Showcase Presents: Doom Patrol, Vol. 1 by Arnold Drake
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
My first encounters with the Doom Patrol were years after they had a title and Robotman was guest starring in New Teen Titans. From there, I jumped on Grant Morrison's run on their new series but I never bothered to track down any of the original material. Until now.
The Doom Patrol is comprised of Robotman, a human brain inside a robot body, Elasti-Girl, a former actress who can grow and shrink at will, and Negative Man, a former pilot who can project a body composed of radio waves from his body. Their leader is The Chief, a wheelchair bound scientist from another world.
The first thing I noticed was that the Doom Patrol has to be the Marvel-iest DC series produced during the silver age. Instead of straight up super heroes, the Doom Patrol are a team of bickering misfits whose identities are publicly known. Their dynamic is a bit Fantastic Four-ish. Robotman fills the role The Thing does in the FF, Negative Man the Human Torch, and Elasti-Girl is the peacemaker, ala the Invisible Woman. The weirdest part of their dynamic is the bizarre love(?) triangle between Negative Man, Elasti-Girl, and Robotman.
I was a little surprised that weirdness was with the Doom Patrol even in its younger days. The Chief had the world's largest set of goggles and an air tank built for Elasti-Girl. One of the Doom Patrol's enemies is a brain in a jar called The Brain. Another is Monseur Mallah, a french speaking ape. Crazy stuff.
The art is a notch above other books produced at the time. I'm surprised more people don't talk about Bruno Premiani as a gem of the Silver Age. The only person I've seen mention him is Michael Allred of Madman fame. The stories are less cheesy than a lot of stuff DC and Marvel were putting out at the same time.
Showcase Presents the Doom Patrol is a must have for fans of the Doom Patrol and it will fit comfortable in any budget due to the affordability of the Showcase line.
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