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Doom Patrol #13

Posted: Friday, June 24, 2005
By: Ray Tate



"Remembrance of Things Past"

Writer/Artist: John Byrne, Terry Austin(i), Alex Bleyaert(c)
Publisher: DC

Before we begin our reviews, as July 4th approaches I'm starting to feel patriotic. So, I'd like to recite the Pledge of Allegiance--

"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United Federation of Planets, and to the galaxy for which it stands, one universe, under everybody, with liberty and justice for all species."

The tyke who spoke those words was punished. His mother who found the hilarity in the situation was called in for a serious talk, and the school administration attempted to humiliate the boy for speaking these seditious, offensive and inflammatory words. What have I to say about it? Rock on, little dude! What I love most about this story found at peterdavid.net, is that they're reprimanding the kid for honoring a fictional organization that represents optimism and the full potential of humanity. Can't have that now, can we?

John Byrne introduces several innovations in this issue of Doom Patrol. He explains the cover which definitely demands explanation, and he may be laying the foundation for explaining why this Doom Patrol exists at all. You'll recall that Byrne's reboot of the Doom Patrol irritated some fans that still naively believe DC has any continuity left at all. I really didn't see the need for justification since most of the Doom Patrol ended up alive anyhow and of all of the team Rita should have been the logical survivor--shrinking down, riding the blast.

Terry Austin joins his old art-mate on this issue, and his enthusiasm shows in all the Byrnerobotics to be found, his super-precise lines contouring Byrne's pencils and the intricate little crosshatching denoting various texture. He differs strongly from Doug Hazelwood--whose name mysteriously still appears on the cover.

Byrne in his pencils has been subtly creating intraconnections through the issues by his depiction of points of view. This issue "films" from the "camera angle" of Mi-Sun Kwon alias Nudge. Here the reader sees what happened before the Civil War spirit haunting Doom Patrol headquarters made his cogent point to the Chief's personal specter. The way Byrne sets this up gives the title a visceral depth and represents a natural evolution in his style.

This is Byrne at his most visually creative in technique rather than the creation of oddities. He also accompanies this flow of narrative not with shocks but genuine plot twists that rely upon the continuity he creates and the characterization. All of these elements in storycraft make Doom Patrol consistently superior.



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