Review – Unstoppable Doom Patrol #2 (DC Comics)

Publisher: DC Comics
Writer: Dennis Culver
Artist: Chris Burnham
Colorist: Brian Reber
Letterer: Pat Brosseau
Release Date: 26th April 2023

Whilst most readers of Dennis Culver’s stimulating storyline for issue two of Unstoppable Doom Patrol may have initially been fooled into thinking they were simply going hand-in-hand with Beast Girl on a tongue-in-cheek tour of the “World’s Strangest Superheroes’ new headquarters”, the author soon transforms his fairly fun tale of Kareli’s infatuation for the adolescent Worm into a deeply dark tale of treachery and cold-blooded murder. Indeed, having lulled many a bibliophile in with the cosiness of their brand-new member’s welcome, courtesy of an engaging introduction to the Shelter’s gymnasium and physical therapist Flex Mentallo, the sudden appearance of Peacemaker threatening to blow the teenager’s head clean off comes completely out of the blue, and makes a genuine, ever-lasting impression upon the audience.

Similarly as unnerving is the revelation that Doctor Niles Caulder isn’t as happy to play second fiddle to his replacement Crazy Jane as was first suggested. The tension between these two strong-willed characters when they confront one another in a corridor is so well-written that their open hostility is truly palpable, and this distrust of White Team’s wannabe onsite executive is made all the more real when it’s shown the wheelchair-bound consultant has secretly ‘rebuilt the Think Tank and is using it to amplify Mento’s powers.’

Perhaps equally as surprising though is that much of this animosity is delivered via a single page of this publication being dedicated to a simple memorandum stipulating that all operatives will fall under the jurisdiction of Caulder whilst on site. This pictureless proposal may well make some logical sense. But it is also a clear message to Kay Challis that the original “Chief” intends to take back control of the team despite his past criminally inclined transgressions.

Helping to additionally ‘traumatize’ this comic’s ashen-faced audience with his excellent artwork is Chris Burnham, whose pencilling imbues the likes of Robotman and Beast Girl with plenty of earnest emotion. Furthermore, the former Batman Incorporated illustrator provides Christopher Smith’s deplorable persona with all the psychopathic zealousness a reader might expect from so loyal a government agent, and somehow manages to tug on many a heartstring when a tearful Worm is suicidally sent rocketing into the night sky just seconds before he fatally detonates; “Let me remind you that you still work for the United States of America. That explosive chip… still works. All it takes is a flip of a switch to set it off.”


The writer of this piece was: Simon Moore
Simon Tweets from @Blaxkleric ‏
You can read more of his reviews at The Brown Bag

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