The secrets of the Doom Patrol rest in the hands of Dr. Syncho, also known as Jerry. But what’s Jerry’s secret? Your Major Spoilers review of Unstoppable Doom Patrol #4 from DC Comics awaits!
UNSTOPPABLE DOOM PATROL #4
Writer: Dennis Culver
Artist: David LaFuente
Colorist: Brian Reber
Letterer: Pat Brosseau
Editor: Ben Abernathy
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: July 11, 2023
Previously in Unstoppable Doom Patrol: Saving the world by saving the monsters isn’t easy and the World’s Strangest Superheroes need someone even stranger to help them process everything they endure. That’s why the Doom Patrol’s resident therapist. Dr. Syncho, channels five Fifth Dimensional entities into one SUPER-CONSCIOUSNESS to delve deep into the psyches of the Patrollers.
HEROES IN THERAPY
Ever since the events of Lazarus Planet set off the metagenes of hundreds of thousands of people, the Doom Patrol has been on search-and-rescue missions to save the new superhumans. As part of that process, though, the new metas are given a psychological assessment by Dr. Synchro, who also handles the team’s emotional health. Ever since her own powers kicked in, the doc can channel the minds of five Fifth-Dimensional imps (Jxchn, Eylhm, Rez, Raz, and Yzd, but they prefer to be known as Jerry), allowing her to not only visualize but VIEW the events of the Patrol’s lives with a little Mxyzptlk magic. Each Doom Patroller takes their turn, showing off Degenerate’s anger, Elasti-Woman’s guilt, Robotman’s protective streak, Negative Man’s slow-growing acceptance of his shadow self, and Beast Girl’s heretofore-unseen origins. We even get a little time with The Chief, whose assurances that Jane and all the other people in her head are perfectly happy to fall more than a little bit flat.
I THINK THAT’S A HIPAA VIOLATION
The conceit of this issue is visually ingenious, with Dr. Synchro/Jerry literally showing us important moments from the characters’ pasts, making it clear that every single Doom Patrol story going back to 1963 is still fair game, and most of them are canon. That means that the Avant Garde Morrison stories, the Young Animal era, Rachel Pollack’s run, and even the Giffen revival are referenced here, deepening the historical context of Culver’s psychological assessments. LaFuente’s art works perfectly with the story beats, using the magical illusions to great effect, even managing to show a range of emotions from one man whose face is metal, and another wrapped in bandages. The kicker, though, is the final page splash of The Chief lying that she and all her alters are happy while her reflection shows a very torked-off Jane glaring out at her.
BOTTOM LINE: ENGAGING, EVEN WITHOUT EXPLOSIONS
Some of my favorite comic stories are those where the action is psychological rather than punchaficatory (which is totally a word), and Unstoppable Doom Patrol #4 is a fine example of that, taking time to stop and converse with each team member in turn, using an in-universe explanation for flashbacks, and putting each Patroller in the spotlight, earning 4.5 out of 5 stars overall. This is one of my favorite DC titles in some time, and it’s worth looking into, even if you aren’t familiar with the team’s history.
Dear Spoilerite,At Major Spoilers, we strive to create original content that you find interesting and entertaining. Producing, writing, recording, editing, and researching requires significant resources. We pay writers, podcast hosts, and other staff members who work tirelessly to provide you with insights into the comic book, gaming, and pop culture industries. Help us keep MajorSpoilers.com strong. Become a Patron (and our superhero) today.
UNSTOPPABLE DOOM PATROL #4
We finally delve into the minds of Elasti-Woman, Beast Girl and Negative Man, and the combination of unique layouts and excellent character writing makes for a fine reading experience.