Writer/Artist: John Byrne, Doug Hazlewood(i), Alex Bleyaert(c)
When Alan Moore orchestrated the crippling of Babs Gordon, I thought for the imaginary story, the crime provided the impetus needed to carry the drama. Besides, I thought, the bona fide Batgirl was alive, well and whole in the DCU proper. How wrong I was.
When DC brought that imaginary Babs Gordon into the continuity, when DC had one. I still maintained faith that DC's reasoning was simply to prevent a misunderstanding involving multiple earths and that they would of course heal Babs' spine. Afterall, Babs Gordon was friends with Batman, and Batman had Dr. Fate's number in his Roladex. How naive I was. How cynical I became. DC has ignored all the methods available to heal Babs' spine.
When I started championing John Byrne's Doom Patrol I received several e-mails accusing me of hypocrisy. I didn't seem to be complaining about the Chief's confinement in a wheelchair, but at the drop of a cowl and sometimes without provocation, I will "rant" about fixing Babs Gordon's severed spine.
This issue of Doom Patrol reinforces my faith in John Byrne's writing ability. You may not like his personal opinions, which given this age of hate-mongering by waste of skin Republicans--such as Bill Frist who likes to get down on his knees and service the Religious Right--are pretty mild. You may not appreciate all of Byrne's work, but this author knows how to smartly infuse super-hero hero/science fiction elements to a story.
Byrne in this issue answers the questions revolving around the Chief. He anticipated the question of why a super genius in the field of robotics could not create a device that would allow his body to regenerate. The Babs Gordon of the underrated Birds of Prey television series managed to create a prototype device that would allow her to walk for short periods of painful time. Why couldn't the Chief improve on such a device? The unexpected and satisfying answer can be found in these pages.
The rest of the book ties up loose ends. Byrne again cleverly solves the cliffhanger from last issue. Grudge did get shot at and did take a dive. Byrne also surprises the reader with his choice of dialogue and dishes out a delicious just dessert for the nutso doctor who monkeyed with Grudge.
Byrne begins a new plot thread with a characteristically valid Metamorpho and Sapphire Stagg, who shows off the conscience to which Rex was in the first place attracted. Meanwhile Rita and Cliff save the day in one of the scenarios, and again the save just exemplifies Byrne's ease of comprehension when regarding super power capability. In addition to the writing, Byrne meets his own high standard for art. Solid entertainment and without hesitation recommended.
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