In the immortal words of Strong Bad, “It’s over!” Keith Giffen’s run as the writer of “Doom Patrol” comes to an end with more of a whimper than a bang, but given that a bang is how the first volume of “Doom Patrol” ended, I much prefer the whimper. At least for now.
Unfortunately this series ends as it began – without mention of Matthew Clark. I’ve typed it before, I’ll type it again: Ron Randall is a competent, even very good artist, but his style is so far removed from Clark’s that it is jarring when the two styles are juxtaposed. Clark redesigned the characters of the Doom Patrol and made them stylistically unique, establishing new looks that set the tone for each character while remaining true to the characters themselves. That said, Randall’s characters are a little too homogenous in comparison. His Crazy Jane looks like she might well be the long-lost twin sister of Dusty Marlow.
This book bids a hasty adieu to the storylines that are in progress, offering little closure to the fates of the characters, thereby creating the whimper of the ending. In any other book save “Doom Patrol” or “Looney Tunes,” this ending would be deemed a misfired attempt at humor and irony. For the Doom Patrol, this end simply works. It’s another notch in the legacy of the DP, although this particular issue isn’t a very memorable one.
To the bitter end of this book, Giffen attempts to put his own stamp on the Doom Patrol. Ambush Bug, therefore, gets more panel time in this issue than in any of the previous and in doing so has a delightful exchange with Veronica Cale/ Mr. Somebody that takes some shots at the current goings-on with the DC Implosion of 2011. Bug also has a fun method for dealing with the Front Men while enjoying his moment in the spotlight.
The conclusion to this issue leaves the barn door open, hoping that the horses someday return. I find that to be quite disappointing. Giffen, Clark, and Randall worked extremely hard to get these characters to where they are now, but never really had a chance to celebrate the entire team – the entire legacy – of the Doom Patrol in a proper manner. This book ends with promise and potential left on the shelf and in the mind of Keith Giffen. I just hope that when “Flashpoint” ends, the Doom Patrol is somewhere to be seen again.