Doom Force #1
Grant Morrison, writer
Keith Giffen, Mike Mignola, Steve Pugh, Ian Montgomery, Brad Vancata, Richard Case, Walt Simonson, Paris Cullins, Ray Kryssing, Duke Mighten, Mark McKenna, Ken Steacy, artists
DC Comics, 1992
Sometimes you can judge a book by its cover. Obviously, this is an in-the-moment parody of the ever-more-extreme (with a capital “E,” at one point) superhero-team comics of Rob Liefeld and his peers and imitators. The gags are all a lot stronger than you’d think they might be, actually, which is surprising even given the talent of the writer. The Crying Boy’s nebulously defined bad-luck powers and emo demeanor, Flux’s girl-superpower of amorphousness and her sperm-covered form-fitting unitard, The Scratch’s corporate branding and badassness that passes fully into the realm of douchebaggery, etc etc etc.–I chuckled at each, and that’s even before you get to Shasta The Living Mountain or the list of trademarked names for characters who may appear in future volumes, which is really one of the funniest things I’ve ever read in a comic (Gridlock! Campfire! Timesheet!). But I think the most rewarding gags are the ones that tug things in either goofier or weirder directions than necessary. In the former category, there’s Shasta’s transformation into said Living Mountain–complete with not just a ski slope and chairlift, but actual skiers. In the latter category, there’s the way the comic pretty much stops short a couple of times so that the brother/sister villain team can get into uncomfortable shouting matches about proper feminine attire: “Every strong woman must feel free…to express her femininity by wearing exotic lingerie…” (You’ve got two guesses at to which sibling says that and the first guess doesn’t count.) As for the Liefeld-manque art, I never actually read (or even just bought) his comics so I can’t tell you how effective a lampoon it is. I do however remember Mark Millar’s much-repeated insistence that Kids Love Rob Liefeld, and it’s true that the cast of thousands assembled to knock Rob off here do a great job of conveying Liefeldian EXCITEMENT and VOLUME and BARELY CONCEALED NIPPLES AND LABIA at the expense of any vestige of storytelling coherence. Overall it’s a hoot that holds up well. I like it better than Batman: Gothic. PS: Mickey Eye cameo!