I recently finished reading the trades for Grant Morrison’s Doom Patrol.
The Doom Patrol was originally published in My Greatest Adventure in 1963 by DC Comics. At that time it was really something very different. A band of misfit heroes consisting of a Robot with a Human Brain, A former Test Pilot attached to a Negative being, and size changing actress, all lead by a wheelchair bound genius.(two months before a certain Prof. X)
The Doom Patrol team was considered very strange and different. Also their villains broke the current mold set at that time also. They included an immortal, a talking gorilla, a vegetable, animal and mineral man and a disembodied brain just to name a few.
The original run of the book lasted until issue 121, and again DC did something rare and different when the book concluded, they killed the entire team off.
Of course death in comics is temporary, and so the Doom Patrol returned to comics in the 70s, the only surviving original member being Robotman. However by the time they returned they seemed less strange more mainstream. That is how they remained through a couple of additional runs including one in the late 80s written by Paul Kupperberg. Over the years the team became much less weird and pretty standard for the times. That all changed when Grant Morrison took over the book with issue 19 in 1989. He not only made the book strange again but it borders on bizarre, The new team consists of Robotman again, a hermaphrodite negative being, a monkey girl with amazing mental powers and the strangest of all, Crazy Jane, a multiple personality, each having their own super powers. As an added bonus the wheelchair bound genius Niles Calder was back as the team leader.
Even stranger now are the villains of the book in Morrison’s run, The Scissormen, Red Jack, Mr. Nobody and the Brotherhood of Da Da, the Men from N.O.W.H.E.R.E., The Cult of the Unwritten Book, aliens at war, The Shadowy Mr. Evans, the secret of the Pentagon and the Candlemaker.
Morrison writes the book as though he is writing from a stream of consciences. The ideas come fast and furious throughout this run, almost too fast to keep up with. The ideas are so different, so complex they take time to process and you can never fully understand what is going on.
Also each main character have their own story arc during the Morrison run, and no one character is the same when it’s all done.
It is also noted that Doom Patrol started out as a regular DC book but became part of the Vertigo line along the way. So it went from standard Super-Hero fair to an edgy mature read in just a couple of years. This allowed Morrison to explore some stuff that was a little taboo for mainstream comics at the time.
I collected this book issue by issue back in the 80s and 90s. Back in those days there were only a hand full of books which I could barely wait for from month to month, Doom Patrol being one of them.
So can I recommend the book. Hell ya, although it is different from the mainstream, and the stories and the characters are so bizarre, it keeps your interest up. Although some of you might not really be up for the whole destination, you can’t help but go along for at least part of the ride.
The complete Morrison run is available to purchase in six trade paperback volumes which can be found on amazon.