Thursday, 5 August 2010

Doom Patrol #13 review

One of writer Keith Giffen's aims with this book has been to give the readers something new every month - a character, a concept, a fresh take on the DC Universe ... last issue he outdid himself with the revelation of Elasti-Woman's true nature. She's sentient Silly Putty.

I never saw that one coming. This month we learn how that came to be, as Giffen reconciles the appearances of Rita Farr in the Doom Patrol's various incarnations without having to retcon anything. The story makes perfect sense, but more, it makes for a tremendously entertaining issue of one of the most underrated superhero comics out there. Horror, humour, honour, hubris - this one, as they used to say, has it all.

The facts of Rita's second life are upsetting, shocking, such as having to will herself into shape every morning. But in presenting them, Giffen gives us the best look at Rita, inside and out, I've seen. He also shines light on team-mates Robotman and Negative Man. Also playing important parts this issue are the ever-manipulative Chief and Rita's ex-husband, psychic stalker Steve Dayton. There's even room for the little-seen Bumblebee to show there's more to her these days than self-pity as she acts as Rita's listening ear and finds herself starting to move forward with her own life.

The cover, by illustrator Matthew Clark and colourist Guy Major, is a beautiful, cleverly composed summation of Rita's plight. The interior art is equally commendable, with Ron Randall joining Clark on pencils, John Livesay inking sharply, Major colouring and Pat Brosseau lettering. Whether we're in the past or present, watching something happen or having it related via diaries, the storytelling is crystal clear and attractive.

There's no real fighting in 'I'm still Rita' but emotional punches aplenty, and it's fair to say that a situation which could have merited a 22pp wallow sees Rita emerge a bigger hero than ever.

Mind, there's a heckuva cliffhanger ...

5 comments:

  1. I find the Giffen scripted books to be heavy handed, too much dialogue. Maybe I should give this another try as I love the Doom Patrol. (like I need another comic to buy) I want Giffen drawing in that old Dr. Fate/"Legion-5 years later" style and not scripting books. Nostalgia speaking again? No, it's just what he is best at.Or was best at.

    ReplyDelete
  2. It depends on the project as to whether I enjoy a Giffen book - I could never get into Suicide Squad, for one, the often unattributed dialogue made the whole thing too much like hard work.

    But I always admire the intelligence, Giffen strives to be fresh, and plays well with others in DC's toybox.

    Please, try this issue!

    And yessiree, I'd love to see some Dr Fate-like Giffen - where is Larry Mahlstedt these days?

    ReplyDelete
  3. I did enjoy this issue just like mostly everyone did. My only problem is still Giffen's take on Mento. After reading I was little confused on weather Rita is a clone of the original or is she the original just made with a new body?

    ReplyDelete
  4. It's nice to see someone speaking up for Mento! I'm giving the original Steve the benefit of the doubt, and assuming that his helmet messed him up somewhat.

    As for Rita, I'd say new body grown around old, with her memories and consciousness somehow being attached to the bit of brain she was regrown from.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I'm a Mento fan for sure, I just wish Giffen would make clear on why or when did he not need to use his helmet anymore. He needs more face time in this book. Mento use to be confident, and a genius at that. Theres so much he could done with this character, lots of potential waiting to be used.

    ReplyDelete