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Plutona: Lemire and Lenox have created a haunting stunner

A haunting, coming of age comic

Image Comics
Alex Abad-Santos is a senior correspondent who explains what society obsesses over, from Marvel and movies to fitness and skin care. He came to Vox in 2014. Prior to that, he worked at the Atlantic.

Writer-artist Jeff Lemire is prolific. He’s independently publishing the fantastic sci-fi comic book Descender with artist Dustin Nguyen, at Marvel he’s in charge of the rapidly improving Extraordinary X-Men as well as Hawkeye and Moon Knight, and he’s doing work at Valiant. It’s possible that in a year or two, you could be reading a best-of comics list composed entirely of Lemire titles.

What Lemire does so very well, and better than anyone in the business right now, is conjure up the feeling of being a kid — the awkwardness, the pain, the hope, the moxie, the fear, and the fearlessness — and translate it into the pages of a comic book. He’s also savvy about working with artists who complement his strengths.

This all comes together in Plutona. With Emi Lenox’s delicate, thoughtful art, the book stands out as an eerie, creaky, Stand by Me–ish mystery about five suburban kids who discover that the world’s strongest superhero, Plutona, is dead.

Plutona’s death is a mystery, but the focus of the book is on what the kids do next. Who do they tell? Should they tell someone? What happens to kids when their heroes die?

There’s also an unshakable darkness and gloominess that haunts the first arc — a musing on the concept of superhero fatigue and fandom, but also about the loneliness of being a kid.

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