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Review Group Doom Patrol #1

Written by John Martin on Tuesday, August 11 2009 and posted in Reviews
thefourthman had the pick for new comics shipping August 5th and he foolishly put it up for a vote and the masses selected Doom Patrol #1 by Keith Giffen and Matthew Clark with Metal Men backup by  J.M. DeMatteis, Keith Giffen and Kevin Maguire.



The Review Group is a collection of posters who get together and review a new comic each week that we each take turns selecting. Our threads can be found in The Outhouse’s Newstand forum and is open for anyone and everyone to participate in.

The Review Group had quite a lot to say about this week's book, but couldn't quite help itself from once again devolving into eBay shop talk.  The scary thing?  The eBay talk was almost more entertaining than Doom Patrol.

Review by Chubbles

Ok so I didn't enjoy this book at all. I've never read any of the old Doom Patrol that so many people speak so highly of so the nostalgia effect was nil for me and I feel that hurt this book even more. The writing was fine and the art was nice enough, but nothing happened that was suspenseful, interesting or cool. It was just a bunch of people talking about different shit. They invaded this base for some reason and then they run away shortly thereafter. No one seemed to even care that one of their group was killed. There was nothing in this book that makes me feel like I need to get issue 2 to see how things turn out. I frankly just didn't care. I like Giffen, Annihilation is maybe my favorite 'event' of all time, so for that event alone he's ok in my book, but this book was just to my liking.

Story 5
Art 5
Interest factor 1

Overall 3.75

Review by Zechs

Read this book on a whim. Only thing I know of Doom Patrol is of their appearance in the Teen Titans tv show. That and their villains ie the Brotherhood of Evil given their appearances in Batgirl and Teen Titans. So with that said honestly the book was average I mean the dialogue and art where there but there wasn't much anything else.

No real good answer as to why they're raiding this base? Nor much care for the team member who bites it and I'm still doing a double take just how she died as well. Still the thing that saved this book for me was the Metal Men. Now that book again I have no clue though this time its merger it had with Marvel and it was Magneto. Awesome pair of books those where.

Anyway, a fun issue with some witty banter and art. Even though it suffers from the same problems as Doom Patrol did with jumping right into the action it's still better. Honestly giant wooden monster is so much easier than a girl who just suddenly strips from her clothes and skin to reveal she's an android (which like the bandage dude remarked was kinda hot). So out of ten I give the book:

Writing: 4 (MM) 7
Art: 7 (MM) 8
Overall: 6 (MM) 7

Metal Men was just more entertaining to me the new reader than just Doom Patrol.

Review by House of J

Where to start. And does it matter?

At the beginning. The new logo with the lower-case d and the upper-case P is cheap looking and I notice whatever the little glowing disks with it are, Cliff isn't wearing one on page 2 or 3 but one appears on him on page 4. The editor in me will never die.

So, this is a continuation of the DP from Geoff John's TT, which was an extension of Byrne's awful reintroduction of them into the modern DCU with further alterations in their history due to the Superboy Punch Effect. Which means we are off to a bad start, as I am supposed to believe Rita is a clone grown from protein cells on her skull following her death in DP V1, and all the other DP incarnations are sort of in continuity, sort of not. It's the Superboy Punch Effect, what are you going to do?

Which also means Cliff should have his world-weary heart and soul back, and not just be a snappy robot with a bad temper. But that's the number one reason this Patrol fails in this first issue. They are horribly unpleasant people. They aren't tragic figures who mask their inner turmoil by acting glib, or cranky--they are special ops jerks whose cold outer personas barely hide what assholes they are. Even the Chief, whose files I'm referring to here, admits to caring nothing for the members of the Patrol and considers the members dissolution an asset. This isn't the family of misfits Arnold Drake created who were reinserted into continuity via the Magic Punch, this is like Grant Morrison's final turn on the Chief taken to a dry, bureaucratic extreme. The Chief has a Bluetooth in his ear, and is wearing a turtleneck and vest--this isn't even my Chief.

I don't know who this churchy guy in the Hawaiian shirt is either, or why Niles would consider him an asset at all. After a couple of Byrne's lousier creations are dispatched, the rest of the Patrol is shown to be uncaring and cold to the extreme. This definitely isn't the Patrol I know. And I wonder, with Nudge's body shot to hell and a semi-intelligent Gorilla, if we aren't seeing what Giffen intends to be the beginnings of a few Brotherhood of Evil.

Much of this issue is taken up with emails, transmissions, laptops, etc. It is truly sad how cheap Super-Science has become in this modern age of wonders. So boring and unimaginative. I'm not even going to bother mentioning Bumblebee living in the dollhouse.

The great runs of Doom Patrol captured the zeitgeist of their times--for me, those are Drake's initial run in the '60s, and Grant Morrison's post-modern '80s meltdown, where the world was going to end any day now anyway, so why couldn't it go out with a surreal art-explosion?

What Giffen crafts here is a soulless Patrol, inserted into the DCU of government-sanctioned special ops and Checkmates. I can't imagine what this has to offer the casual DC reader, or reader looking to pick up a new book.

PS I don't like their uniforms.

I guess they saved all the fun and whimsy for the Metal Men backup--is Giffen's intent to contrast the two? The backup feature is sort of fun but it can't make up for the feature I just read, or Cliff's surfer shorts.


Review by Kerny

I don't know the characters, and after this I don't want to take the time to.

I know Giffen does comedy well, but to me, this read as every character being a sarcastic asshole. And hey I love these types, Guy Gardner, Batman when his Bat-Dickness level is high, but a whole team of this? Nah. The robot guy seems like Bender from Futurama to me. Again, don't know the characters, so it's possible the robot dude could have been a major influence on Bender, so IDK

Naturally, I was liking the gorilla, so they kill him off Mad

I don't think this issue was very n00b friendly either, which usually I don't have a problem with as I can pick up on things, but I honestly don't know what’s going on here.

The art....not to my liking. It's 90ish to me, but not that bad, as he does proportions and backgrounds and everything else Liefeld does not. I guess I just don't like his actual character designs,

Story 3
Art 4

I won't be reading any more of this series.

Review by 48THRiLLS

Holy crap! This comic was a piece of shit! Maybe my least favorite comic we have reviewed... I seriously had to force myself to finish it, even the almost mildly entertaining Metal Men back-up could not save this turd. I am not familiar with Doom Patrol at all, maybe if I was I would have enjoyed this even a little but for a first issue this thing was all over the place. From the way the characters were introduced sporadically halfway through the book to the anti-climatic ending that had me scratching my head... isn't there usually a hook at the end of a comic that makes you want to buy the next issue? I thought I would enjoy the Metal Men back-up since the title book was bad but no, Metal Men sucked too. I hated this comic, even the art was sub par... it took me a minute to realize that Elasti-Woman grows, I thought it was just badly proportioned angles and it took me until the helicopter frame to figure out that the black shadowy thing came from the Mummy looking guy... wow.

ART - 3

Review by thefourthman

So Doom Patrol got a nice vicious review from me, I actually suggest in the review that Metal Men become the main title and the snore fest become the back up. I will link when live and all that jazz.

As for score

Doom Patrol
Story 2
Art 6
Overall 4

Metal Men
Story 8
Art 8
Overall 8

Score overall 5 (Metal Men can't count as much, because it is not the marquee story and is significantly shorter)

For thefourthman's full review, go here:

Review by starlord

I want to like this, but it just didn't happen. I like many of the past incarnations of Doom Patrol (minus Grant's that is) and I'm a big fan of Keith Giffen from JLI all the way up to Hero Squared.

The problem I had with this is that there was nothing here to grab on to. Nothing made me want to come back for more. It all seemed kind of bland, dialogue and story both. I understand that Mr. Giffen probably doesn't like the idea of being considered the BWAHAHAHA Guy for his whole life, but he should have taken a look at what he did in the backup feature with the Metal Men and used it as his guide.

Metal Men was fun, each character was well defined, and it left me wanting more. Perhaps he needs to reverse the order on this book, because I'm thinking he "gets" the Metal's and seems a bit unsteady on his feet when it comes to Niles and the team.

It was nice to see Bumblebee again, however, and the art was solid. Bottom line for me, Metal Men excellent, Doom Patrol is a major MEH.

Story: 4
Art: 7.50
My Score: 5.25

Review by MrBlack

While I certainly realize that this was a "set-up" issue, I was disappointed that more did not happen in the first issue of Doom Patrol. We get an attack on an installation on Oolong Island, the purpose of which is left unknown to the reader, and a member of the team that nobody but John Byrne cares about dies. A bit of psychoanalysis of the team, all of whom are tightly wound up in emotional cocoons, and a bit of time with the Chief. All of this sounds like a good story, but it just falls flat. Rita and Larry come off as completely disconnected, and while Cliff comes off as a bit more heroic than his teammates, he does not get enough page time to connect with the reader.

If anything, the moments with the Chief are the most interesting part of the issue. From the outset, he re-establishes himself as an uncaring leader who only seeks to use the team to further his own ends. While this was certainly a great concept during the Morrison-era book, the reveal there came at the end of his run. Having the Chief begin as an unapologetic manipulator just may not be viable in the long run. The high point of the issue is the ending, where we get a sneak peak at the team's next mission: a sentient black hole that wants to negotiate terms with the planet Earth. That may actually be enough to get me to pick up the next issue.

On the upside, the Metal Men backup was excellent. The Giffen/DeMatteis/Maguire team is in fine form, and they manage to introduce all of the characters, give them distinct personalities, and tell a nice little story all in a few panels. Giffen always works better when he's teamed with a co-writer, and it shows between the main feature and the backup.

Artwise, Matthew Clark puts in a decent job on art in the main feature. Some of his panels are excellent, although others suffer for lack of detail (how many arms is Nudge supposed to have anyway?). He does faces very well, and his overall style reminds me a little of Phil Jimenez, but messier. Not bad at all, but not outstanding. The Metal Men backup is another story, and Maguire knocks it out of the park. Great action panels, expressive faces, and pitch perfect comedy.

This is a tough call for me. The main story was lacking in a lot of ways, and while it shows some promise it may not be enough to get me to buy issue two. On the other hand, the backup was fantastic. I may stick around for one more issue to see if the story picks up, and I would encourage Doom Patrol fans to do the same. If you're a big JLI fan, it's definitely a must buy for the backup alone.

For my overall score, I will give the main story more weight over the backup.

Story: 6 (DP=5; MM=9)
Art: 6 (DP =5; MM=9)
Overall: 6

Review by Punchy

Story - DC Comics in the Silver Age was a strange place, Batman traveled through time and wore Pink, Superman was a dick to everyone, and Gorillas were everywhere. But probably the strangest 2 properties DC published at the time were the Doom Patrol and the Metal Men, I've posted some covers and other images in the thread, and they're mad, bloody mad, in the best possible way. But since then DC has kind of held back on the Madness, Batman never wears pink anymore and Superman is deadly serious, and some of the kookier concepts (koncepts?) in DC's stable haven't really fit into the new tone of the DCU, Grant Morrison succeeded in his Vertigo Doom Patrol book by going even crazier, but any other attempts to fit these 2 ideas within the current Rapetastic DCU haven't really worked. So it's up to Keith Giffen to attempt to re-ignite both teams, and on the whole, he succeeds. Moreso with the comedy take on the Metal Men (thanks to a reteaming of his JLI compadres JM DeMatteis and Kevin Maguire), but both strips hold a lot of promise for me.

The Doom Patrol story is mainly set-up really, Giffen dispenses with some of John Byrne's stupid ideas, we are introduced to our main characters, to their new Base of Operations, and a new threat is introduced, it's all fairly standard stuff, but there's enough of a Doom Patrol twist to make this stand out from every other team book out there. There's a dark humour here, a cynical edge, and while it's not the same off the wall madness Arnold Drake would deal with, it's interesting. Giffen's humour shines through, he's dissing Nudge and Grunt even before he kills them, and each character has a dark edge, and a flippantness about the nature of heroism. Too often in DC books, heroes are too happy, and too well-adjusted, everyone is buddy-buddy and cries at each others funerals, not so the Doom Patrol, they know the score, and it's quite refreshing. Giffen uses an interesting device to introduce us to our 'heroes', by having Rocky Davis (from the Challengers of the Unknown, another Silver Age square peg that's never quite fitted into the modern DC's round hole), who is now a Priest and superhero counselor interview each Patrol-member. I found it interesting how confrontational each team-member was, this is not what I expect from a DC team book! I'm not familiar with past DP incarnations so I don't know how accurate the characterization was, but it was good enough for me. I should also say how much I love the idea of the team operating out of Oolong Island, this Island of mad scientists was one of my favourite concepts to come out of 52, and I'm glad someone is playing with it, and hopefully the array of crazy super-science based on the Island will provide plenty off crazy threats for the Doom Patrol to deal with.

Giffen also plays with some other storytelling devices, using epistolary pieces like emails and computer reports to fill in details, and while this isn't totally successful (often it was quite difficult to read), it was interesting, particular in regards to the character of The Chief, where you learn exactly how disdainful he is of his team, and what aspects he's going to exploit in them.

It's not perfect by any means, and while it does have a different edge than much of DC's output, it is perhaps not different enough, the older stories were truly insane, and this is merely surly. But this is only the first step, we are not really used to seeing these characters in a modern milieu, and from the look of the last page, where a scientist who resembles Dan DiDio tells The Chief about a sentient black hole who wishes to negotiate terms... things might be reaching an appropriate level of mad. I'm not sure I'd recommend this whole-heartedly just yet, but if you're a fan of off-beat heroics like Agents of Atlas, you could do worse than check it out. This could be a slow-burner. Giffen has cleared the decks, now let's watch him build.

The Metal Men back-up story was a different kettle of fish altogether, no set-up here, we're straight into the action. I'm a huge fan of the team of Giffen. DeMatteis and Maguire, I read their Justice League run in reprints when I was young, I loved their Formerly Known As... stories, and even their take on The Defenders for Marvel, and this is them on classic form, there's no real plot to speak of, the Metal Men fight a giant Wooden God Idol, but there is plenty of fun to be had. It's only 10 pages, but already all the characters are established as well as several running jokes, such as the team not acknowledging Copper, or Gold being egotistical, or Platinum's love of Doc Magnus. It's just fun, the Metal Men are a great idea, perfect for the Bwa-Ha-Ha trio, I can't wait to see what madness comes up in the future. Even if the Doom Patrol story wasn't quite perfect, this makes up for it, just brilliant.

Art - I've been a fan of Matt Clark ever since his work on Adventures Of Superman with Greg Rucka, prior to Infinite Crisis (that was a damn good run), but he's never really found a project that suited him, or one he's been on for long enough to make his own. I think this might be it. He does great work here, his work on ordinary people is great, and he can draw the weirder stuff like the 4-armed Gorilla, or Robotman, or the woman transforming into a monster well, a good fit for 'The World's Strangest Superheroes', perhaps the best thing was how expressive he made Negative Man, even through the bandages.

Kevin Maguire is the master, there's not much else to say, perfectly suited for comedy. Compliments should also go to Guy Major's colouring, and how it reflected the different materials of each of the Metal Men.

Best Line - From the Metal Men story, 'One Man's delusion - Is another man's destiny!' That just struck me as hilarious. Gold is awesome.

8/10 the score is increased by how awesome the Metal Men story was, on its own, Doom Patrol would have gotten a 6, maybe 7, but the whole package here is just great, and I see the kernels of something great in Giffen's story.

Review by Old Man

I liked Doom Patrol well enough to keep reading it for a while, and the Mental Men (!) backup adds to the value.

I'm not going to review every week, so unofficially, I grade it a 7.

Review by young neil

Doom Patrol - Boring as hell, the one trade I've read from the Morrison run was great. This, I didn't even finish.

Metal Men - Fun. This really brings to light the unfortunate predicament when you like one title and not the other in these DC double features.

DP - 2
Metal Men - 8
Overall - 5

Review by amlah6

Everything I know about Doom Patrol I learned from Mike Allred's issue of Solo. Which is to say, I really don't know much about them at all. After reading this issue I'm pretty much left with the conclusion that they're a self-hating humorless group of miserable fucks that I really don't care to read about especially if boredom is going to be the first item on the menu. The art was equally bland and even confusing in places.

I've never been much of a Metal Men fan, to me they're more silly than funny so in that respect the creative team delivered exactly what I was expecting. The Maguire art was perfect, but I wouldn't want to read much more than 10 pages of this at a time so it's perfect for a backup feature.

DP Story: 1
DP Art: 5
MM Story: 5
MM Art: 9
Overall: 4

Review by SuperginraiX

I couldn't care less about Doom Patrol. I wish I could. They don't seem to be terrible characters and they've got great visuals. Still, every time I've read their adventures, I find them to be incredibly boring. Maybe if I'd read some of Morrison's stuff... but I'm not going out of my way for it at this point.

So what we have here is a story featuring characters that don't intrigue me doing things that don't interest me. Doom Patrol membership has some sort of shelf life now where the peripheral members are red shirts and only Kirk, Spock, and Dr. McCoy are guaranteed to survive. Since this seems to be the central theme? Zzzzzzzzzz.

And the info text that gives us all the important bits about the main characters? Unreadable. Well, nigh unreadable. Too much information in a terrible format. Nice and stylized and completely useless.

The art was actually good. I can give props where props are deserved. The characters look cool and the layouts are great. Panel flow is easy to follow and all that good stuff. I've always been impressed by Matthew Clark.

The highlight of the comic? The Metal Men back up. That thing was awesome. Maybe it reads better after going through the dreck of the main story. All I know is that, if I come back for issue two, it's because of Metal Men. The art was great. The story was fun. The writing was brilliant. This is the classic team of Giffen, DeMatteis, and Maguire and it's as good as ever. I would pick up a comic about Metal Men if this was the team doing it.

As it is, I probably won't be coming back. Doom Patrol isn't worth buying just for nine good pages.

Doom Patrol, you get a 6. That's all thanks to Metal Men, by the way.

That gives Doom Patrol #1 a group score of 5.12.  It would appear that the Review Group loathes the Doom Patrol almost as much as the Doom Patrol loathes themselves.

For further discussion about this issue, feel free to join us in this week's thread ( found in the Newstand forum where you are also invited to join the group by posting your own review.

Punchy has the pick for August 12th, and he has boldly selected Ultimate Comics Avengers #1 from Marvel Comics.  Look for the new thread after it becomes available Wednesday morning to join in on the fun. 

Ultimate Comics Avengers #1

WRITER: Mark Millar
PENCILS: Carlos Pacheco

Guess who’s back!! That’s right, kids, MARK MILLAR (THE ULTIMATES, WOLVERINE: OLD MAN LOGAN) and superstar artist CARLOS PACHECO (AVENGERS FOREVER, X-MEN) blast into the Ultimate Universe for a mind-blowing, heart-pounding and gut-wrenching event of epic proportions! When a highly-classified secret threatens Captain America, only the newly-returned Nick Fury has the tools to bring ‘em in! As the first of a series of blockbuster arcs begins: PROJECT AVENGERS is a go! Parental Advisory …$3.99


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