August 5, 2010
Granted, I've made no secret of my love for the Doom Patrol...and I've been quite amazed at the quality of Keith Giffen's writing. I find some of his humor a little grating (yes, a little Ambush Bug can go a long way), but in this book, he tones it down, giving the proceedings a nice sense of absurdity without going overboard. He's also pulling from various eras in the group's history - from Arnold Drake to Grant Morrison - and mixing them in a way that seems as it if were planned...but is overwhelmingly fresh.
Issue 13 focuses on Rita Farr, Elasti-Woman...or the "normal looking" member of the group. Granted, in other hands the story presented might seem a little trite or overdone...but Giffen is able to do two things: create a plausible situation from past "continuity"...and inject what used to be a cipher with some degree of emotional weight. All of this interspersed with both "classic" Doom Patrol dynamics mixed with some of the "revelations" of the Morrison era. This is a story that is both simultaneously creepy and engaging...and this is a breather from the usual superheroics of this book.
The other strength is in Matthew Clark's art - he has a great sense of storytelling and pacing. It's the kind of art you don't mind looking at repeatedly - in fact, in a way, you may not fall in love with Rita Farr...but you will definitely develop stronger feelings for her.
Much like DC's previous efforts to revive the group, Doom Patrol is not one of their larger selling books. It's not the reinvention of classic graphic literature....but it is a pretty solid read. If you don't believe me, check out some sample pages from DC's blog.
Many other deserving titles often get swept under the rug. Be sure that Giffen's Doom Patrol isn't one of them.