My Favorite Doom.

Since their debut in My Greatest Adventure # 80, The Doom Patrol has been through so many incarnations it’s almost impossible to keep them straight.

At this point, I don’t know if most fans even bother to try. I think the common consensus is that the original run was weird but good, and then nothing worthwhile happened ended until Morrison’s reboot. Which is a shame. Especially because the run that Morrison took over actually started off strong.

With 70s line up creator Paul Kupperberg on scripts, and the always awesome Steve Lightle on art, the first five issues of the 1987 relaunch are my favorite Doom Patrol run, hands down. Sure, it leaned a little closer to traditional superheroics than previous (and future) adventures, but still, when your first villain is a guy with a portal to some sort of demonic hell in his chest, who was trying to bring about Kali Yuga, you’re doing something right. In my book anyways.

After the first 3 issues, things slowed down considerably, as Kupperberg introduced new characters and set things up for the future (mostly revolving around whether or not original Doom Patrol founder The Chief was actually dead).

(Tangent time… see that glowing redhead? That’s Lodestone. She gained electromagnetic powers via scientific experiment mishap, Peter Parker style. Morrison had her turn out to be some sort of butterfly avatar in tune with the earth’s magnetic field. Seriously. And people wonder why I’m not as high on his run as everyone else seems to be.)

Sadly, Lightle left the series with issue 5, and the art chores were turned over to Erik Larsen. And while I’m a fan of Larsen, I wasn’t a fan of Larsen on Doom Patrol. The late 80s were an era when Larsen’s sketchy style was exceptionally sketchy looking, especially when compared to the super detailed Lightle pencils the preceded them.

I mean, Animal-Vegetable-Mineral Man is awesome and everything, but Lodestone and Negative Woman kind of look like Fred Hembeck drew them. Not really feeling it.

Kupperberg was still hanging in there, but the book got more and more X-men-ish (ironic given that the Doom Patrol has long been rumored to be where Stan Lee stole the idea from), and I lost interest. Apparently, so did a lot of other people, because the majority of Kupperberg’s creations were killed off, and the reins were passed to Morrison with issue 19.

Still, first five issues from at artistic standpoint alone… solid gold.

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