|First appearance||Fury of Firestorm #7 (December 1982)|
|Created by||Gerry Conway (writer)|
Pat Broderick (artist)
|Alter ego||Bette Sans Souci|
|Team affiliations||Suicide Squad|
|Abilities||Can project explosive force from her body|
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Plastique is a fictional supervillain appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics. She is an enemy of Firestorm and both an enemy and love interest of Captain Atom.
Plastique first appeared in Fury of Firestorm #7 (December 1982) and was created by Gerry Conway and Pat Broderick.
Fictional character biography
Bette Sans Souci was introduced as a terrorist attempting to coerce the separation of Quebec from the rest of Canada. First appearing in Fury of Firestorm #7 (December 1982), she subsequently made several appearances during Conway's tenure as writer of that series. She then began appearing in DC Comics' first Captain Atom series from 1986 onwards, at first depicted as an adversary, though that relationship eventually evolved toward the romantic.
In her first appearance, Plastique attempted a bombing against the New York Herald-Express (a fictitious newspaper appearing within the DC Universe) using a set of bombs attached to her costume, only to have Firestorm disarm her by vaporising her clothing, leaving her naked and humiliated in public while Firestorm took the bombs to explode in a safer area. Later, via genetic engineering, she gained the power to project explosive force outward from her body.
Her last major public operation as a terrorist was depicted in her first Captain Atom appearance, wherein she attempted to destroy the Canadian Parliament Building in Ottawa and the Statue of Liberty in New York City, as well as attempting to assassinate the President of the United States and the Canadian Prime Minister. Her plans were thwarted, and Plastique herself was captured by Captain Atom.
She became a member of the Suicide Squad for the duration of a single mission. She attempted to betray the team during their second field operation in Qurac (under the command of Amanda Waller), but it was anticipated and Plastique was caught by fellow operative Nemesis and subsequently brainwashed to suppress all memories of her membership in the Squad. Her followers eventually abandoned her after becoming disillusioned with the use of force and violence to advance their shared cause (thus reflecting real-world Canadian politics by that point, which had long since moved past the era that Plastique's methods and policies reflected). Plastique became a mercenary.
Eventually she reformed, subsequently earning a pardon from the US government for her crimes there based on services rendered to the Captain Atom Project, as well as a somewhat more subdued response along similar lines from the Canadian authorities.
Plastique then became engaged to Captain Atom, although the engagement was effectively broken in the wake of events of Armageddon: 2001. Following his reappearance in the then-present day, the engagement was renewed. Plastique was invited into the ranks of the Extreme Justice faction of the Justice League. She celebrated a bachelorette party before the Extreme Justice title was cancelled in 1996.
The wedding was notable for its non-depiction within the comics themselves, having been implied in the mini-series The L.A.W. as having taken place sometime between the cancellation of Extreme Justice and the start of The L.A.W.'s first issue. Plastique has made a handful of appearances since then, mostly cameos in other series. It has however been confirmed during the Captain Atom: Armageddon events, in which Captain Atom states that their marriage had been really short, doomed from the start from the irreconcilable differences, mostly about political views, between them.
One Year Later
One year after the events of Infinite Crisis, in Justice League of America (vol. 2) #1, Signalman informs Black Lightning that Plastique has teamed with the Electrocutioner in a partnership known as the Bomb Squad. Since then she has appeared in Checkmate (1st series) as a member of the Suicide Squad. Apparently, she and Captain Atom are now separated, leading the character to revert to her criminal ways.
During the 34th week of the series 52, Plastique and the Electrocutioner appeared as part of a Suicide Squad operation against Black Adam. She later appeared in Checkmate (2nd series), again depicted as a villain. In Countdown, she appears with the Suicide Squad to help apprehend the Trickster and the Pied Piper.
It is recently shown that Plastique helped Prometheus in his plot to get revenge on the Justice League by planting a massive explosive device in Fawcett City. While trying to flee the country with several companions, the group is ambushed by Batman and the new Justice League. Plastique tries to escape, but is defeated and captured by Congorilla.
The New 52
In The New 52, Plastique is reintroduced at the start of the "Trinity War" storyline, where she is a member of the Secret Society of Super Villains and attempts to assassinate Madame Xanadu. She later infiltrates A.R.G.U.S. to plant a bomb on Doctor Light's body.
During the "Forever Evil" storyline, the Crime Syndicate sends Plastique, Black Bison, Hyena, Multiplex and Typhoon to attack the hospital in order to finish Gorilla Grodd's work in Central City.
In 2020, Plastique is working as a thief and mercenary. She crosses paths with Batman (Terry McGinnis), who has traveled back in time to stop a robot apocalypse. Caught in his time wake is a cybernetically converted Plastique. After killing the cyborg, McGinnis is forced to bring her body with him so the future technology will not fall into anyone's hands. Plastique finds the body, causing her to freak out, fight alongside the heroes, and becomes romantically involved with McGinnis.
Powers and abilities
Originally Plastique wore a costume covered with plastic explosives, which she could trigger and detonate manually. She has since gained the ability to project explosive force at will by touching an object with her fingertips.
In other media
- Plastique appears in the Justice League Unlimited episode "Task Force X" (better known as the Suicide Squad) voiced by Juliet Landau.:143 Plastique is an explosive expert who has advanced knowledge of the intricacies and use of demolition weaponry, and conceals her explosives in her costume, shown when she revealed explosives concealed in the plastic covering around her midriff. She was assigned to Task Force X, along with Rick Flag, Deadshot (who shares a flirtatious relationship with her in their scenes together), and Captain Boomerang on a dangerous mission to infiltrate the Justice League's Watchtower space station:143 and steal a magical automaton called the Annihilator (which was previously used by Ares). She was caught in an explosion of one of her own devices when Deadshot detonated it from a distance so that rest of the team could escape. She was severely wounded as Captain Atom attempted to take the brunt of the blast. Martian Manhunter then instructed Captain Atom to tend to her, though her ultimate fate is unknown.
- The second episode of the eighth season of Smallville is called "Plastique" and involves a version of the character, played by Jessica Parker Kennedy.:226 In this continuity, Bette Sans Souci is a metahuman (the origin of her powers is never explained) who was taken captive by LuthorCorp at age 12 and held for three years before escaping. Because of this, she was forced to move from place to place, often encountering LuthorCorp employees seeking to take her captive. Towards the end of the episode, she is recruited by Tess Mercer to be a part of a special team of sorts, as described by Mercer. Unlike in the comics, she has the power to detonate any object around her by shooting an explosive beam from her eyes, rather than having to touch it. In the season 8 episode "Injustice", Bette, aka Plastique, appears alongside Parasite, Livewire, and Neutron, forming a team of would-be superheroes searching for Doomsday. After a few of the members are killed, which Tess Mercer is accused of having done, Plastique and Parasite turn on her. She returns in the Season 10 episode "Shield" alongside Rick Flag, as a member of the Suicide Squad and breaks Deadshot out of prison.
- Kelly Frye portrays Bette Sans Souci on The CW's The Flash. She appears in the titular first-season episode "Plastique". In this version she is portrayed as an EOD specialist in the U.S. Army, showing no sign of her comic counterpart's villainous inclinations, to the point that Barry Allen nominated her to become part of their team and considered her the first non-hostile metahuman the team had encountered apart from himself. During a mission in Afghanistan, she is wounded while attempting to defuse a bomb and is brought to Central City for treatment. After being caught in the S.T.A.R. Labs particle accelerator explosion, the dark matter energy fuses with the shrapnel in her body, giving her the power to turn anything she touches into an explosive, although unable to control her abilities to the point that she cannot stop herself blowing up anything she touches. She is on the run from General Wade Eiling, who wants to use her as a weapon. Barry Allen earns her trust and takes her to S.T.A.R. Labs to meet with Caitlin, Cisco (who develops a crush on her and nicknames her "Plastique") and Dr. Wells, with the team managing to create a pair of gloves that she can use to touch objects without blowing them up. After tests show that curing her is not possible due to the shrapnel that gave her her abilities having merged with her body on a cellular level, Dr. Wells privately tells her to kill Eiling, stating that he won't relent in his search for her or other metahumans. Barry arrives on the scene in time and manages to talk Bette out of killing Eiling, but Eiling fatally shoots her in the chest. Immediately after her death, she begins to glow and Barry is forced to drop her body into the Central City river to prevent her from detonating in the city.
Plastique appears in Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham. She is a playable character through downloadable content.
The character of Plastique has been portrayed in diverse ways in its various appearances: Considered "a classic DC villainess" by Tierney Bricker, "she has flirted with good on occasion". Reviewers Scott Von Doviak, Brianna Reeves and Felix Böhme found Plastique’s appearance in The Flash TV series interesting and nuanced, both in comparison to other representations of the character as well as other comic antagonists: She is shown as a victim, but still as a dangerous and uncontrolled force, making how deal with her a moral conundrum for the team of the titular hero.
Reviewer Rachel Paige commented on the impact of Plastique's changing backstory: She found the idea from the comics, that the character got her supernatural explosive abilities by "some handy genetic engineering" terrifying, but getting her powers from the S.T.A.R. Labs explosion like the Flash from the TV series only mildly so.
Brent Frankenhoff inluded Pastique in his list of Comics' Sexiest Bad Girls due to the accentuated depiction of her body, while the character was still portrayed with a sense of shame when unclad in public.
- Cowsill, Alan; Irvine, Alex; Korte, Steve; Manning, Matt; Wiacek, Win; Wilson, Sven (2016). The DC Comics Encyclopedia: The Definitive Guide to the Characters of the DC Universe. DK Publishing. p. 232. ISBN 978-1-4654-5357-0. Search this book on
- Rovin, Jeff (1987). The Encyclopedia of Supervillains. New York: Facts on File. p. 268. ISBN 0-8160-1356-X. Search this book on
- Beatty, Scott (2008). "Extreme Justice". In Dougall, Alastair. The DC Comics Encyclopedia. New York: Dorling Kindersley. p. 117. ISBN 978-0-7566-4119-1. OCLC 213309017. Search this book on
- Justice League of America (vol. 3) #43
- Justice League (vol. 2) #22
- Justice League of America (vol. 3) #7
- Forever Evil: Rogues Rebellion #1
- Misiroglu, Gina Renée; Eury, Michael, eds. (2006). The Supervillain Book: The Evil Side of Comics and Hollywood. Visible Ink Press. ISBN 978-1578591787. Search this book on
- Green, Paul (2016). Encyclopedia of Weird Westerns (2 ed.). McFarland. ISBN 978-1476662572. Search this book on
- Chance, Norman (2011). Who was Who on TV Volume III. Xlibris. p. 223. ISBN 978-1-4568-2455-6. Search this book on
- Don Whitehead, Holly Henderson (writers) & Rick Rosenthal (director) (2008-09-25). "Plastique". Smallville. Season 8. Episode 2. The CW.
- Todd Slavkin, Darren Swimmer (writers) & Greg Beeman (director) (2005-05-18). "Commencement". Smallville. Season 4. Episode 22. The WB.
- Al Septien, Turi Meyer (writers) & Tom Welling (director) (2009-05-07). "Injustice". Smallville. Season 8. Episode 21. The CW.
- Bricker, Tierney (2014-07-29). "The Flash Casting Scoop: It's Time to Meet Plastique". E!. Retrieved 2020-11-27.
- Moore, Trent (2015-06-26). "Here's who'll be playing DC character Plastique on S1 of The CW's Flash". Syfy Wire. Retrieved 2020-11-26.
- Harp, Justin (2014-07-24). "The Flash to introduce DC Comics character Plastique". Digital Spy. Retrieved 2020-11-26.
- Paige, Rachel (2014-11-11). "Plastique May Be Getting a Heroic 'Flash' Makeover". Bustle. Retrieved 2020-11-26.
- Von Doviak, Scot (2014-11-11). "The Flash: "Plastique"". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 2020-11-26.
- Reeves, Brianna (2017-12-17). "8 Characters the Arrowverse Does Better Than Smallville (And 7 That Are Worse)". CBR. Retrieved 2020-11-26.
- Böhme, Felix (2014-11-12). "The Flash 1x05 Plastique". Serienjunkies. Retrieved 2020-11-26.
- Frankenhoff, Brent (2012). "Plastique". Dangerous Curves: Comics' Sexiest Bad Girls. Krause Publications. ISBN 978-1440235009. Search this book on
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