It’s been awhile but Takashi is back from the future and we’re ready to go forward… er, backwards to the infamous 1988!!!
In 1988 Grant Morrison was asked to take over the writing on DC’s DOOM PATROL. I found Morrison during the last run of THE INVISIBLES and as the Doom stuff has taken a loooong time to be completely traded it wasn’t until a couple years ago that I started reading them. My good friend and comic dealer Mike just sent me the 6th and final volume as a gift (You fucking rule Mike!!!) and this morning amidst a gallon of coffee and a couple of doughnuts out of a pink box I finished the series. So here’s my take.
Of course anyone who knows me would expect no less. I love Morrison’s writing, especially the stuff from this era that culminates with his aforementioned masterpiece THE INVISIBLES. This earlier stuff is bit rawer, and to some degree the criticism that he was constantly wearing his influences on his sleeve is there to a small degree (but who cares?) compared to the super confident architect of the new DC Universe whose writing has congealed into a perfect amalgam of his influences and his imagination. But within the rawness of late 80’s/early 90’s Morrison is a level of insanity not seen in comics before – a mixture of the horrorific, the super hero and the absurd that twists the readers mind and makes them cry out repeatedly in joyful exasperation. Throw Burroughsian cut-up divination, Dadist surrealistic assault and schizophrenic superpowers over the top of a group of people who are really kind of sad and fucked up* and you start to get an idea of the scope here. Scissormen from a self-referring text set to infect the world, Men from N.O.W.H.E.R.E., Sugar tongs with extra dimensional powers – it’s like all of the weird Occult and Surrealistic research Morrison later streamlined into King Mob and the gang received a first pass here in a book that, while it’s busy being weird and absurd, also thrives on being deadly. The end result is Morrison and crew turn the Superhero genre into a send up of itself that is at times hilarious, thought-provoking, spooky, and in the end, sad as hell. T
And as an added bonus the very last reprint in the final volume is a hilarious one shot entitled DOOM FORCE where Richard Case, Steve Pugh, Walter Simonson and a whole host of other artists perform a vibrant mockery of the popular stock of the day – Rob ‘Can’t Draw Feet’ Liefield and his huge guns/huge arms/huge breasts style of sensationalist crap.** Like that rabid serial tiger says, ‘It’s GREEEEE-AAAT!!!’
* People always say, ‘Oh, Bruce Wayne is one fucked up dude.’ Wrong. The teenage girl who has the face of an ape or the hermaphrodadic (word?) living embodiment of the Rosicrucian Chymical Marriage are the really fucked up people. Bruce Wayne is a good-looking millionaire who, to some degree, perpetuates his own problems and thus, is really only interesting in short controlled bursts. In my opinion that is.
** Okay, skeleton in my closet, whether it’s nostalgia or not I have fond memories of most of the storylines that ran through Liefeld’s X-Force. I’m not saying they’re great, but they entertained the hell out of me as a young lad and they weren’t too bad when I re-read them recently. However, that art has to go. It’s like watching Transformers the animated movie – great flick but the ‘You’ve got the touch’ bullshit hair rock soundtrack has GOT to go.