Sunday, June 12, 2011

Doom Patrol #1 (August, 2004)

The four-armed gorilla Nudge was going ape, and his handler Nudge couldn't chill him out. A hunk of machinery flew at the group, but Faith used her telekinesis to redirect it upward. Newton's law states that wasn't such a hot idea, so Vortex opened his mouth to keep any weight from coming down. The four young metahumans had been ordered to remain at the flier aircraft while the Doom Patrol investigated their converted prison base on Key Mordaz, Florida. They decided to get in on the case.

Martian Manhunter informed, "Superman, Wonder Woman, Flash... they have all returned to their homes on Earth. And you have been without sleep for at least seventy-two hours." Batman snorted, "I've gone longer, J'Onn." The Dark Knight Detective still didn't feel the Crucifer case was closed. When the Sleuth from Outer Space suggested the Doom Patrol was the loose string, Batman replied "No-- I trust Niles Caulder, their leader. I would not have let Faith go off with them if I didn't." One, trying to rehabilitate the Chief's sorry reputation by having making Batman say something that naive is just wrong, and two, boy is Batman bossy these days. "J'Onn... you know I wouldn't ask this unless I felt there was no other way. You're Martian telepathy... d'you think you could..." Yes, he said "d'you..."

Faith and the pre-Doomers learned three of Caulder's inmates held in the prison were loose. "You mean this Doctor Caulder guy keeps people locked up here? Isn't that a violation of all kinds of civil rights?" Nudge blew that off with Caulder's rationale that the public good outweighed "that sort of thing." An enlarged Rita Farr suddenly fell backwards through a wall. This set up a flashback to the cliffhanger at the end of the Doom Patrol's backdoor pilot JLA story arc "The Tenth Circle." The Chief was bound up on a wall surrounded by three vampires. In an expository flashback during an expository flashback, a punk metahuman kid explained that he had been helping Crucifer out with his wormhole powers, affording contact to the rest of the Circle and access to other dimensions. The punk was the reason Crucifer was able to teleport from Canada to Castle Crucifer, and how he himself had reached Florida. The punk released Caulder's three metahuman prisoners, and helped members of the Circle take possession of their bodies.

Barrage was a naked bald guy who fired energy cannons from out of his hands that could blow Negative Man to pieces. Magalith was a stony freak who dealt Robotman Cliff Steele some damage, but not enough. Rubber Maid, who had a past relationship with Cliff, managed to tie him up with her malleable body. The battle of three-on-three seemed prone to stalemate.

The Manhunter from Mars had mentally allowed Batman access to reflection on the battle with "crystal clarity." The Dark Knight realized that there was a missing metahuman working with Crucifer, and Green Lantern volunteered to help track him down. "Always impressive, John Stewart." All three were soon at Castle Crucifer, and before Batman could "jimmy" the lock, J'Onn J'Onzz passed immaterially through. One opened door later, and "Welcome, gentlemen. Enter freely, and of your own will." Stewart snickered, wondering when the Martian had gotten around to reading Dracula. J'Onzz missed the rhetorical element, and explained his familiarity with Earth culture after decades here.

The Manhunter's telepathy found the house deserted, until the punk kid turned up out of nowhere, followed by Negative Man. At first, the energy wraith tried to chat, but then screamed in pain and attacked J'Onn J'Onzz...

"Baptism of Blood" was by John Byrne with Doug Hazelwood. There's less dialogue than in the preceding Chris Claremont scripts, but Byrne on his own is no less corny. Jerry Ordway's inks are sorely missed, as the new embellishment hews too close to Byrne's rushed, loose, bland pencils. Faith is still dressed like trash, the villains could not be less generic, and the team pretty much shares a single milquetoast personality. Pity the poor reader who bought a first issue expecting more than to walk in on chapter seven of an uninspired story from an over the hill creator with a painfully out of date take on this "new" super-team.


LissBirds said...

I never knew there was any crossover between the Martian Manhunter and the Doom Patrol. (Or the JLA, for that matter.)

Diabolu Frank said...

The Doom Patrol has much closer ties to the Teen Titans, but they did show up memorably in "JLA: Year One." Maybe I should do a Post-Crisis revisionism theme in September to cover it?

LissBirds said...

I say go for it!

Wow, I read Year One. I think. And I don't remember them showing up there. (At the time I probably didn't know who the Doom Patrol was, though.)

Luke said...

Sorry, but I forgot this Doom Patrol even existed. About the only thing this version was good for was giving us Nudge so that she could die in the first issue of Kieth Giffen's now-deceased (and much mourned) Doom Patrol.

Diabolu Frank said...

Not that I favor the killing of young Asian girls in a whitebread universe, but Nudge and her tacky fishnets exploded real good. I'll discuss that event further in about 2 and one half weeks.