DC Universe’s original offerings expand once more with cult favorite, Doom Patrol.
The heroes of the DCU have an undeserved reputation of lacking edge. While it is a bit ridiculous, especially when considering how edgy some of Batman’s villains are, the origins of this are pretty obvious. Heading into the Sixities, DC had become the standard in Superhero comics. Marvel was able to take advantage of this and exploit a more contemporary image. It’s really Coke and Pepsi, but Stan Lee was a genius at making it look like something much more significant. DC began to strike back with The Doom Patrol.
The Legion of the Strange
DC was able to tap into the counter-culture of the Sixties fairly early, launching the team in 1963 in My Greatest Adventure. With Arnold Drake, Bob Haney and Bruno Premiani beating the strikingly similar X-Men to the spin racks by a few months (Kevin Melrose does a great job summarizing this here), The Doom Patrol were innovative even in their earliest appearances. For five years, the team would battle the likes of The Brotherhood of Evil, Animal-Vegetable-Mineral Man and General Immortus. Though never the most popular book on the racks, The Doom Patrol had their devotees. When the book ended, it did so by doing something which, to this day, is fairly unheard of: killing most of the principle cast.
Crawling from the Wreckage
I could get into the specifics here, but I’d rather not. Part of the joy of Doom Patrol storytelling is not knowing what you’re in for next. Each time a new writer has come on to the title, they have re-invented the book, while retaining some of the popular elements of the past. This is no better represented than in Grant Morrison’s mind-bending run on the title, which dove into concepts like Dadaism and dissociative identity disorder. Whether it be Paul Kupperberg, Grant Morrison, Gerard Way or one of the other fantastic writers who picked up the story, Doom Patrol is notable for its constantly shifting team, themes and tones. The concept is as versatile as any other and has proven it over the past five decades.
Not Quite Heroes
DC Universe‘s Doom Patrol builds off of the momentum of Titans, and takes things in a brand-new direction. Sharing a loose continuity with Titans, Doom Patrol also utilizes world where superheroes are long established. However, none of the residents of Caulder’s home are these heroes.
Not at first, anyway.
The insertion of Cyborg first seems to be an odd choice. A major player in the comic book DCU, Cyborg even made the big screen in Justice League. Here, Cyborg is a little less important, but is the superhero we know and love and is seeking his membership in the League. He joins the not truly formed Doom Patrol because…well, you’ll see.
But what I will talk about is the role he takes on.
Cyborg becomes one of the most important characters in the series as he struggles with his teammates and tries to make them into heroes. In many ways and by simply being a bit more reasonable, Cyborg becomes the voice of the audience.
Doom Patrol is a show filled with insanity, sex and violence. To an extent only rivaled by the Deadpool films and their shared origins are no coincidence. It pushes the platform from the near “R” rated Titans into straight-up, adults only territory. Doom Patrol is a show made by comic fans, for comic fans.
I can’t wait to see Swamp Thing.