Doom Patrol

I’ve just read the first volume of Grant Morrison’s run on Doom Patrol — Crawling from the Wreckage.  It’s pretty great, and oh so very Grant Morrison.  There’s some lovely inventive team members, my favourite being a woman with at least 64 different personalities, each of whom has a distinct super power.  The villains too are pretty good, particularly Red Jack: half god, half Jack the Ripper, all mad, and powered by the pain of 10,000 pinned butterflies.

The best thing about Morrison though, is the ‘logic’ underlying his worlds, that delicious mix of mysticism, fringe science, and cultural theory that gives rise to sentences like: “They propose to fill the book with parasitic ideas which will enter human consciousness and transform it”.  This, for me, was a little reminiscent of the anti-life equation from his Final Crisis series.  Reading this now, I’ve got two and half decades’ worth of post-Doom Patrol Grant Morrison under my belt.  There’s an entire oeuvre defined by a particular style and recurrent concepts.  What must it have been like for a relatively Morrison-naive world to read this volume?  It certainly ‘fits’ with the other great Vertigo stuff of the time being written by Neil Gaiman and Garth Ennis and others, but I think it would have had a more visceral punch of newness and excitement than it does now.

Morrison writes some paratext bashing “angst-ridden mutants and grittily realistic (yawn) urban vigilantes”.  I’m not sure, but it seems like this (written in 1988) must be one of the first articulations of a back lash that’s still going strong (or maybe there’s been a pendulum that’s swung back and forth a few times in the interval…).

Anyway — a rock solid comic with a great sense of surreal fun. Well worth the reading by anyone who’s a fan of Morrison’s work.

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