Current Reviews


Doom Patrol #14

Posted: Monday, November 11, 2002
By: Jason Cornwell

Writer: John Arcudi
Artist: Seth Fisher

Publisher: DC

The book opens with Robot Man getting his team into gear, as the city is under attack by a giant monster, and after they get a heads up on how their powers work, we see the new Doom Patrol puts on a pretty fair showing, while they reside inside the bodies of the original team. However, when the giant monster turns out to be a decoy designed to keep them occupied while the Brotherhood of Evil robbed Fort Knox, we see Cliff decides a more proactive approach is required. We then see that thanks to his future knowledge, Cliff knows where the Brotherhood has gone to ground with their loot, and the new/old Doom Patrol arrives in Paris, where they pay a visit to the hidden base that the Brotherhood had set up under a one-room schoolhouse. We then get another pretty good look at this team's ability to hold their own in a fight, as they make pretty easy work of the Brotherhood. However, when the tie clasp that sent them into the past mysteriously reappears we see the team is thrown back into the future, where they find themselves back in their own bodies. We then see Robot Man learns the trip to the past was a lesson being given to him by the weird old man in the park, to teach Cliff not to turn his nose up at his second chance at life.

This current arc was likely created with the fans of the original Doom Patrol in mind, but thankfully John Arcudi has made the issue accessible for newer readers like myself, who have only encountered this original lineup a couple times. Having the minds of the new Doom Patrol residing in the bodies of the originals certainly helps, as Robot Man is automatically cast into the role of explaining the situation to his confused teammates, and by extension, us readers also get the information one requires to fully enjoy this adventure. In the end this two issue visit to the past was a lot of fun, and I found myself wishing their stay had been a longer one, as I was really warming up to this new situation, and I would've loved an expanded tour of the DCU of this particular era. The idea that these people are from the future is also used to good effect, as we see Cliff uses his knowledge to lead the team right to the Brotherhood's secret lair, and there's also a fun little exchange between Ted & Cliff about why he's not as in the know about this situation as one would think he would be. Yes, the only really complaint I have with the visit to the past was that it ended sooner than I wanted it to.

John Arcudi's sense of humor is what makes this book such a worthy recommendation in my book, as he's developed some truly engaging personalities for his cast, and frankly I haven't enjoyed a book this much since the Giffen/DeMatteis Justice League. I realize I'm going to beat this comparison into the ground, but if that's what it takes to get people to notice this book is the modern day incarnation of that much missed title, than alienating all the other readers is a price I'm willing to pay. From Ted's abrasive personality, to Fever's shy, but sweet demeanor, this book feels like a return to the past, but with a dash on modern day cynicism thrown in to keep it interesting. I mean one has to love Ted's little rant about the millions of dollars that was spent on the giant robot, or his reaction to Madame Rouge's French accent. There's also the fun little scene where Fever openly wonders what the Chief brings to the table, after she watches all the others rush into combat with their flashy new powers. One also has to enjoy the way that Cliff serves as the ideal straight man to all these various personalities, as even the mysterious Ava decides to display a new side of herself during this story.

Seth Fisher turns in some wonderful work on this issue, and while I'll be glad when Tan Eng Huat makes his return next month, this two issue break has been a lot of fun. The art did a great job capturing the odd ball element that surrounded the cast of the original Doom Patrol, as we see the new group using their new powers to battle some truly bizarre threats. The tussle with the giant latex man was a lot of fun, and the battle with the Brotherhood later in the issue is also quite entertaining from a visual sense. The art nicely captures the idea of Beast Boy's power, as we see Vic spends pretty much the entire issue shifting from one animal to the next, though he keeps that silly looking tuff of hair so we'll know that either he hasn't quite mastered the ability, or else that hair is his method of expressing his individuality, while he's occupying another person's body. There's also the little details like Cliff's expression when he sees that Fever shaved off the Chief's beard, or the fact that once he gets his pack of smokes on the first page, Ted's a regular chain smoker (heck, even his disembodied brain is smoking a cigarette). There's also the page where Ava smashes her way into the secret headquarters of the Brotherhood, and one has to love the rubber lady effect when Fever catches Madame Rouge off guard.

Final Word:
An entertaining visit into the past, with the modern day trappings coming in the form of the new cast taking up residence in the bodies of the original Doom Patrol. In the end the past couple issues have acted as a fun crash course into the early days of Doom Patrol, as with the new cast being largely unfamiliar with their predecessors, Robot Man almost plays the role of a tour guide, as he fills in the gaps. The book also continues to display its sense of humor, as Ted remains a delightfully refreshing voice, with his rants about the silly logic of the super-villain mind, and why everyone around him is a friggin' idiot. This issue also has some fun with the idea that Fever wound up in the body of the Chief, as there's several laugh aloud moment that arise from the gender switch, with Ted's little moment with Vic being my personal favorite scene. Now the trip back to the present was a bit abrupt, and the final pages are annoying elusive when it comes to providing answers, but the stuff in the past was entertaining enough that I'm willing to overlook the shaky logic of how it was made possible.

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