|First appearance||The 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|
Plastique is a 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 The Fury of Firestorm #7 (December 1982) and was created by Gerry Conway and Pat Broderick.
Bette Sans Souci was introduced as a terrorist attempting to coerce the separation of Quebec from the rest of Canada. First appearing in The 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.
Main article: Firestorm (character)
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.
Main article: Suicide Squad
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 U.S. 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.
See also: Captain Atom
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 miniseries 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 irreconcilable differences, mostly about political views, between them.
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.
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 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.
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.
Plastique appears as a playable DLC character in Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham.
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 included Plastique 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.