Eight issues into this incarnation of the "Doom Patrol," a whole new direction is launched! OK, well it's not a totally brand new direction, but it sure feels like it, especially without the Metal Men backup. Giffen promised to introduce a new character or concept per issue throughout the first year (at least) on "Doom Patrol," and so far, he's a man of his word. This issue gives us a closer look at Jane (formerly and still Crazy after all these years) and her favorite brick. The brick, naturally, happens to be sought after by an invading force. That invading force brings in a sniffer, which gives the DP a rather difficult time.
This issue hits the gas, and really doesn't let up, which is both a detriment and a reason for celebration. The detrimental aspect of it is that there are parts that are clearly explained behind the scenes (between Giffen and artists) but not made evident to the reader. It's not so much that Giffen is giving us a mystery in some instances, as it seems like he might be leaving things out -- intentionally or not. The upside is that this issue doesn't waste any time standing around jawing. The characters react to the situation and plunge headlong into trouble.
Giffen continues to build upon select pieces of the Doom Patrol's history, grabbing bits from here and there. This issue is more action-packed, but with weird action. After all, the invaders have blueprints on them. There is also a spectacular tip of the hat, wink and nod to fans of the Doom Patrol with the sole technical excerpt in this issue being a reference derived from a Dr. G. Morrison.
The art is held together nicely by Livesay. Matthew Clark required an assist on this issue, so Ron Randall was brought in, which is akin to mixing Norman Rockwell with Salvador Dali. Both are good, but they're not really comparable beyond ability. With that in place, it falls to Livesay to make the characters coherent throughout the book. Luckily for him, Randall's pages tend to be more straightforward. The end result is a steady read, just not the most visually exciting issue of this run of "Doom Patrol." I look forward to seeing Clark take on an entire issue again. It would help the book, and it would certainly help Clark, who needs to set a comfort level for himself. His work is better when there's more of it.
Guy Major does a great job with the colors, making highlights shine as only Guy Major can. Between the portals, invaders, explosions, and Doom Patrol, there's no shortage of color range here which also helps hold the art together.
The rest of this issue is filled with Negative Man's paranoia (he thinks he's being stalked by a pelican), a wrap-up of "Blackest Night," and some time between Father Rocky and Jane. I didn't think the book felt thin, until I re-read it. It's not thin, it's just not carrying a second feature any longer. Without truly spoiling anything, the next issue teaser contains an image certain to make fans of Giffen's work anxious for "Doom Patrol" #9.