Wednesday, February 4, 2015


Co-Creators: Marv Wolfman & George Pérez | Embellisher: Romeo Tanghal
Letterer: John Costanza | Colorist: Adrienne Roy | Editor: Len Wein

The Plot: While Madame Rouge watches her forces invade Zandia, General Zahl gloats over the Titans and Robotman, trapped in his devolving pit. Elsewhere, the Brain and Monsieur Mallah, the surviving members of the original Brotherhood of Evil, introduce Changeling to their new teammates, Warp, Phobia, Houngan, and Plasmus. The Brotherhood wants to kill Rouge and Zahl, and invites Changeling to join them.

The entire group teleports aboard Rouge's flying fortress and attacks, and the Titans and Robotman are soon restored to normal. Amid the battle, Robotman corners General Zahl, who loses his life to a ricochet from his own sidearm. Meanwhile, Changeling chases down Rouge and knocks into a bank of electronics, inadvertently killing her.

The Titans, Brotherhood, and Robotman escape from the airship just before it explodes, and the Brotherhood departs as the Titans prepare to head home.

My Thoughts: Before we get to anything else, I have two retractions to make: First, I stated last time that Zandia was Madame Rouge's homeland. This was a misunderstanding on my part, as I learned from this issue. Second, it turns out that Wolfman did intentionally refer to the people of Zandia as "expatriates", as we learn this issue that the entire island nation is a refuge for criminals, and the Brain has designs on becoming its new ruler.

But in addition to the above, I also need to pick another nit with Wolfman's scripting. I understand that when writing a superhero team book featuring a large cast, giving every character his or her own "voice" can be tricky. And for the most part, Wolfman handles this task admirably. Robin has the same strait-laced speech patterns as his Darknight mentor. Kid Flash's and Wonder Girl's voices are similarly of a traditionally superheroic nature; logical since these three were preexisting characters created in the Silver Age or even earlier. Then we have Raven, who's more stilted, not unlike a Thor or a Colossus. Cyborg and Changeling both toss around more slang than the rest, and use terms like "ain't" and "mebbe" (instead of maybe).

So why, then, do nearly all of them constantly employ the epithet "lord"?? First off, I don't know anyone under the age of, say, sixty, who uses "lord" as an expression for any purpose. I have a hard time believing that people in their late teens were using it in 1982, either. See, for example, the following lines of dialogue from the previous issue:
  • Robin: "Lord, why do I feel that one day she's going to break?"
  • Cyborg: "Lord, and I used to feel sorry for myself!"
  • Changeling: "Oh, lord! This is Rouge's scheme?"
Those are only a handful of the "lords" that have been tossed around, from the mouths of myriad characters, Titan and non-Titan alike, over the past fifteen issues. It's just too much. Did Wolfman realize he was doing this? Why not mix it up? Toss in some uses of "god/my god", "gosh", "holy (fill-in-the-blank)", "blast", stuff like that? Or, my personal preference, assorted wingdings to indicate swearing so we can just insert our own preferred exclamations?
Anyway -- now onto the story, which concludes Wolfman's and Pérez's love letter to the original Doom Patrol. To my knowledge, I've never read a single Doom Patrol comic, though I have at least seen them in a guest shot in JLA: YEAR ONE. They seem like a nifty bunch of misfit characters, though, and Wolfman and Pérez certainly appear to hold them in high regard.

The main thrust of this tale is that revenge is never worth it in the end. When Robotman corners Zahl, he is unable to take the villain's life despite that being his original goal. When Changeling accidentally kills Rouge, he is racked with empty remorse. Even though it's to be expected that the surviving members of the original Doom Patrol would mete out the final fates of Zahl and Rouge, the moments are no less powerful.

So Wolfman and Pérez have put a bow on the saga of the Doom Patrol, and have also wrapped up the last major dangling sub-plot from the early issues of NEW TEEN TITANS, the missing Steve Dayton (aside from the mystery of Wonder Girl's origin, which hasn't even been mentioned since #1). With no standing plots to draw on for upcoming installments, it'll be interesting to see what happens next.


  1. Second, it turns out that Wolfman did intentionally refer to the people of Zandia as "expatriates", as we learn this issue that the entire island nation is a refuge for criminals

    To elaborate on the Slorenia connection, I've since found out that also Zandia lies on the Baltic. "Dead center in the Baltic Sea". So, firstly, I'm growing a slight outrage of the usage of our pesky little pond as nothing more than the go-to place when a nation needs to be eradicated for to further a villain plot. Like, what the fuck is wrong with you, George Pérez?

    Secondly, the concept of Zandia may owe a bit to the Swedish island of Gotland, which during it's history has served as the nest for the privateers-turned-into-piracy the Victual Brothers and a fief of the Teutonic Knights crusading order. 'Zandia' isn't really that far off from 'Scandia', the once-name of the assumed island of Scandinavia of the antique geographists.

    Hilariously, because of Brother Blood's crusade background someone has deemed it necessary to relocate the island into the Mediterranean. I assume that someone was a bit dummy himself or deliberately choosing to write down for dummies for whom the crusades don't count if they weren't instigated by Richard Lionheart, the greatest king of England ever and Robin Hood's best buddy. Now, as someone still in habit of saturating his blood with oxygen by several in-breaths like the Polynesian pearl-divers do before diving, I expect the scientific background research for comics to be solid.

    1. "I'm growing a slight outrage of the usage of our pesky little pond as nothing more than the go-to place when a nation needs to be eradicated..."

      I'm with you. In nearly every Transformers continuity there is, San Francisco (about 35 miles from where I live) gets destroyed or seriously damaged somehow.

      Interesting history lesson on Gotland; I had no idea. I love learning stuff like that.

  2. Well, those soldiers sure weren't mechanical, if Raven's shock and those soldiers who opposed Warp makes clear.
    I never read any of the Doom Patrol stories in my youth; my knowledge came from the DC Who's Who entries (which gave me the misconception that John Byrne drew the original series). Reading them now, I noticed they sure argue & trade insults a lot (think of a cast of Ben Grimms). Even Gar was portrayed as an angry youth, compared to the more positive person here. Rather entertaining. I'm surprised it took so long for DC to put closure in their murder; killing off an entire super-hero group is a pretty big deal.
    In the de-evolution chamber, Kory is becoming a cat-girl (something that hit my otaku interests), and is Raven resembling Trigon?

    1. I can't believe I didn't mention Starfire's devolved form -- I recall making note of it when I read the issue, but I somehow left it out of my comments above. She does have semi-feline features, so it makes sense. I'd love to see an inter-company crossover where the feline Tamaranians go to war with the avian Shi'ar.

    2. Well, there was Tigra going against Deathbird in that one issue of UNCANNY.