Doom Patrol has been quirky and strange from the start, maintaining the interest of its stable creative team (Giffen and Clark have provided a consistent level of entertainment), if not the fans. News of its impending cancellation is my biggest comics letdown of the year. It may not have been for everyone, but Giffen’s warped sense of humor had found a fitting home on Oolong Island, and we’ve gotten more character development from Cliff, Rita, Larry and assorted hangers-on than we’ve had in years. Their foes have been bizarre, and also often ironic and satirical. Their crises haven’t been world-shaking in the DC-epic sense, but they have been psychologically shattering. We’ve seen Larry joke bitterly about his own divided psyche, Rita mourn her murdered and manipulated one and Cliff continue, as always, to kick ass with stubborn optimism in the face of one setback after another.
In this issue, President Cale has decided to replace the Patrol with Jost’s Frontmen (consisting mostly of former Doom Patrol foes). She’s not aware at first that Jost has been possessed by Mr. Somebody (aka Mr. Nobody), and the Frontmen don’t care anyway as their main motive is vindictive vengeance.
So where does the Patrol go if the island can’t be their home? And what’s become of Danny the Street and Crazy Jane and Ambush Bug? Pulling in their shortlist of contacts, Rita is spurned by the Teen Titans (unless she drops her teammates), Cliff is spurned by the JLA (and accused of terrorism thanks to the Chief attacking the UN), Larry is shown the door in Gotham by Batman (amusing himself all the way with muttered queries as to why “Batman” looks more like Justin Beiber than Dirty Harry these days) and Bumblebee can’t seem to locate Mal Duncan anywhere.
Their only port in the storm is an old acquaintance of Cliff’s in Vegas, and his proposal is the worst of all worst-case scenarios: it happens their host knows General Immortus, and Immortus wants to lead his former enemies in the Chief’s absence. The most pitiful thing is our gloomy losers actually consider his offer. I wouldn’t put major crazy blow-ups and kiss-offs out of Giffen’s purview at this point, so I’m definitely on board for whatever’s left of this underrated series. I hope it goes out with a bang!