February 29, 2012

Review: Doom Patrol: Magic Bus

The strangeness continues as the Doom Patrol faces an all new incarnation of the Brotherhood of Evil in the Magic Bus paperback.  However, this lineup of villains doesn't offer much resistance with the regards to power and pathos of the earlier formation and the collected issues detailing the new group doesn't quite live up with the build-up.  Morrison still pens another masterpiece of unique delight with this collection though as the individual issues within the collection provide more fun and appeal overall goodness.

When Grant Morrison retooled the Doom Patrol lineup, the team faced an equally strange collection of super villains to match their strangeness.  The first supergroup that the Doom Patrol tackled was a new incarnation of their old villains, the Brotherhood of Evil.  With Grant Morrison's version, the villains,  became transformed with an all new lineup, now known as the Brotherhood of Dada. Teaming up with the members of the Justice League, the Doom Patrol defeat the Brotherhood, at the cost of some damage to Cliff Steele, who later receives a new body. The newest lineup despite the appeal of the fresh members, fails to match the original Brotherhood's power.


The Magic Bus paperback collects issues 51 through 57 which is the next to the last story arc, before Grant Morrison's final run. The Doom Patrol fights an all new Brotherhood of Dada led again by Mr. Nobody. Featuring a retooled and an unusual lineup as before, the members now include Agent !, The Love Glove, Number None, Alias The Blur and another member The Toy, who arrives too late to join in the fun, at the end. The Brotherhood is once again in pursuit of the Painting That Ate Paris (to free Mr. Nobody) currently in the possession of Dr. Silence, but also have a new weapon in their arsenal, the Bicycle of Albert Hoffman! Once peddled, the bicycle releases hallucinatory effects on anyone in the surrounding area.  Mr. Nobody's charisma shines through as even Doom Patrol members Crazy Jane and Regis refuse to fight him and the Brotherhood. The Brotherhood is ultimately defeated from within and through a government agent known as Yankee Doodle, who always leaves "a feather for his foes".

 selected cover artwork from the collection

Besides the Brotherhood saga, issue 53 featured a special Fantastic Four/Jack Kirby-esque tribute story focusing on a dream by Danny the Street.   That particular issue featured guest stars such as John Constantine, Dr. Thirteen and many more, as only Danny The Street could envision! The remaining issues also dealt with a solo story involving Regis and a Crazy Jane origin story, revealing more details of her troubled past. Finally the collection closes out with Niles Caulder's betrayal which results in the death of a Doom Patrol member and the rise of the Candlemaker, ultimately leading to the dissolution of the team.  

Readers may be disappointed with the swift end to the brotherhood of Dada storyline which I ultimately was.  It's also difficult to capture the tone of the storyline with the art because it seemed as if Morrison did not want this saga to be too serious as the last time around. The collection does not feature the preceding issues, detailing the origins of the new Brotherhood members, building up to the quick showdown with the Doom Patrol and government forces. However, the substance of the varied stories of the other issues collected within this paperback, especially the delightful "And Men Shall Call Him Hero" story in issue 53, should certainly suffice.

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