6. Taylor Marks played Plastic Man in the live action segments of The Plastic Man Comedy/Adventure Show.
  7. The name of the chemical plant is not given in the in the Silver Age Origin story found in Plastic Man, #17 (April/May 1977). It is however, given years later in DC Comics Presents, #93 (May 1986). It is also given in the Plastic Man’s Golden Age origin, which is revealed in Police Comics, #1 (August, 1941).
  8. As revealed in flashback portion of Plastic Man, #17 (April/May 1977).
  9. As revealed in flashback portion of Plastic Man, #17 (April/May 1977).
  10. Timeframe of joining is an assumption based on his returning to N.B.I., which had been previously unnamed . His ‘returning’ is found in Plastic Man, #11 (February/March 1976).
  11. This date is revealed in Justice League of America, #144 (July, 1977).
  12. The above adventure is revealed in Justice League of America, #144 (July, 1977).
  13. As revealed in The Brave and the Bold, #76 (February/March 1968).
  14. As revealed in The Brave and the Bold, #95 (April/May 1971).
  15. As revealed in The Brave and the Bold, #123 (December 1975).
  16. As revealed in Plastic Man, #11 (February/March 1976); #12 (April/May 1976); #13 (June/July 1976); #14 (August/September 1976); #15 (October/November 1976); #16 (February/March 1977); #17 (April/May 1977); #18 (July, 1977); #19 (August/September 1977) and #20 (October/November 1977).
  17. As revealed in the SuperFriends TV Show, Season 1 episode: Professor Goodfellow's G.E.E.C. (September 22, 1973).
  18. As revealed in The Brave and the Bold, #148 (March 1979).
  19. As revealed in Adventure Comics, #467 (January 1980); #468/2 (February 1980); #469/2 (March 1980); #470/2 (April 1980); #471 (May 1980); #472/2 (June 1980); #473 (July 1980); #474/2 (August 1980); #475/3 (September 1980); #476/3 (October 1980); #477/3 (November 1980); #478/3 (December 1980); SuperFriends, #43/2 (April 1981); #45/2 (June 1981) and World’s Finest Comics #273/3 (November 1981).
  20. Go to Wikepedia for more on Igor.
  21. As revealed in DC Comics Presents, #39 (November 1981).
  22. As revealed in DC Comics Presents, #93 (May 1986).
  23. As revealed in Crisis on Infinite Earths #5 (August, 1985).
  24. Go to the DC Database for more on Police Comics, Vol. 1 #1 published in August of 1941.
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