Plastic Man is a DC comics superhero character with the power of elasticity. He was once a crook named Pat "Eel" O'Brian, who acquired his powers after a botched heist, where his partners abandoned him and he was exposed to chemicals. After recovering in a monastery where he discovered he could manipulate his shape, he took it as a sign of redemption. Keeping his "Eel" alias to keep tabs on his former buddies, O'Brian donned a red/yellow costume with googles and became PLASTIC MAN. He appears in other media outside the comics, most notably in Batman: The Brave and the Bold, where he is a main character. In this variation of his origin, Batman is responsible for his creation when he stopped Kite-Man's latest heist. His sidekick is Woozy Winks and his family includes his wife, Ramona, his son Luke and his dog.
In the 1940s a crook named Patrick "Eel" O'Brian was shot by a security guard at the Crawford Chemical Works and struck by a falling drum full of an unidentified acid, some of which entered Eel's wound. He was saved in Rest Haven by a mysterious order of monks whose example cured his penchant for crime. The acid bath gave him the ability to change his shape. He wore dark glasses and a red and yellow costume as flexible as his body. Whatever shape he took, the colors remained the same, so there would be a red-and-yellow chandelier over a table full of plotting gangsters, or a red-and-yellow abstract painting hanging on the wall, but the villains never caught on until it was too late.
Plastic Man (sometimes called "Plas") later acquired a sidekick called Woozy Winks, a clumsy oaf who was originally
magically endowed with the power that nature itself would protect him from harm. Woozy became a dumb but loyal friend of Plastic Man. The two of them became members of the police squad and eventually the FBI. Plastic Man later aided his country by serving in the All-Star Squadron and Freedom Fighters. Because of their powers, "Plas" and Woozy have stayed youthful into modern times.
Strangely, Patrick became a good friend of Batman (despite Batman's lack of a sense of humor and skepticism towards reformed criminals), and an occasional member of the Justice League. It was revealed that Plas had a son named Luke who was born out of wedlock and whom he ignored to the point where his son joined a gang. Batman got Luke out of the gang and tried to reunite him with his father.
In a mission, Patrick and the JLA went back 3000 years into Atlantis' past where Plas was ripped apart during the fight. The JLA returned to the present thinking him dead but in the time gap (3000 years) he pulled himself together. Batman and Firestorm found him and helped him complete the process. Traumatized, he blocked Plastic Man from his mind. Plastic Man became Ralph Johns and went back to his family in Chicago. Emotionally, they took him in. He became an average Joe, a father, and was in an relationship with his son's mother.
When Martian Manhunter was possessed by a martian demon and tried to destroy the world, Batman came asking for his help (as he was immune to telepathy). After spending precious time trying to get him to remember who he was, Batman left "Ralph" to think it over. After staring out the window thinking about everything, Plas remembered who he really was after his son revealed his inherited powers and told him a joke. After defeating the rogue Martian Manhunter, was over, O'Brian started a new life balancing his hero life and his family life.
Powers and Abilities
Malleable Physiology: Plastic Man's powers are derived from an accident in which his body was bathed in an unknown industrial chemical mixture that also entered into his bloodstream through a gunshot wound. This caused a body-wide mutagenic process that transformed his physiology. Eel exists in a fluid state, neither entirely liquid nor solid. Plastic Man has complete control over his structure.
Density Control: Plastic Man can change his density at will; becoming as dense as a rock or as flexible as a rubber band.
Malleability (Elasticity/Plasticity): He can stretch his limbs and body to superhuman lengths and sizes. There is no known limit to how far he can stretch his body.
Size Alteration: He can shrink himself down to a few inches tall (posed as one of Batman's utility belt pockets) or become a titan (the size of skyscrapers).
Shape-Shifting: He can contort his body into various positions and sizes impossible for ordinary humans, such as being entirely flat so that he can slip under a door or using his fingers to pick conventional locks. He can also use it for disguise by changing the shape of his face and body. Thanks to his fluid state, Plastic Man can open holes in his body and turn himself into objects with mobile parts. In addition, he can alter his bodily mass and physical constitution at will; there is virtually no limit to the sizes and shapes he can contort himself into.
Superhuman Agility: These stretching powers grant Plastic Man heightened agility enabling him flexibility and coordination that is extraordinarily beyond the natural limits of the human body.
Color Change: The only limitation he has relates to color, which he cannot change without intense concentration. He generally does not use this ability and sticks to his red and yellow colored uniform.
Invulnerability: Plastic Man's powers extraordinarily augment his durability. Some stories, perhaps of anecdotal quality, have showed him susceptible to surprise attack by bullets, in one case oozing a substance similar to liquid plastic. In most stories, though, he is able to withstand corrosives, punctures and concussions without sustaining any injury (although he can be momentarily stunned). He is resistant to high velocity impacts that would kill an ordinary person, resistant to blasts from energy weapons (Batman once mentioned that he could presumably even withstand a nuclear detonation), and is bulletproof. His bodily mass can be dispersed, but for all intents and purposes it is invulnerable.
Regeneration: He is able to regenerate and/or assimilate lost or damaged tissue, although he needs to be reasonably intact for this process to begin; he was reduced to separate molecules and scattered across the ocean for centuries, only returning to his usual form after the rest of the League were able to gather enough of his molecules and restore approximately 80% of his body mass, after which he began to regenerate what they hadn't salvaged. He has even been stretched by Doomsday down to his base fibers and still survived.
Telepathic Immunity: As stated by Batman (in JLA #88), "Plastic Man's mind is no longer organic. It's untouchable by telepathy."
Immortality: Plastic Man does not appear to age; if he does, it is at a rate far slower than that of normal human beings. In the aftermath of the Justice League story Arc "Obsidian Age", Plastic Man was discovered to have survived for 3000 years scattered into separate molecules on the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean. He is now over 3000 years old and is still active as a superhero.
Ultrasonic Detection: His body will start to "ripple" when an ultrasonic frequency is triggered.
In Other Media
Plastic Man appears as a minor character in the episode "Professor Goodfellow's GEEC". He is voiced by Norman Alden.
The Plastic Man Comedy/Adventure Show
Plastic Man is the main character in this television series. He is voiced by Michael Bell.
A television series based on Plastic Man was commissioned, with a pilot episode entitled "Puddle Trouble" being produced before the decision was made to not produce the series. In the pilot, Plastic Man is voiced by Tom Kenny.
Batman: The Brave and the Bold
Plastic Man appears as a recurring character in this series, making his first appearance in the episode "Terror on Dinosaur Island!". This series reworked his origin somewhat. He is voiced by Tom Kenny.
Plastic Man makes non-speaking cameo appearances in several episodes in the series, beginning with "Revelation". He is portrayed as an independent hero, and later as a member of the League.
Plastic Man appears in the episode "Al Pacino and the Chipmunks/That's What Super Friends Are For". He is voiced by Dana Snyder.
DC Nation Shorts
Plastic Man features in several short animated pieces, many of which are based on "Puddle Trouble". He is voiced by Tom Kenny.
Justice League: The New Frontier
Plastic Man makes a cameo appearance listening to John F Kennedy's speech.
Plastic Man appears as a character in this tabletop game.
Batman: The Brave and the Bold-- The Video game
Plastic Man appears as a playable character.