Doom Patrol #22

A comic review article by: Shawn Hill
No tearful goodbyes or cheap sentiment in this last issue of Giffen's take on DC's long-lived but ill-starfed misfit team. It's just business as usual, as he sets about wrapping up the plots and character arcs set in motion over the past year, peppering his quite reasonable scenes of conflict with a healthy dose of humor along the way.

It's clear that Giffen doesn't feel that anything was broken with his take on the team, and he managed for the most part a very creative synthesis of their varied history. They've had interpretations both inspired and misconceived, and this was one of the better ones. It also maintained a consistent look, as Randall's art here continues the solid superheroics established by Matthew Clark. If there was a problem with Giffen's run, it might have been its very complexity. There were a lot of long-winded conversations, generally led by the villains that were obtuse as often as they were informative. There was a feeling, with some of the jokes, that Giffen was having his private chortle but the audience may have been left behind.

That's not the case this issue, as the jokes hit home and the dialogue is relatively clear and direct. It seems Danny the Hut has been dealing with their replacements on Oolong Island by transporting them to the Antarctic whenever he gets the chance. Seems everyone is on to Mr. Somebody possessing President Cale, too, so that little ruse is crumbling.

The bug woman, the woman of glass and the man made of everything attack the Patrol when they stealthily re-invade their former turf, but the Patrol also have a bug woman, a woman made of malleable stuff, and two old pros who've seen this all before. The fiercely determined, Martin Sheen-y "Mr. Roboto" on the cover isn't taking no for an answer this time; just like Crazy Jane (not in spectacular vengeance mode herself at this point) kept telling everyone he wouldn't. Things always get much better whenever he shows up to protect "his family."

At least within the story. Danny's had about enough of Somebody's nonsense, too, and offers to shake off the usurpers "like fleas" whenever Cliff wants. How so? Meet Danny the Island! Though it's actually whispered words from Ambush Bug that send Mr. Somebody Enterprises heading for greener pastures and fleeing Ms. Cale. The fourth-wall-breaking Bug knows more about the bottom line and something called Flashpoint than any of our clueless stars, as usual, so it looks like victory to them. They've got their own realm to worry about, and Giffen even leaves us with a hopefully formulaic cliffhanger.

That there is no next issue doesn't mean the Doom Patrol is down for the count; somebody is sure to remember how much fun hermaphrodites, robots, schizophrenics and gay islands are again, before you know it!

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