Tuesday, October 18, 2011
My Greatest Adventure #1, the new DC anthology book, came out last week and featured the new Robotman of the DCnU. Now I have talked about my love of the Doom Patrol here at Bloodlines in the past and the team has been covered here extensively. My Greatest Adventure was the first book the Doom Patrol appeared in way back in the Silver Age and with Robotman as one of the stars, I thought I'd review the book.
This book is the direct continuation of the recent Weird Worlds anthology book and the other two characters featured here, GarbageMan and Tanga, are back to continue their stories. Lobo, the weakest feature in Weird World was dropped in favor of the Robotman feature. I think it is worth mentioning that the GarbageMan and Tanga features literally pick up where Weird Worlds left off. New readers picking up MGA are joining a story mid-stream. If I were DC, I might have at least done a recap page or paragraph.
But I am concentrate mostly on the Robotman story here, written by Matt Kindt and drawn by Scott Kolins. It is hard to know if the Doom Patrol has existed in the DCnU. There is no mention of the team anywhere here. In fact, I am assuming that this Cliff/Robotman is Cliff Steel. The new look of Robotman is a bit evocative of Joe Staton's version in the "New" Doom Patrol seen in Showcase.
So right from the start, we realize this isn't the typical Robotoman. The opening action sequence shows a flying Robotman, composed of nanobots, his body unfolding into new configurations. He pretty effortlessly sinks a drone battleship.
I have to say I don't like a flying Robotman. One of the things about the older versions of Cliff is that he needed to plod along. As the most 'grounded' member of the team, that seemed appropriate. I do like the bug-like head ...nice design.
This Cliff runs a 'Adventure Agency', a place where he takes interesting cases to solve. The latest one is to track down a missing scientist named Dr. Turing.
Despite having a close co-worker, there is a feeling of isolation here. The headquarters is a lone tower in the Nevada desert, the land terraformed by the nanobots into an oasis. People don't just wander by.
The co-worker is a low level telepath named Maddy Rouge. Hmmm ... some relation to Madame Rouge the stretchable villain in the Brotherhood of Evil? Regardless, she senses something isn't quite right in this Turing case.
How these two got together isn't revealed yet, although some event has happened in Utah is hinted at, one which weighs Maddy down with guilt.
These scenes show Cliff's body literally unraveled and being tuned up, a very odd and off-putting picture.
That sense of isolation ... of otherness ... is pervasive here. While the old Cliff tried to remain linked to humanity as much as possible, this one seems to have simply given up. He continues to point out why he isn't human but the veiled pain in these lines shows some humanity still exists.
But the old Cliff wore pants and a shirt, a way to feel more a part of humanity. This one remains naked, unfolding to reveal more and more inner mechanics.
The case for Turing leads Cliff to Cuba where he is attacked by Zombies which begin dismantling him. Nice Cliff-hanger.
I don't know ... I miss the Doom Patrol. I enjoyed the recent Giffen book and have always had an affinity for the characters. I wonder when/if the Patrol will reappear in the DCnU. As for this Cliff, it is a sort of new take on the character, although the 'am I human' piece of Cliff remains a big part of his characterization. Kindt is able to drop us into the character pretty neatly and quickly here. And Kolins art is smoother than I have seen in the past and looks nice
But Robotman is only 1/3 of the book.
GarbageMan continues the story of this 'trash encrusted mockery of a man'. There is a bit of a Swamp Thing feel about this strip as the character tries to come to grips with his new life as a monster.
This issue gives some back story showing Richard (GarbageMan) Morse's prior relationships, his failed marriage, his flirting with his co-worker. The chapter ends with GarbageMan in Gotham, which might lead to an interesting encounter with Batman.
Aaron Lopresti writes and draws the script. I am a huge fan of Lopresti and think his work is stunningly beautiful.
But for me, the best part of the book is Kevin Maguire's Tanga strip. Tanga is sassy, powerful, short tempered, but heroic in the end. She'll save innocents but then wants to get drunk in the nearest bar. The current story has her feuding with a local hero named Za who is basically a powerless fraud but wants to bed her. (In the end I think he wants to drain her of her power.) This is a fun strip and I hope eventually gets collected as a trade. I love Maguire's work too.
So overall, this is a decent sci-fi/horror anthology with some great talent and some very good stories. It is $3.99 but is full of story and great art.
Overall grade: B/B+