REVIEW: 'Plush' #5 by Doug Wagner, Daniel Hillyard, and Rico Renzi



Writer: Doug Wagner
Artist: Daniel Hillyard, Rico Renzi
Letters: Ed Dukeshire
Publisher: Image Comics
Release Date: March 22, 2023
Cover Price: $3.99

Sheriff Brottman and his brood of redneck executioners have infiltrated the mansion of our serial-killing, cannibalistic furries. And with Devin stuck handcuffed in a room full of dead bodies, he only has one option available... embrace his inner "princessa."

★★★★☆ (4/5)

The comic book universe of Doug Wagner and Daniel Hillyard is a wondrous place for quirky dark comedies featuring serial killers and cannibals like Plastic, Vinyl, and their latest, Plush. Few creators can balance over-the-top violence with humor and heart. It's amazing. You shouldn't care for or empathize with people that do horrible things. Still, Wagner and Hillyard find the human being inside of each whose insecurities and wants are as relatable as anyone. So, what's a little murder between friends? Especially, when some really heinous people get unalived.

In Plush #5, Devin's brave but misguided attempt to help spare the furries from Sheriff Brottman's wrath has got him trapped back at the station while the Sheriff's bloodthirsty mob descends on the furries' mansion. As exciting as the issue is, what really impresses me is the character arc for Devin. He started as a doormat, being bullied and cheated on to find his backbone and a potential new love interest in the span of five issues. Yes, it would seem like a quick turnaround but such is comics and it doesn't suffer for its swiftness. Wagner's protagonists always seem to be misunderstood and underestimated. It's one of the great things about this universe how it's so wholesome and heartwarming except for the decapitations and disembowelings that happen in between.  

As usual, Hillyard and colorist Rico Renzi deliver a colorful and bold artistic imagining of this world that even the furry costumes seem to take on a personality of their own. Hillyard's designs expertly capture an array of emotions from anger to sadness, fear, and determination. Some of the humor comes from merely a look without a word spoken, that's how adept Hillyard is at conveying so much with the stroke of a pencil. 

Admittedly, 'Plush' reads fast leaving the reader hanging at the end of every issue so it goes by fairly quickly. This will make a great paperback to binge-read, taking it all in in one sitting for new readers. 'Plush' incredibly succeeds in blending infectious charm, humor, warmth, and empathy with the threat of extreme violence. What more could fans ask for?