Overview

Doom Patrol #1

Review

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Doom Patrol #1

Credits

  • Words: Keith Giffen / Keith Giffen & J.M. Demateis
  • Art: Matthew Clark/Kevin Maguire
  • Inks: Livesay
  • Colors: Guy Major
  • Story Title: "We Who Are About to Die..." & "A Day In the Life"
  • Publisher: DC Comics
  • Price: $3.99
  • Release Date: Aug 3, 2009

When a mission goes wrong, the world’s misfit heroes must spend a little time with a counselor.

Keith Giffen takes over the DC Universe’s wildest superhero team. Problem is, he forgot the wild part. Dusty looks bored out of her mind on the first page and the reader probably will too for most of this book.

Running a mission in Buena Suerte, team member Nudge (who is so unimportant, Giffen doesn’t even bother to let the reader know what her name is until long after this event and more than half of the story presented here is over) gets obliterated. This traumatic experience means that a priest is sent by Dr. Niles Caulder, the founder of the team, to make sure everyone is okay.

Turns out everyone is not okay. Turns out the entire team is made up of unlikeable characters and apparently run by one too, as Caulder seems not to be worried about his team's feelings as much as whether or not they still feel bored enough to be heroes.

In the end it’s all set up. I understand what Giffen is doing. He is showing the reader how broken these characters are. He is giving us characterization and setting. There are great ideas here.  Bumblebee living in a Barbie Dream House. Their base of operations being on Oolong. Most noticeable, a heck of an intriguing cliffhanger.

The real problem is that we’ve seen the emo, psychoanalyzed superhero to death. Sentry, anyone? It is a nice idea, but at the end of the day, all superheroes are crazy. They run around in their pajamas and fight crime (90% of the time) for free and with the law chasing them. It’s not glamorous and while the couch trip can be entertaining, this ain’t the way to do it.

Gumming the works up even more are computer data entries on each of the players. You know, power set, name, secret identity, number of cavities the had fixed when they were two. A full Secret Files write up contained in a little hard to read black and green panel overlaying other panels.

Clark’s art is adequate. Like I mentioned earlier, Dusty captures the feel of the piece perfectly four panels in. Like the script though, it feels pedestrian. It’s all a little yawn inducing.

The Metal Men co-feature though. That is a different story.

Reteaming the Justice League International creators. Giffen and Dematteis are in high form. This is zany comic fun and is what was missing in the main story.

Seems the neighbors of one Doctor Magnus are a little concerned with his creations and want something done. Meanwhile, the men (and women) of the periodic table are fighting an anthropomorphic totem pole in Brazil.

It is fast, furious and zany.

Who should pencil such a thing? Well... Kevin Maguire, of course. And he does so with all the charm and playful wit that one would expect.

Doom Patrol is on notice. There needs to be a heck of a lot of cool stuff in issue two to make up for the cat nap inducing read this time around. Hopefully, working with Dematteis will ramp up Giffen, who honestly has been in a slump for a couple of years. If all else fails, I guess around issue 5 or 6 when the initial arc ends, they could have the Metal Men take over as the main book!

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Comments

  • Eric Lindberg

    Eric Lindberg Aug 9, 2009 at 3:53am

    Didn't care for this either. Giffen made the characters cold-hearted and unlikeable. And while I know the John Byrne run was unpopular (though I enjoyed it myself), did we really need to use Nudge as cannon fodder? I've had about enough of teenagers getting slaughtered in DC books.

  • Andy Oliver

    Andy Oliver Aug 12, 2009 at 9:02am

    I liked it a LOT better on second reading at which point you realise Rita and Cliff are suppressing their true feelings. Just look at Cliff's devastation when Nudge dies in contrast to his later behaviour. And Rita's mothering of Bumblebee was also a pointer to the real heart of the character. Rocky Davis from the Challengers of the Unknown was a nice touch that built on his portrayal in DC UNIVERSE: LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT. And just look at the Chief's laptop on page 17 and you'll realise he really is still the same sinister old bastard he was in the Morrison days.

  • Eric Lindberg

    Eric Lindberg Aug 12, 2009 at 8:58pm

    Yes but since Rita admitted to being jealous of Nudge, I have to wonder if Cliff's "No! Not her!" really meant "Why does she get to die and I don't?" And on that note, why would Rita be jealous? She's normal-looking compared to the rest of them, rather gorgeous, and has powers that are useful and cool (though I admit to being a tad biased as a giantess was my ticket to publication at AC Comics). Well, in any case, I will give Giffen another issue or two to win me over.

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