Saturday, February 9, 2008

Comics review: Doom Patrol

Hey there! Thought I'd give an occasional review of favorite current & past comics I've liked. I don't buy many new comics anymore, so I've been reading things from my collection.

First up is Doom Patrol, volume 3 (2001). Written by John Arcudi & art by Tan Eng Huat. Doom Patrol began in the 60's by DC Comics. The deal was a group of misfits that became a family and beat on weird creatures. Robotman is Cliff Steele, former race car driver, whose brain survives in a robot shell after a racing crash. Elasti-Girl is Rita Farr, a model who gained the ability to change size. And pilot Larry Trainor became Negative Man, who contains an energy creature inside him while wrapped up like a mummy from head to toe. The Chief was their wheelchair bound leader genius, and somewhat manipulative and eccentric. After some adventures, they got blown up and died. But they got better (that's the norm for comics).

After a few different incarnations of the team, rich guy Thayer Jost decides he wants to buy a superteam. He gets the rights to the Doom Patrol name from Cliff Steele, who at the time is the only living member of the team. He recruits some new members: Kid Slick, slacker with a frictionless force field, Fever, excitable girl with heat & flame powers, Freak, who has a mysterious creature living within her, and Negative Man, pessimist A-hole who can see 1 minute into the future (yeah, that's it).

The book only lasted 22 issues, and I felt the story suffered from that. Some subplots were started, and then dropped as cancellation loomed to wrap up the series. Like what the thing inside Ava(Freak)was. And Ted pushed his powers so he could see further into the future, but that was dropped as well. The writing was good, however. Robotman's humanity was examined, and the tem's constant fighting (mostly started by Ted's attitude), made for an intereesting team dynamic.

The art was unique and I loved it. Similar to Manga, with cartoony characters with high amounts of detail in mechanical and background objects. You could see every nick and dent in Robotman's body, and he could look expressive at the same time. A treat was the 2 issues done by the late Seth Fischer (Fantastic 4 & Iron Man: Big in Japan). Tan is currently doing a Silver surfer project for Marvel I hope to check out.

At the end of the series, Cliff and the others went their separate ways. Robotman starred in the next DP series a few years later. I'd love to find out what happens to
the others, but just like in life, we never get to meet up with friends that go away.

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