By: Keith Giffen (writer), Ron Randall (penciller), Art Thibert (inker), Guy Major (colorist)
The Story: The Doom Patrol takes back their base, D-Day style!
The Review: Having been ignored, maligned, and mistreated not only in the DCU, but also in the real world of comics readers, it’s fitting the Doom Patrol would use their final issue to make one last, desperate attempt to gain some self-respect. Getting kicked out of their home and turned into house-crashers (with a reputation for terrorism) overnight stung, and they’re determined to sting back for once.
That said, other than to give them a splashy mission for their last hours in print, the reasons for them retaking Oolong Island aren’t really there. Up until their forced departure, they spent plenty of issues bemoaning how Oolong had gone to the dogs, the crazies they had to deal with regularly, and the country’s shady political alignment. Maybe they plan to reform the place on their own terms (and recover their heroic status in so doing), but we’ll never get to see that.
We also haven’t seen enough of how Mr. Somebody (in the body of Veronica Cale)’s handled things in their absence. I mean, how much worse can an unscrupulous, extradimensional entity run a corrupt island of mad scientists and their illegal experiments anyway? Even by this issue, Mr. Somebody hasn’t managed to earn the respect of Oolong’s security head yet—it doesn’t look like he’s in any danger of taking over the world any time soon, as he boasts to General Immortus.
Mostly, you get a lot of action in this title’s series finale, though only parts of it offer much excitement: Cliff diving into Animal-Vegetable-Mineral Man’s head and pulling a root to short him out is pretty good times). But by and large, the blandness of the battle reminds you what little firepower the Patrol really has. If not for Danny the Island’s (a big promotion from his “the Street” days) interference, the Patrol probably would never have pulled this off.
The lack of coherent storyline underscores what little direction the Doom Patrol’s had. There’s never been a sign that Giffen had any larger plans for these characters other than to have them muddle through arc after arc for as long as possible. This issue also highlights how barely the supporting cast has been fleshed out, as you run into multiple characters whose names you can’t even remember, let alone their personalities.
Giffen manages to inject just the dimmest spark of energy in the final pages’ metafictional asides (“How many copies per month? No. No. I can see their point, but…I’m sorry, I have no idea what a ‘Didio’ is.”), using them to let the Patrol scrape by with a victory. He also can’t help sneaking in a little hint as to the likely culprit that made the title cross the line into cancellation: “Flash-what?” Though I think we can all see Flashpoint is hardly the central problem here.
Randall’s art has always veered somewhere between serviceable and imaginative. His character designs look pretty good, but his execution comes out stiff and lifeless. For some reason, he can’t give a strong sense of depth to his panels, so everything tends to look a bit flat, obviously “drawn.” It’s not terrible art, just the uninspired stuff DC’s somewhat infamous for.
Conclusion: A fitting, anticlimactic fade-out for the world’s undeniably weirdest and undersold team. At least you can say they went out like heroes—sort of.
– Minhquan Nguyen
Some Musings: – I’m starting to think Bumblebee serves no purpose to this team except to produce jokes about suffocating her in purses and Ziploc bag—a grim fate for any character.