writers: John Byrne and Chris Claremont
artists: John Byrne and Jerry Ordway
For those completely upset about The Doom Patrol making
their "debut" in modern continuity, you can pretend that
this story is actually a "lost" Justice League adventure.
There's no better way to explain how, even though it's the
modern line-up, the members of the League seem to have no
clue how they each operate.
Granted, in Manitou Raven's case, it's understandable.
Nobody has yet figured out how to use the guy, so Byrne
and Claremont can be forgiven for shuffling him off to the
side as quickly as possible. The same goes for Faith, a
character sort of dumped into the mix by Joe Kelly without
really getting established. It's quite possible that Kelly
could go to his grave being the only guy that knows for
sure just what Faith can do.
But master tactician Batman should not be surprised at
the Martian Manhunter disguising himself as another key
player to throw Crucifer off the scent. Nor should he be
chiding The Flash for being inexperienced as a superhero.
Let's face it. This historic reunion of the Claremont/Byrne
creative team was only nominally for fans. On one level,
it could possibly have brought readers back into stores.
On another, the story was meant to simply bring in new readers.
But did it have to read like an above-average episode of
Not that that series would have had vampires, but still…
Claremont's characterizations are light and breezy at
best, devoid of almost all the development that has gone
on in this book. It's not just a throwback to his glory
days on X-Men, but to the days of 100-Page Giants.
Wonder Woman speaks and acts very formally toward her comrades.
Superman is somewhat aloof. The Atom is as insecure as the
story needs him to be. (It's the only way to justify bringing
Rita Farr in to save the day.)
It's editorial mandate, I suppose, to position The Doom
Patrol as a cool team. Hey, they are. But they're not a
team so powerful that the Justice League actually needs
their help. So the whole storyline has a false premise,
though they sort of redeem it by creating a junior Doom
Patrol that had gotten wind of Crucifer's plans before the
League did. (Any resemblance to the New Mutants is strictly
In truth, if not for the forcing Rita into the climax,
the Doom Patrol could have easily been replaced by …just
some guys. Except the Doom Patrol is getting their own book
in a month, overtly sold by the cliffhanger ending of this
issue and a couple of dangling plot threads. At least, we
must hope they are purposely dangling to be picked up by
The Doom Patrol #1, or that's simply bad writing.
The art, however, has been terrific. Byrne and Ordway
really are a classic artistic team, and it has been great
to see them back on a certain Kryptonian - and that brings
me to another gripe about the plotline. Superman shouldn't
be able to be put under a vampire's sway via bite because
his blood is charged with solar energy. Heck, Jeph Loeb
used that as a plot device a few years ago.
Argh. Let's leave it at this: "The Tenth Circle" plotline
is just the sort of thing you can hand to a ten-year-old,
and he'll be excited to see all these different heroes fighting
vampires. It's cool. But for the rest of us, it was just
time-killer instead of being the historic moment it was
promised to be.
And yet I'll still buy The Doom Patrol.