The Team That I Know Is Constantly Doomed
I took the time to track down this special issue to commemorate my next milestone, Review #400! Long time readers will likely know, especially with my latest kick, that the Doom Patrol is my favorite superhero team. They've had a wide variety of styles in their 5 series' and are almost always far outside the norm. (Except maybe Vol. 4.... or maybe it was outside the norm of being good? Because its ABSOLUTELY TERRIBLE?.... Moving on.) So what better comic to celebrate a milestone than their first appearance!? Maybe this would've been more appropriate for #500, but whatever. It was either this or wait until Wednesday for Morning Glories #14, and I have other reviews I really want to do in the meantime. ONWARDS!
The Good: Ok, yes, it's a Silver Age comic, but the dialogue is surprisingly not as stale as I had expected. There's a few panels with the expected obvious explanations of what is occurring in the panel, but the rest of the dialogue has surprising subtlety and quality to it.
The artwork also isn't what I expected of a comic this old. I've read comics from the early 90's that were harder to appreciate artwise than this. It's got shades of haunting realism with lots of dark shades and muted colors. Its a start contrast to the general bright colorful superhero adventures. It lets you know that, 'Hey, something's different about this."
While I don't see much of this in the world around them, the characters all convey a good sense that they have been rejected by society. They have the downtrodden attitude of outcasts at the start, which turns quickly into a strong camraderie due to the acceptance they get in their new roles.
And from the start we get to see that each member has their own role in battle. Through The Chief's leadership, they actually work well together. This emphasizes the strength of a bond forged through unified rejection. It also shows you, in a rare case, how important a tactician is. Batman's always got plans and stuff, but it's rarely shown this well on a daily basis kind of level.
At the end of the issue there's some bizarre hints of all sorts of odd implied sexual tension being built up. It really threw me off guard with the level of subtlety.
The Bad: Should I forgive the blatant explanations of what we can clearly see, simply because of this being a Silver Age comic? I don't know, but personally I can't. Not completely at least.
When Doom Patrol standards of weirdness haven't yet been set by this point, do I still judge this by how weird it is? Again, I can't completely help it.
In Conclusion: 3/5
What can I say? It was about as good as I could expect a comic this old to be. I read the original adventures of Hal Jordan, and they weren't as good as this. I haven't read many comics this old, but so far this is the best. It hasn't yet become the Doom Patrol I know that sets itself apart from the superhero norm in weirdness, but it is DEFINITELY something unique. If you're a Doom Patrol fan, this is not something you can miss.