Clearing the Backlog has covered various dysfunctional superhero team comics. But one intrepid team of weirdos stands above all others: the Doom Patrol!
In this second arc of Grant Morrison’s run on the title, the Patrol takes on the Brotherhood of Dada. Their adversaries are an offshoot of the Brotherhood of Evil, bent on demonstrating the meaninglessness and contradiction of life. So they steal a painting that eats people and feed Paris to it—along with most of the Justice League of Europe. Booster Gold tasks the only heroes crazy enough to deal with the problem with saving Paris—the Doom Patrol.
What makes Morrison’s Doom Patrol work so well is his grounding of weird ideas in specific rules. For instance, within the Painting that Eats People, there are different worlds for different art styles. Each of those worlds has its own rules and make the characters in it feel specific kinds of emotions. What could have been a gag or a gimmick instead drives narrative in a clever, meaningful way.
It should be no surprise that an arc that revolves around art would need solid art behind it. Richard Case and John Nyberg handle those duties here, and not only do they navigate the usual Doom Patrol weirdness well, but they fluidly switch between strange perspectives (like recursive paintings) and varying artistic styles as the story dictates. Even though technical limitations give away the book’s ‘80s origins, inventive art and design keep the arc’s age from working against itself.
If you like weird, conceptual comics and haven’t read Morrison’s Doom Patrol, you’re probably breaking the law. I think that’s the only remaining rule in the Comics Code. Or maybe it’s part of the Geneva Convention? I don’t know; I didn’t go to law school. Just read the book!
- Doom Patrol by Grant Morrison, Vol. 1 (#19-34)
- Doom Patrol by Grant Morrison Omnibus (#19-63)
Writer: Grant Morrison | Artists: Richard Case, John Nyberg, Doug Braithwaite, Scott Hanna, Carlos Garzón | Colorists: Daniel Vozzo, Michele Wolfman | Letterer: John Workman