In last week's Dark Nights: Metal #5, Mister Terrific finally explained just what it is about Plastic Man that makes him so special...and in doing so, revealed a tweaked version of the elastic hero's origin that tied into the dark multiverse.
In the same issue that established a connection between Wonder Woman's invisible jet and the quasi-mystical metals that form the bonds between the multiverse and its dark matter counterpart, Plastic Man was revealed to have gained his powers in part from those same metals.
So why has he been an egg? Well, because the former criminal keeps finding himself tempted by the dark forces that vibrate through the metal from the dark multiverse -- and he found that retreating into himself (literally, in this case) was a better course of action than trying to fight it non-stop.
Here's what Terrific had to say on the matter:
“Eel O’Brien wasn’t special. He was just a thief. One night, he fell into a vat of chemicals. My best guess, some attempt by the Owls or STAR Labs to approximate cosmic metals. Now his molecular structure changes with his desires. His body is a super-conductor for cosmic energies, which is why they’re after him. Since dark energy started rising, the nightmares of every living thing run through his head, trying to pull him toward evil. But he kept helping me. When the thoughts finally became too much, he retracted into that egg. He’s fighting off millions of dark impulses every second. He’s a hero….”
Besides the tweak to his origin story (which was materially the same, but did not originally involve cosmic energies, dark metals, or a conspiracy), we find that he is likely tied to either the Court of Owls/Parliament of Owls, characters built up by Metal collaborators Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo during their Batman run, or STAR Labs, who have ties to Superman and Cyborg.
Following the events of Metal, Plastic Man will appear in The Terrifics. While promotional art has featured a familiar version of Plastic Man, the preview pages from the upcoming first issue still depict him as being in egg form.
Dark Nights: Metal #5 is on sale now. The finale will be in stores on March 14. Between now and then, explore some of the mythology of the dark multiverse with Dark Knights Rising: The Wild Hunt, out next week.