The Doom Patrol Review


Doom Force was pretty much a joke ... a joke in the sense that the entire book was a parody of the then-current and popular artistic and storytelling style of Image Comics, and of Jim Lee and Rob Liefeld in particular, and also doing a bit of a satire on Grant Morrison's own style of storytelling.

Doom Force is set in the somewhat-near future. Dorothy Spinner is now an adult and in control of her powers (which can give form to a person's deepest nightmares) to a degree that she is now field leader of the team. Niles Caulder is still on board as well, as The Head. His decapitated head was encased in a large ice cube and contained in what appeared to be an enormous drinking glass with an umbrella in it (his "cryonic flotation chamber").

The remaining members of Doom Force were all new to even the world of the Doom Patrol:

  • The Crying Boy was Kenneth Most, who had absorbed the bad luck powers of a cheap painting, causing misfortune to follow him and beset his attackers.
  • The Scratch was said to be Morgan Morgan, and rumored to be a well-known hero who accidently killed an innocent bystander and now works anonymously to atone for it. He has the ability to dismantle anything down to its component parts.
  • Flux was Danii Melvin, raised by an Aboriginal Witchdoctor who taught her shape-shifting powers of the Dreamtime.
  • Shasta The Living Mountain has the ability to transform into a mountain, complete with trees, ski-lifts and wayward skiers. He's uh well pretty useless.

Doom Force #1Doom Force #1

"Judgment Day"
Script by Grant Morrison
Art by Steve Pugh, Ian Montgomery, Brad Vancata, Richard Case, Walter Simonson, Paris Cullins, Ray Kryssing, Duke Mighten, Mark McKenna, and Ken Steacy
Cover by Keith Giffen and Mike Mignola

SYNOPSIS: While a deadly secret begins to be revealed in the Nevada desert, the members of Doom Force are facing off against a horde of robot invaders in their headquarters. Spinner, The Crying Boy, Scratch, Flux and Shasta the Living Mountain make short work of the mechanoids, only to find out that they were created and sent by The Head (formerly The Chief) himself, to test their fighting abilities and morale, which he thought had suffered after their recent fight with Carnnyge and his Hellebore Coven.

The Head believed that the team would once again have to battle Count Anton Zero, who had once had control of the Omega Helix. He showed Doom Force a photograph of a gigantic head that had appeared in the Nevada desert three days earlier, and has disrupted U.S. Army supply and communication lines. Doom Force headed out to confront Zero and his new machinations.

At the same time in Nevada, Zero and his sister Una had taken control of a vast underground city, the giant head being a mere part of it. Zero complained that his sister was wearing too many clothes, and told her to change into something more befitting their heritage (they are the children of Doctor Zero), and he was also nervous about purchasing a beach house at Big Sur. One of Zero's winged Pale Riders alerted him to the gathering of superhuman energies nearby, as Doom Force arrived in the area. Zero sent the Pale Riders out to confront them as his plans reached fruition.

The Army General commanding the forces around Zero's construct told Doom Force that the thing was impregnable and had its own army, which soon showed itself in the form of the Pale Riders. Spinner and the Crying Boy headed for the head while Scratch and the others kept the Pale Riders occupied (which is exactly how Scratch wanted it). The two heroes got to the construct even after their flying cycle was destroyed, only to be met by Una Zero when they got inside. Spinner disarmed her, but Una had complete control of the organic city they were in and created plant tendrils to bind them.

Count Zero walked in to greet his new visitors, striking Spinner in retaliation for the humiliation she caused him in front of Miasma in their last meeting. Zero also took the time to explain his reasoning for what he was doing, basing it in partly on the 1979 book Gaia by James Lovelock, which postulated that the planet was one vast lifeform on a global scale, and his city was the first to produce "antibodies" to destroy the "sickness" of humans. His original plan didn't take into account his sister's control over plants and minerals, which allowed her to control the "antibodies" (i.e., the Pale Riders), and they now planned to destroy every major American city, beginning with Los Angeles, if their demands weren't met. This didn't sit well with the Crying Boy, since LA is his home town.

Outside, the Scratch and Flux (with no help from Shasta, of course) had finished off the Pale Riders, and were on hand to see the giant head rise up from the ground, revealing a giant body beneath it. Scratch and Flux made ready to fight the creature, along with a new wave of flying Pale Riders, but Shasta had had enough of being completely useless. He transformed into a large mountain to block the way of the city-creature, which started pounding the hapless young man-mountain. The Scratch took advantage of the ski-lifts on Shasta's surface to get a ride up to the head of the city-creature to help Spinner and the Crying Boy. He was caught in a sudden avalanche caused by the beating Shasta was taking, but Flux managed to save Scratch and pull him up to the top of the city.

Meanwhile, Spinner had been continuing to talk to Zero in order to give the Crying Boy time to use his powers. A delivery man (looking a lot like Willie Lumpkin) showed up with a telegram, telling Zero that he had lost the bidding on the beach house he wanted. Spinner also asked him why he wore normal clothes while making his sister dress in very skimpy and revealing outfits. He said that women enjoyed expressing their femininity by wearing exotic lingerie, but snapped when Una complained that she was cold. Zero removed his clothing to reveal a similar outfit underneath (pasties and speedos). At the same moment, Scratch and Flux burst into the chamber and freed their friends. Zero and Una headed for their escape plane, planning to destroy Los Angeles with their nuclear warheads. The battered Shasta saved the day by growing even taller and intercepting the plane, which crashed and exploded on his snowy slope.

Later, Doom Force was gathered around a rock, which was all that was left of the dead Shasta. The organic city had agreed to stop its rampage and enter high-level discussions with the planet's leaders about pollution and other problems. Scratch brought everyone out of their reverie by telling them that Shasta had been a creep and he was glad he was dead, a sentiment that everyone agreed with, and left to get something to eat.

COMMENTS: As satires go, this was no Ambush Bug, but then parodying Image Comics and their ilk doesn't exactly require much wit ... just a lot of fine little pencil lines all over everything, large breasts on every woman, and a complete disregard for normal human anatomy and artistic perspective. Oh, and cardboard characterizations don't hurt either, nor do blood-thirsty heroes. Doom Force succeeded on all levels, and was a fairly entertaining story as well. Morrison's oddball characters in this story definitely mirrored how a lot of readers probably viewed his work on Doom Patrol and Animal Man, which was just plain odd.

I really don't think the multitude of artists were really required for this story, but it was nice to see Walt Simonson work on a Doom Patrol story, however tangental this one was to the DP canon. Giffen and Mignola's cover was great, and yet another pastich of the Kevin Maguire's Justice League #1 classic.

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