Jan 2, 2017

The 40 Years of Comics Project - Day 677: The Doom Patrol #90, September 1964


So the first thing I realized upon reading this comic is that the previous two issues of JLA: Year One ought to have come at least after this issue, as Mme. Rouge receives her powers from the Brain early in today's story.

The second thing is that, for a comic from 1964, this story is demonstrating some interesting notions about gender identity and roles. First, when referring to the Brain, Drake uses the pronoun "it" to refer to the villain, rather than "he." Though I think there's been some reference to the Brain as a him in prior issues, the choice to use it as a gender-neutral pronoun, instead of the usual ubiquitous "he" is certainly forward-thinking. On the next page, as Rita reclines in a big cat enclosure at the zoo (at giant-size, of course), a small child in the audience asks "Daddy -- how come she's so much bigger than you if she's only a girl?" In my head, that's a young girl asking the question. I'd be interested to hear her father's response. On top of all this, the main villain, and one that comes about as close to killing to Doom Patrol as any, is Mme. Rouge, who systematically incapacitates individual members of the Patrol and then attempts to kill the others. She's kind of a badass.

I don't know much about the creators of the Doom Patrol. Their stories, it seems, aren't quite as interesting as Siegel and Shuster's, or Kirby's, but there some interestingly, if only slightly, feminist thinking going on here. Perhaps more research is warranted.


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