Sunday, May 23, 2010
The Doom Patrol Archives Vol 2. Arnold Drake (Writer), Bruno Premiani (Story Art), Bob Brown (Cover Art). DC Comics (2004)
Mad science and beautiful art combine to create an outstanding comic. The Doom Patrol, The World's Strangest Heroes were Elasti-Girl, who could change her size at will, Robotman, a robot body housing a human brain, Negative Man, who has the ability to project a radioactive being for sixty seconds from his body and the Chief, the wheelchair bound scientific genius who leads the team. Facing off against the Dom Patrol are the Brotherhood of Evil, led by a brain in a jar,Mallah a talking, intelligent gorilla and Madame Rouge whose powers rival Elasti-Girl's. They also battle an alien criminal mastermind called Garguax, are aided by an egotistical man with great mental powers called,Mento.
The great joy of these stories is the utterly uninhibited way these elements are embraced, Arnold Drake takes the lovely absurdity of the Doom Patrol very seriously and creates stories that build upon that absurdity. The plots are full of invention and great action that tests the Doom Patrol to the limit. The team has to work very hard to prevail, their weaknesses are exploited by their enemies, Robotman is fed into a set of rollers that flatten out his body, Elasti-Girl is trapped in a clock, her strength proportional to her tiny size, Negative Man is trapped by a ray that slows time and keeps him from returning to his physical body in the required time. Even the Chief has to head out to a duel in his amped up wheelchair. Underneath all this high concept action Arnold Drake gives the Doom Patrol real personalities and emotional entanglements, their banter has a genuine emotional undertow.
Bruno Premiani's art brings the the cast to exuberant life, the Doom Patrol are wonderfully expressive, neither being swathed in bandages nor encased in a robot body makes their body language any less potent. The extraordinary situations that are set up all are given weight and solidity by the art, the proportions and perspectives are so well done that the reader is never distracted from the story. These wonderfully sophisticated comics are an undiluted pleasure.