Monday, March 14, 2011

You'd think superheroes would be a more helpful lot, but nooooo.


You know how in ye olden comics, whenever Spider-Man (or whoever) was in over his head, and he'd try to get the Avengers or the Fantastic Four for help, and they were conveniently out of town? (Because it was Spidey's comic, and he was going to have to man up and deal with the problem himself.)

Yeah, comics don't do that anymore. Now, when the main characters go to other heroes for help, it's so the other heroes can be snarky douchebags and not help, at all, ever. (Again, forcing the main characters to do it alone, which makes sense dramatically.) Case in point: the latest issue of Doom Patrol, #20. "With Friends Like These..." Written by Keith Giffen, with art by Matthew Clark, Ron Randall, Scott Clark, Jose Luis, Scott McDaniel, Art Thibert, John Livesay, and Dave Beaty.

Deported from their base on Oolong Island (home of a ton of the DCU's mad scientists) and blacklisted as possible terrorists; the Doom Patrol looks for a little help from the Justice League, Beast Boy of the Teen Titans, and Batman. All of whom completely punk out.

Beast Boy would be OK with Rita staying, but can't speak for the rest of the Teen Titans--whoever they are, these days. Now, I will defend Robotman's visit to the Justice League going bad, as he is turned away by Congorilla. Seriously, Congorilla. If I'm in enough trouble that I need the Justice League, at the very least I expect a Green Lantern or a Hawkperson. Maybe Aquaman, if I'm within a hundred miles of the coast. Hell, I'd be just fine with Blue Beetle or Booster Gold, but if a talking gorilla shows up, I'm gonna be pissed. Given Cliff's history with Mallah, his request "Could I talk to somebody...not a gorilla?" seems completely reasonable.

Batman--and I'm assuming it was Dick, from Larry's description ("When did (Batman) stop looking like Clint Eastwood?") punking out is out of character, though. Bats says he doesn't want any heat following the DP and hitting Gotham; which would make sense if Batman thought his jurisdiction ended at the city limits. ("Go to Metropolis, that's somebody else's problem...") Especially given all the Batman, Inc. nonsense going on; you would think Larry, Cliff, and Rita would be given black costumes and utility belts...

I honestly thought Batman was going to drive Larry to the county line and tell him, "Stay out of Gotham, Hush."

In terms of storytelling value, the Doom Patrol not getting any help (from the heroes, anyway...) is a valid choice: sure, they could cry for Superman to help them every issue, but that wouldn't be a very good comic. Well, at least not a good Doom Patrol comic, anyway. I don't mind the Doom Patrol not getting help, but I do mind everyone not helping. Still, a solid issue, and I encourage you to pick it and the last two up while you still can.

2 comments:

Dale Bagwell said...

Thanks for another DP post. Love it! If this was back in the 80's, I'd like to think Batman, at least the one from Brave & Bold, would help 'em out. Superman too. But yes you're right, if that happened then there'd be no element of suspense and danger with what the DP is supposed to face in their last issues. Still, no reason for Bat-Dick and Congo Bill to be dicks though. What's Congo's problem with Cliff anyway? That time of the month again? Ha! Now let's see this done again, but with action figures next time okay?

pblfsda said...

Actually, Dale, back in the 1980's when Hal Jordan was having problems in ACTION COMICS WEEKLY it was Superman and Batman (the real one, Bruce) who gave him the cold shoulder. That struck me as weird characterization at the time and it's still weird now. Although less weird in light of the Doom Patrol's recent PR problems. (Giant cannibal Rita, the Chief going all "Superman IV" on world governments. Although, frankly I don't trust those penguins with the missiles any more than I do some of the original owners.)
And while I know why Cliff is a bit reluctant to as a talking gorilla for help, having fought Mallah for years, you would think Congorilla would have more sympathy for someone who can never return to their original body (even if they can't tell an ape from a monkey).