Doom Patrol #4 review

The Blackest Night crossover rumbles on, with corpses attacking DCU heroes for reasons I’ve long since lost track of. The reason here is to boost sales, and I’m not just down with that, I’m positively six feet under – this is a great book that more people should try.

Cue the corpses of the Seventies Doom Patrol – Celsius, Tempest and Negative Woman – in a tour de force from writer Keith Giffen and artists Justiniano and Livesay. The Black Lanterns’ memory download is a neat device for Celsius, Arani Caulder, to narrate the short, inglorious history of the Patrol she put together after the death of her husband, the Chief. After that it’s hijinks all the way. The dead Patrol attacks the formerly Dead Patrol, perhaps annoyed that the Chief, Robotman, Negative Man and Elasti-Girl-now-Woman were all resurrected. The fisticuffs are fast and furious, with the dead guys trouncing their predecessors.

This issue also features an insight into Robotman as Negative Man helps him into yet another new body, Elasti-Woman raging at having ex-husband Mento crawling around her head and the return of rubbish Silver Age DP villain Dr Tyme.

Giffen has a ball with the Zombie Doom Patrol, who spit spite at the living heroes every chance they get. My favourite moment sees Elasti-Woman dismissed as a ‘size-shifting slattern’ – who doesn’t love insulting alliteration? This instalment closes with Robotman facing a surprising, but logical, Black Lantern. I can’t wait for next issue. How I’d I’d love for the reanimated Patrol members to be returned to life at the end of the big Green Lantern event.

Justiniano’s pencils look great under Livesay’s inks. The artists produce some wonderfully ghoulish moments as the dead attack the living, and the two negative beings look sensational as they zip around the page, fighting for supremacy. And good on the artists if they managed to paint the dead DP’s Black Lantern costumes with a straight face. Tempest’s, in particular, needs some kind of Queer Eye for the Corpse Guy intervention.

The Metal Men strip, by Giffen, JM DeMatteis and Kevin Maguire, is another fun romp, as three living dolls emerge to take over the world/go shopping. It’s not deep, it doesn’t impact on the rest of the DCU, but it does entertain. Thoroughly. Giffen and DeMatteis’s plot is densely packed, yet sorbet light, while the art of Maguire and colourist Guy Major is open and expressive.

The only offnote with this issue is the low-impact cover by Justiniano, Andrew Mangum and Major. The image is Robotman, Elasti-Woman and Negative Man fish-eye reflected in a Black Lantern ring – the dramatic rays make processing the information tough, the ring-wielding fist’s too large . . . the shot just doesn’t work. An illo of DP v ZDP would likely have been a winner.

One thought on “Doom Patrol #4 review

  1. Best issue yet. I keep desperately waiting for a Doom Patrol revival that captures some of the original magic. I'm keeping my fingers crossed with this one.

    The two highlights for me was seeing the Chief through the black lantern's eyes and he was always orange with greed. Perfect!

    The second was the black lantern that comes back to haunt Robotman. Best cliffhanger yet for any of the Blackest Night tie-ins.


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