‘Doom Patrol: Planet Love’ Review

Andrew Wheeler

Andrew Wheeler spent 16 years as a book club editor, most notably for the Science Fiction Book Club, and has been a judge for the 2005 World Fantasy Awards and the 2009 Eisner Awards. He is now Marketing Manager for John Wiley & Sons.

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9 Responses

  1. Vinnie Bartilucci says:

    Morrison created one fo the first openly gay couples in the DCU, Monsieur Mallah and the The Brain of the Brotherhood of Evil. They were just killed off in Salvation Run. So that's a hint as to how the DCU has been progressing since Grant came along…

  2. Russ Rogers says:

    I owned the first issues of Doom Patrol that Grant Morrison started writing (I think he began around #19, "Crawling From the Wreckage." (That was a good Dave Edmunds song!) They were strange, weird and wonderful stories. I remember trading those issues with a friend for the first five or ten issues of "Sandman." I'm not sure who got the better of that deal.The first two years of Animal Man were also a treat. It was an amazing example of "Meta-fiction," where the author puts himself and the creative process at the heart of the fictional story they are telling. I heard Stephen King did this with the last book "Dark Tower" series, wrote himself into the story. Shh, don't tell me how that ends. I'm still bogged down reading book six. One of those books I've meant to pick up again for years now. Oh well.Who here remembers Marv Wolfman and Cary Bates' experiments with Meta-fiction and comics? There were some OK Flash stories and a TERRIBLE Justice League story line. At one point they KILLED the entire Justice League. Oof! Then the Specter had to ask GOD for divine intervention and … holy deus ex machina, Batman!Doom Patrol also had elements of Meta-Fiction. I remember the team diving into paintings to save all of existence. The implication being, that if the heroes of the book had to dive into art to save all of everything, well then, diving into a comic book must be pretty important. There was that idea that the STORY could actually take on a life of it's own. This was similar to "Sandman." In a way the story became a story about stories. Maybe that kind of recursive/M.C. Escher/Ouroboros existential-head trip type of writing was a fad of the early nineties.

  3. Richard Pachter says:

    This was one of several attempts at reviving this series, as I recall, beginning in Showcase by Paul Kupperberg and Joe Staton, and the run that preceded Grant's by Kupperberg, Steve Lightle and then Erik Larsen. After Morrison, there was Rachel Pollack's run followed by several other attempts including one by John Byrne which involved a reboot and/or retcon, though my ignorqance of the specifics is apparent.

    • Vinnie Bartilucci says:

      Rachael Pollack's run was, like Nancy Collins' run on Swamp Thing, an attempt to keep the weirdness/goodness factor of the books high, but ultimately came off as "last guy-lite".Doug Mankhe's run just before Byrne was kind of lost in the shuffle, but had its moments. Byrne's try was pretty good all told, but the Infinite Crisis "All stories really happened" concept crammed in at the end left a sour taste in the mouth.The DP was revamped again to a degree in Teen Titans recently. They were played much more as a dysfunctional family, with the Chief playing on their weaknesses to keep them emotional basket cases who would stay with him out of fear of their inability to survive in the real world with such freakish aberrations. A neat idea, but a far more sinister Chief than I cared for. That was pulled back a bit when they appeared last year in Brave and the Bold. I like the idea of the team being a support group for each other with the Chief at the helm, but not as such a passive-agressive manipulator as was suggested in Teen Titans. They'd be the ones to invenstigate the "science gone goofy" types of events, like the sort of things that are becoming commonplace in All New Atom's Ivy Town. Used in small doses, a great addition to the DCU; as a monthly book, it's been proven you run out of things to say.

      • Richard Pachter says:

        Yeah, I remember Marv trying to bring them in to the Titans circle back in the day.And you're dead-on re: the parallel with Collins' Swamp Thing run.As much as I enjoy (most of) Grant's later stuff, his early DC work …along with Zenith… are my favorites.(Wonder if Richard Case and Chas Truog are drinking buddies.)

  4. Richard Pachter says:

    A new word: ignorqance, meaning "stupidity, as manifested in thick thumbs."

  5. Andrew Collins says:

    Thankfully, I was there when Morrison's DP was coming out and it's the main reason why I am still such a big comic book fan to this day. I discovered it when Simon Bisley's cover for issue #37 just grabbed me one day on the spinner rack and would not let go. I was hooked on this strange, eerie, wonderful comic that was the anathema to all the X and Bat-books on the stand at the time. This was around the time I was discovering all the pre-Vertigo Vertigo books like Sandman and Shade, but DP was easily my favorite. I can't believe it took DC this long to get the whole series in trade. My only minor gripe is that they didn't include Morrison's recap page from issue #37 and his essay that ran in the back of issue #20, where he explained his goals for the series, and his influences such as the stop-motion films of Jan Svankmajer and the Truddi Chase biography, "When Rabbit Howls" (the inspiration for Crazy Jane, still my all time favorite DC character.)As for the ending to this trade, issue #63 was perfect. It gave a wonderful sense of closure to the whole run of the book and as far as I'm concerned, that's where Doom Patrol ended and stayed. (I tried Pollack's run for awhile, as well as the later Arcudi series, but both just seemed poor imitations…)Now if only DC would get off their duff and give us that Flex Mentallo trade…

  6. Tom Fitzpatrick says:

    I'd sell my soul to see a second volume run by Morrison and Case.

  7. Mark Parsons says:

    I have to disagree with the readability/appeal idea in the final para. Morrison's reputation and popularity has only grown since 1990. The general audience for DP is the same as way back when: people looking or something a little different (i.e. Vertigo) genre-wise. As Alan Moore stated (paraphrase) " There are hundreds of comics about people hitting each other out there. There is one (Promethea) about magic and philosophy. I think that's ok." The same can be said for DOOM PATROL's loopiness, surreality, parody and philospohy, no matter how "wordy" it may seem. That mix will still have appeal to teens and 20somethings in search of alternatives to mainstream culture, which was probably the case when Vertigo was just blasting off.As a post script, I want to say how much I have enjoyed the DOOM PATROL Archives. Morrison frequently hailed Drake's series for being ahead of its time, bizarre, camp, mad, etc, so it has been an amazing experience finally finding that out for myself.