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Plutona (Image Comics, 2015 #1-5)

Let’s get this out of the way up front: I loved this book. Ranking favorites of what I’ve read for Clearing the Backlog is an insane task, and I am not going to do it. (Even I have my limits.) But if I were to do it, this would be one of the top titles.

Plutona comes from Emi Lenox and Jeff Lemire—while the two share a story credit, Lenox receives the title of series creator in addition to artist. And the idea behind the series is unique: a group of kids finds the body of a superhero in the woods. These kids aren’t the best of friends. Each has an imperfect home life. They’re casually kind of terrible to each other. And their reactions are not always predictable.

All that makes them feel like real kids.

Because this is not an everyday situation, these children have to make decisions about who they want to be. That does not always go in the direction that you might suspect as the reader. And it does not always go in their favor. But those decisions never feel out of character. That’s a strong indication of the quality of the Lenox and Lemire’s storytelling.

Lenox and Bellaire’s work on Plutona’s main story art is every bit as strong as the book’s writing. Lenox’s lines are sparing and stylized. Even in the darkness of the woods at night, she draws a very clean world. Lemire provides art for backup story pages; he leans into simpler, more concrete lines than some of his other books. Even with the occasional sketchier moments, his pages are at home with Lenox’s. The book’s credits don’t make clear who handled which art responsibilities for the backup—I only realized Lemire had drawn it because I recognized his style. If Bellaire colored those pages, it goes a long way toward unifying the two styles. If not, then Lemire did a fantastic job of matching Bellaire’s moody, well-lit palette.

This is a new go-to recommendation for me. There’s no continuity to worry about. The volume can stand on its own. Although they could easily release a second volume. I hope they do.

Collected in

  • Plutona (#1-6)


Story: Emi Lenox & Jeff Lemire | Script: Jeff Lemire | Artist: Emi Lenox | Colorist: Jordie Bellaire | Letterer: Steve Wands | Designer: Sasha Head

Grayson: “Nemesis” (DC Comics, 2015 #9-12, Annual #2)

Captain America: Sam Wilson, “Not My Captain America” (Marvel Comics, 2015 #1-6)