With two-thirds of the storylines from the pre-DC relaunch “Weird Worlds,” this issue at the very least celebrates the legacy of DC. “My Greatest Adventure,” the title that originally launched the Doom Patrol, is resurrected here and brings Robotman — one of the mainstays of the Doom Patrol in every incarnation — with it. More on Robotman later. Let’s start off with the “Weird Worlds” holdovers.
In my initial assessment of Garbage Man, back in my review of “Weird Worlds” #1, I said that the “story is just a little too overtly aimed at filling Swamp Thing’s void for me. Lopresti may have designs to move Garbage Man away from Swamp Thing in presence and purpose, but for now the two concepts may as well be conjoined.” Now, with a “Swamp Thing” title on the stands alongside this series, I can distinctly say that Garbage Man is no Swamp Thing wannabe. Lopresti has put Garbage Man on a different path, which for now isn’t very clear; this segment is filled with reflection on the events of the titular character’s pre-Garbage Man existence. The story establishes some of what might shape up to be a supporting cast, but for now doesn’t do much to evolve the character.
All the same, Lopresti’s art (with Matt Ryan providing some striking inks) is solid, filled with detail, and does a fabulous job of telling the tale without the need for captions or word balloons. Lopresti has fun crafting transitions to flashbacks, shifting some panel arrangements and, in general, working the whole page instead of simply pasting panels to fill space. Joined by colorist John Kalisz, the visuals for this story are muddy, murky, detailed, and, surprisingly, clean. The linework is where the cleanliness lives.
Tanga, a spacegirl with a dazzling array of powers, is set upon a path of discovery. This issue gives a clear indication that there is a backstory, but Kevin Maguire is concise enough in his storytelling that any compulsion to find a backstory is quickly forgotten due to the fact that Tanga seems to have enough on her hands in the present day. Tanga has a confrontational discussion with two entities: P’Nigh, a disembodied head that floats upon a platform like a more restrained M.O.D.O.K. with the attitude to match that restraint, and P’Nigh’s master, Za. Za is a more troubling individual in that his appearance hides much more than Maguire shares with us in this issue. He clearly knows of Tanga’s abilities, but does not hesitate to challenge her on multiple levels.
Maguire’s art — always jammed with masterful expressions and clean, crisp detail — is no less so in this issue. The characters are few, the backgrounds are limited, so it is up to Maguire and his colorist, Rosemary Cheetham, to fill the pages with wonder for us to behold. They deliver, and when Tanga faces down a flying beastie towards the end of this segment, that scene is packed with action and excitement. Cheetham’s colors work so wonderfully to help define the world that Maguire is building that the work of these two seems inseparable. That’s exactly as it should be.
As a long-time Doom Patrol fan, I was more than a little disappointed when the collection of announced post-relaunch comics did not include the DP among their fifty-two titles. I’m glad I only had to wait an extra month to get some of that old Doom Patrol connection back, even if it is only for ten pages and features just a pair of names from the legacy of the DP. The fact that Robotman, cited here as “created by Arnold Drake” and addressed more than once as “Cliff,” is the lead story in a title dubbed “My Greatest Adventure” gives me hope for yet another new take on the old freaks Doom Patrol fans have grown to love no matter what incarnation we refer to as “ours.”
This time out, the tale is not only the lead in this anthology book, but it is also the only story of the three that is written and drawn by two separate creators. Matt Kindt narrates this new Robotman’s exposition through the words of Robotman, himself. He gives us a tight overview of Robotman’s personality but only eludes to Robotman’s past, choosing to grow the character over the course of the storyline.
Robotman runs a detective agency or adventure agency and takes cases to try and recapture the sense of being alive with adrenaline coursing through his veins and fueling his movements. My biggest gripe comes in the form of that agency, as Robotman’s current client refers to the person she’s trying to find as her brother, only later to refer to him as her husband. Those are some sloppy details, but it remains to be seen if those are Mrs. Turing’s sloppy details or Matt Kindt’s.
Kindt makes no false pretenses that Cliff is an adrenaline junky going through a form of withdrawal, unable to truly find that buzz he knew in his flesh-and-bone existence. Joining Cliff in his adventures is his assistant, Maddy Rouge, who serves as both his executive assistant, meeting with potential clientele, and his field assistant. Ten pages doesn’t give us enough time to truly get to know Maddy, but there’s plenty of time for that to come, seeing as Robotman is going to need her help in the next issue if Scott Kolins’ cliffhanger final image is worth believing.
Kolins’ work in this story is filled with detail, as his art always is, but it also has a weird range. As readers who have seen Kolins’ art before know, his style is packed with frenetic, sketchy lines, frequently implying detail as much as delivering it. More often than not, that style clutters the story with expressive lines and bits of debris. In this story, Kolins’ work is much more clean and concise through the six, almost seven pages. So much so that I had to check to see if an inker was working with Kolins. No inker, just a shift in style. Kolins’ standard style bursts onto the last few pages with a vengeance, however, adding to the chaos and terror that erupts there. Mike Atiyeh’s colors are well-matched for the story Kolins draws, and Atiyeh handles the range of environments presented to him quite nicely.
Through the entire issue, Jared K. Fletcher gets a workout on his captions and word balloons, using a multitude of styles and effects. Each story has a feel all its own, but the book as a whole holds together quite nicely, at least in part due to the consistency Fletcher provides.
This collection of ten-page teases strikes a broad range in story depth, character development, and genre. Taken as a whole, this is a fun book that delivers good to great art, fun to frivolous stories, and characters that offer reason for returning next month to read more.