Oh man, I fell so far behind, I wasn’t able to keep up with this fun and quirky series.
Lousy Knight Terrors…
Issue: Unstoppable Doom Patrol #5, April 2023
Writer: Dennis Culver
Artist: Chris Burnham
The Plot: The team looks into a tech billionaire’s community while the former Chief gets an offer he may not be able to refuse.
Commentary: When the Doom Patrol first appeared in the Silver Age, Niles “the Chief” Caulder was a benevolent scientist whose skills saved the lives of three people who were hit by weird accidents. Then when the series went Vertigo under Grant Morrison’s writing, it came out the Chief arranged all those accidents as part of some weird scientific experiments of his own, and he was hardly a benevolent figure at all. More subsequent appearances have shown Caulder as a manipulative man who thinks he knows better than anybody else, not quite a villain, but hardly a hero, and someone the Doom Patrol more or less knows is no good but they keep around anyway.
This new series has him there in the team HQ, but he’s not the Chief. Crazy Jane has a persona going by that title, and Caulder is just there, bitter and angry, that he was displaced from his own position as team leader. So, what happens when a tech billionaire with his own community of killer androids that looks like small town people makes Caulder an offer to continue those experiments with more willing participants, starting with someone called “Metawoman,” who develops superpowers to defeat any imminent threat?
I’ll be honest here: Metawoman’s defeat is a bit obvious, and Caulder’s explanation for it works, but the answer that he gives to the job offer feels…off. I suppose if this was an ongoing and not a seven issue mini-series, they could explore Caulder’s feelings a little bit more, but with only two issues left, I just think there’s more to explore here.
Maybe next time I’ll finish off the series as I try to catch up.