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Doom Patrol #22

Posted: Wednesday, July 16, 2003
By: Jason Cornwell



Writer: John Arcudi
Artist: Tan Eng Huat

Publisher: DC

Plot:
After Cliff wakes up from a nightmare in which the entire world decided to transfer their minds into robotic shells, we see he finds himself making a difficult choice regarding the comatose Dorothy. Meanwhile the rest of Doom Patrol find themselves without a home, and with Cliff's departure from the team the four teens hit the road.

Comments:
As far as final issues go this one isn't half bad, as it does leave the team intact for the most part, though Cliff does head off on his own, and I imagine he'll linger around comic limbo until the next Doom Patrol series. This issue manages to tie up all the various loose ends as the hospitalized Dorothy subplot is given a rather sad resolution, and while the question of what exactly Cliff is never really resolved, I imagine this issue is about as close to an answer as we're ever going to receive. This issue does firmly address the idea that Cliff is no longer a human brain locked inside a metal shell, and the previous arc established that he's also not a ghost inside the machine, so the only option left on the table is that he's a robot that believed itself to be human. This issue also continues the tradition of offering up some nicely surreal moments as the book opens with a rather amusing dream sequence, where Cliff finds himself on a world where everyone he knows has been turned into a robot. There's also a pretty nice little scene where Cliff gets another visit from his mystery man, and this meeting produces an interesting theory of why Robotman continues to find himself drawn into the life of a super-hero, in spite of his continued grumblings about this lifestyle.

As for the art I was glad to read that Tan Eng Huat has several projects lined up to work on as he's a very talented artist with a wonderful design sense, and here's hoping some higher profile gigs will gain him the sizeable fan base he deserves. This final issue is a very solid effort, even if it is largely a talking heads affair.

Final Word:
The opening dream sequence does a nice job of seeming somewhat plausible at the start, as I was more than willing to believe that Dr. Kolodenko managed to come up with a second chance at life. This issue also offers up a pretty solid bit of drama as Cliff is forced to deal with the death of yet another teammate, and the name Doom Patrol is starting to take on a more ominous meaning, as this issue reveals that not even Cliff has been spared the fate that has befallen most everyone who has ever been a member of this team. The question of whether Cliff is alive also gets a fair bit of attention in this issue, and while the question is still somewhat unresolved, I did enjoy the way this issue eliminated a couple possibilities. I'll miss this book, and it's monthly dose of surreal concepts, but at least it managed to go off on a pretty strong note, and I was glad to see the team is still together when the issue ended.



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