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Doom Patrol #15

A comic review article by: Shawn Hill
Plot: Absolute power goes immediately to the Chief's head. Which is hardly a surprise, as he always was an arrogant bastard.

Comments: In this Ur-confrontation between "father" and his "children" all stands revealed. The twisted psycho-dynamics that Giffen has stressed since beginning this series are so fully on display that each of the characters jokes about their flaws even as they proudly evince no intention of correcting them. They're drawn to each other because they're freaks, they're freaks because of themselves, or the Chief, or their ex-lovers, or other evil scientists (pick a day of the week for an explanation you prefer), and the Chief is the worst and most dangerous of them all.

One thing I enjoy about this series is how Giffen is keeping alive his piece of 52 with the base of operations being Oolong Island and the President being Veronica Cale. Her Clinton-esque moral relativism jibes very jaggedly with the Chief's ruthlessness and there's some funny dialogue when her abrupt decisions meet Cliff Steele's immovable gruff. Larry continues to be the inappropriate jokester (with occasional bursts of unexpected brilliance), and Rita is so messed up (she just found out she's little more than a mass of intelligent protoplasm vaguely related to her original self, who died in an explosion, which is an interesting twist on ignoring how she just popped back into existence in Infinite Crisis--or maybe it was only her memory that did?) she spends half the issue not shape-changing back to normal from gaping wounds to her face. Cale has to actually reprimand her about it.

The Chief, you see, has been experimenting on some poor random Kryptonian (there are so many of them to go around these days) in order to acquire his powers and if anybody knows his Kryptonian power set, it's Giffen. But whoever thought they'd see a legless man flying about unaided, blasting innocents with heat vision, and ripping robots apart with his bare hands? It's a surreal nightmare and that is the place Giffen is most capable of taking this star-crossed team.

As the team plays a delaying tactic with the Chief (who has taken an absolute authority approach to things and decided to disarm the entire world all by himself), we see him taunt his most beloved experiments with their many weaknesses (mostly involving reliance on biological or mechanical cloned bodies that aren't in infinite supply) as he rips them apart one by one.

A deus ex machina of a sort saves them, but not before everyone learns a little bit more about not just their angst causing alienation, but also their anguished but deep familial ties. It'd be fun to see this group interact more with the rest of the DC universe, though painting them all as unrepentantly surly Wolverines is certainly another valid way to go. This title is under appreciated.

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