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Doom Patrol S4 Eps. 1-3: zombie butts and self-care dominate the wildest season opening yet!

My favorite madcap menagerie of misfits is back for its fourth season on HBO Max and its the wildest thing we've seen yet, especially given last season's testicle monster! Doom Patrol is a particularly favorite series of mine; its unreal premises aligned with spectacularly complex character investigations continues in this new season, that's rife with animated anuses and self-care.

Grant Morrison's legendary run on the Doom Patrol comics series has been, and still is, a great influence on this show; zany comics flare emboldened by characters rooted in disability. This influence couldn't be stronger this season as the character complexities are deepened, while absolute insanity overtakes the plot details, mimicking the inner minds at play within our protagonists. We pick up where we left our outstanding outcasts; a testicle monster has been vasectomied, our gang has a time machine, and our team has a formal leader: Rita Farr. Despite the suffering she endured a la Madame Rouge and the eradication of Dada, Rita finds a role as team leader and gives us a working look at our team saving the day on purpose. Naturally, this doesn't last long and these first three episodes are all the better for it.

Each character has their own arc to follow this season while extraneous plot constantly tries to throw them together in order to save the day. Cyborg is getting used to his new skin and no powers, a change that leads him to reconnect with people from his past. Cliff is finding new opportunities in his own life as well, while Jane and Larry struggle to make peace with their inner inhabitants under new conditions. Rita and Rouge continue their rather one-sided feud, the former wielding spite like a sword and the latter hoping for some measure of redemption. Oh, and there are zombie butts on the loose. These threads tangle and knot themselves into fascinating interactions that demonstrate various facets of the healing process.

The ridiculousness of the plot always brings a smile to my face, especially as this season's direction is directly influenced by things that happened in previous seasons. I'm a sucker for continuity and here it's used as a counter. The Doom Patrol tries to move on from their pasts while the past itself hurtles towards them. The ensuing mind-bender is a masterclass of psychological exploration that puts superpowers aside to examine fundamentally broken and marginalized people.

Doom Patrol season four gets off to a hilariously introspective start that promises short-term and long-term thrills as the season progresses. From a butt-pocalypse to a looming threat in the villainous "Immortus", Doom Patrol isn't afraid to be as ludicrous as it is moving. If you're not watching then you should be, if only to laugh yourself into a weeping catharsis.

New episodes of Doom Patrol air every Thursday on HBO Max, but don't let your humble viewing be the end; if you want to maximize enjoyment check out the first volume of Grant Morrison's Doom Patrol here or Gerard Way's modern take on team here!


Austin Kemp read Batman #315 (Batman vs Kite Man) when he was 5 years old, and hasn't stopped reading comics since. Austin is a college writing teacher and has a masters degree in Comics Studies. Austin and his partner, Savanah, live in Massachusetts with their master, a cat named Chaplin.

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