11-10slide1WITH TV ADS FOR HYBRID CARS having finally made it on the air among the various spots for power SUVs, and with Americans more concerned than ever with things like fuel prices, recycling, and organic food, it was inevitable that a magazine like Plenty would find its way on the newsstand.

Having launched last fall, the magazine's second issue hits newsstands in mid-February. While potentially delivering an attractive audience to the right advertisers (particularly 'natural' food brands) the startup title shows plenty of potential, but lacks a coherent focus.

Plenty is all over the place. It starts out reading very much like a quirky science magazine for those with a green interest; there are snippets on farmers using Coke as an alternative to pesticides, and the travails of transsexual fish.

Yet later, the magazine shifts to a travel piece on eco-friendly vacation spots (who knew that vacations could involve protecting wildlife and frustrating oil companies?), then to personality profiles of five prominent environmentalists under 40.

Later, there is a feature piece on scientists' fears over the potential for new plagues, followed soon after by a section on prefab housing that only mildly touched on these homes' greener qualities. Next there are a half a dozen pages on fashion, featuring a model wearing fake leather and fur in various comic book poses.

Journalistically, Plenty is well researched, and the writing feels authoritative. And the editors are apparently working to blend in some light hip touches along with the many serious pieces: for example, they have some fun with explaining how what car you drive says about you ecologically, depending upon what part of the country you live in. There is also a "layout," of eco-friendly products like a plug-in scooter and Dyson vacuums.

Design-wise, Plenty isn't so pretty - some of the pages have the quality of a dull airline catalog. But maybe that is the point - to appeal to this audience in a way that isn't slick.

For now, Plenty is inconsistent, as it appears as though the new magazine is still working on finding its voice, balancing science and cool. Your interest in Plenty will depend on just how into this stuff you are - whether you want to recycle a bit and feel good about not being wasteful, or whether you want to delve into the nuts and bolts of an environmentally-friendly fuel cell airplane in development.

But presumably, an interest in saving the planet is driven by an intense passion, particularly for knowledge, and Plenty readers will find plenty of that.

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