Following the alternative reality appearances of the Doom Patrol in last issue, coupled with the Steampunk stylings on this issue’s cover, I expected a very different story than what I found inside. Veronica Cale, president of Oolong Island, sanctuary to the Doom Patrol, has decided to make a claim for the Patrol to become nationalized under her authority. Naturally, Cliff, Larry, and Rita aren’t very keen to the concept, but in the interest of presenting a wider range of story options, Giffen has the team begrudgingly agree. For now.
Giffen manages to drop humor into this comic in every single issue, and this one is no exception, as Larry and Cliff have a conversation about super teams taking their orders from undesirable sources. The punchline goes a little something like, “There was that time Aquaman called the shots in Detroit. . .” That one line is tailored perfectly to the relationship and the comfort level developed between Robotman and Negative Man. Giffen drops some more levity in later on when the DP find themselves facing off with their most seasoned foe. Negative Man’s quips seemingly come from left field, and frequently draw the ire of Robotman, who has assumed the role of ensuring this team (at least) appears balanced and under control.
This series continues to play from all parts of the Doom Patrol’s history with great effect. Giffen’s passion for the team, combined with the fact that the Doom Patrol stands upon the perfect platform for many of the strangest ideas ever to be created in comics, really opens up the action, excitement, and story potential in this series.
The art is hamstrung by the handoff between Clark and Randall, both serviceable, and more often than not, great artists. While the duo – with John Livesay inking the whole of the story – appears to be attempting to work in a similar style, Clark’s pages are far more ornate than Randall’s. I had hoped Giffen’s interlude on pencils in the last issue would help buy some time to allow this series to settle into a more calm rotation between artists, but it appears that has not taken hold yet. Still, this book is a nice looking book, and Guy Major’s colors help this book to echo the appearance of many of the previous incarnations of the “Doom Patrol.”
There is a great deal to take in in every single issue of the Doom Patrol, and this issue is no exception. Giffen made a vow to introduce new characters in every issue and has made good on that promise, all the while adding classic Doom Patrol pieces to the mix, thickening the legacy this book carries, and offering a very good, consistently high quality read.