WARNING! RAMPANT SPOILERS! GET THE CITRONELLA CANDLES!


Title: Bouncing Baby Boy
Release Date: June 2002
Writer: Joe Kelly
Penciller: Doug Mahnke
Inker: Tom Nguyen
JLA Members: Batman and Plastic Man.
Guest Stars: Luke McDunnagh.
Bad Guys: A few disposable goons and gangstas.
Cameos: Two-Face.

So what happens?
It's a Batman/Plastic Man team-up! Expect comedy! Expect pathos!

The action starts out with Plas showing up in Gotham City and wrecking one of Batman's stakeouts. Bats is, predictably, irritated, and Plas explains that he needs Batman's help with a favor: one of his old ex-girlfriends, Angel McDunnagh, has a ten-year-old son named Luke who's gotten involved with a street gang, and Plas needs Batman to scare the kid back onto the straight and narrow. When Plas and Batman finally catch up to little Luke, they find him hanging out with his gang...and shapeshifted into an oversized dinosaur! Awww, Plastic Man is a father? Ain't that cute!

Well, Batman and Plas aren't able to catch Luke and his cohorts. Plas is afraid to show his face, so he disguises himself as the Flash, but without superspeed powers, he gets squished when Luke turns into a giant bouncing ball and makes his getaway. Afterwards, Batman is giving Plas a talking-to; he doesn't care about Plas' private life, but he wanted to be told that the kid had powers. Plastic Man says he ran as soon as he learned Angel was pregnant and has never had any contact with the boy. Batman points out that Luke has more control over his powers than Plas does--able to pull fancier stretching stunts than Plas, the kid can even change colors, which his dad can't handle. And though Batman says that Plastic Man should be the one to talk to Luke ("Do you know what effect I can have on the mind of a ten-year-old?" Bats says, "It's not going to be nice."), Plas is still too chicken to make an appearance.

So Batman shows up at the gang's crib, effortlessly terrifies the gangstas into paralysis, and confronts Luke. He leans on the kid hard and gets him to repent his coulda-been-evil ways, but Luke reveals that he knows that Plastic Man is his father; Plastic Man, who came along disguised as Batman's utility belt, watches silently.

Back aboard the JLA Watchtower, Batman warns Plas not to ask him for any more favors, and Plas, after a tremendous strain, is able to change the color of his nose to blue. "Just wanted to be clear," he says. "I can change color, too." "Maybe you can," Batman replies, handing him Luke's ball cap. "Maybe someday... you will."

Cool Moments!
Plastic Man gets to take a whole lot of really interesting shapes in this issue; Luke McDunnagh melting into a terrified puddle when Batman confronts him; the sight, both surreal and heartbreaking, of Plas, disguised as Batman's utility belt, shedding tears as he watches Batman berate his son.

Cool Quotes!
Plastic Man, impersonating Catwoman and endangering the JLA's Comics Code Seal: "Hey there, big boy. Show me your Batmobile and I'll show you my Batcave--Rowrrr!"

Plas: "The JLA aren't in on this. I'm like Beyonce without Destiny's Child... solo and oh so pretty--but worthless without a partner."

Batman, explaining why he always believed that Plastic Man would've made the best JLA father: "I thought you'd be the kind of father who would show his children that he loved them, instead of just telling them. I thought you would make them laugh all of the time."

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