Comic Review: Doom Patrol #1 (DC Comics)

“Just a whole world buzzing along. Going about its daily rotation… Time might not Make No Sense If you’re living in the Gyro! Then you put the universe inside you.. […]

“Just a whole world buzzing along. Going about its daily rotation… Time might not Make No Sense If you’re living in the Gyro! Then you put the universe inside you.. You Feel Me?”

If that quote gives any indication, it’s that it sounds like a perfect fit for this classic, obscured, somewhat well-known team known as The Doom Patrol. Whether readers know of them due to being a heavy comic book fan before the comic movie boom or read Grant Morrison’s widely acclaimed run that is usually mentioned whenever Doom Patrol is involved, Or if you know of them from their appearances in the later seasons of the early 2000’s Teen Titans animated series. Or if you remember them from their last appearance in comics which tied into the Geoff Johns and David Finch 2013 comic book event Forever Evil, during Johns Justice League run in some form or way another, you may be familiar with this team.  And if beginning quote of this review means anything, it seems like tradition of existential weirdness associated with Doom Patrol is still a driving force. So long time fans won’t have to worry. In addition, people who are looking for a comic book series that isn’t largely associated with the bigger DC universe might like what they find in this book.

Gerard Way is one of those few guys who’s had a great fortune of having a career that allows him to do things that he loves. Many people who know his name know that he is the singer of the band My Chemical Romance. Others may know of him due to his friendship and admiration for Grant Morrison, or his work on one of his Spider-Verse tie-ins from Marvel. In addition, others will Know of his work that he had published through Dark Horse known as The Umbrella Academy. As one who was a casual fan of My Chemical Romance during the era of Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge and The Black Parade, it was interesting to find out about his exploits in comic books. I remember reading a Wizard Magazine (back when they were in print) in 2006 and finding out that he was writing a comic book series that garnered his acclaim. It was a such a cool idea, a guy who can do two careers that he has a passion for. In recent interviews , it was revealed that Doom Patrol would come out of a new line of comics called Young Animal, which sounds to be a spiritual successor to DC’s Vertigo imprint. The Young Animal imprint gives writers and artists to have creative freedom to take classic, lesser-known or obscure DC characters, and package them with a new voice for fans to get acquainted to.

The comic starts with a new character to the team Casey Brinke, who is an EMT along with her co-worker Sam. She’s a fast driver, who really cares about her job. All she aspires to do is dish out good deeds and help people. In her downtime, she likes to play on arcade machines. After driving a patient to the Hospital, Casey and her pal Sam are on a lunch break and are talking about life and their hobbies as such. Eventually, Sam talks about his Gyro that he’s eating, and gives an impression that what if a gyro had its own universe like everything else. That analogy or metaphor seems like it’s gonna be an occurring theme throughout the series. There are a lot of things at work here that Way seems to be setting up, such as showcasing where classic Doom Patrol the leader Niles Caulder  and Robot Man have been up to and introduces them in a subtle way and then showcasing them in smashing way the next.  It’s a series I think will be worth the read going forward down the line. It appears to keep the spirit that is usually associated with the Doom Patrol, which is that it explores the weird and obscure aspects of the DC universe that not even the DC universe tends to explore within their own stuff (aside from Animal Man or Swamp Thing). This book definitely has the DC’s Vertigo imprint vibes for sure given the nature and intent that it’s a book that’s meant to be different from the more streamlined comics that most people associate with DC. Way’s writing has a sense of humor and gives a sense of strange wonder. You can tell he’s really channeling what he loves about this specific team, and that narrative themes are greatly important to him. I believe he’ll tackle and tie in all the metaphorical , psychological, societal and existential themes that are usually associated with Doom Patrol with a sense of care. Way manages to make Casey a likable character with a nice personality. He gives you an impression that makes you want to see what happens next for her her down the line as she gets more and more associated with the titled team of this book. Also, I almost forgot to mention, there is a very strange group of people located at Rondo Inn who most likely will become a big threat against our yet to be assembled (literally) team of heroes. I really enjoy the food theme that occurs a lot in this book. The analog of the Gyro, and it’s symbolic nature of the universe, and then the evil cult that resides in the Rondo Inn who go on with a mantra stating “The truth is in the Meat” was a clever way to thread food and comic books together. Because who doesn’t want that? When you put all the ingredients together to assemble, a team or a good book, I guess you can say it wraps itself up as one good packaged deal of a fun book.

The art by Nick Derington  is great. It’s fun, it’s poppy, it’s actually got a good balance animated vibe about it that makes you the viewer/reader want to see what he might draw out next. It’s got an independent vibe to it, which is perfect for this book going forward since it compliments the overall aesthetic of the story. The book is supposed to be weird, yet fun, get strange all at the same time like a good Gyro. Also, I have mentioned that the colors by Tamara Bonvillain’s color work really enhances the book and gives it a liveliness that matches the feel of Way’s writing and Derington’s pencils.  Now I have to admit that this is only the first issue, there is a backup feature preview with Shade the Changing Girl. Personally, I wasn’t as interested in the feature, but knowing that it’s in line with Young Animal imprint, it may just connect in some way to this series while still dealing with its own self-contained stuff. But since it was a preview, all I can say is wait to see more of Shade when the first issue of her series comes out in October. Overall, I liked this issue of Doom Patrol, I think my overall criticism is really more of a head scratcher instead, and it’s mainly when Terry None shows up to Casey’s apartment.. I’m not really sure what None did to Casey’s roommate, did he just proofed? Die? Turned into something else? Not sure. Probably what I’m thinking which is one of those questions that I’ve presented. But you won’t know until you read the book yourself and come up with your own conclusions. I recommend this book to anyone who is a longtime fan of Doom Patrol. I also recommend this book to anyone who’s a casual reader that likes stuff associated with the Vertigo kind of quality reads. This book isn’t necessarily for anyone who’s expecting stuff from the usual superhero Batman, Superman bombastic earth changing event sort of title. If you’re looking for a good series that you’ll have fun reading that focuses on characters and character moments, then this book is for you. I’d definitely suggest picking this series up. It’s a nice break away from the extremely serious, Gotham city stuff if you catch my drift.

Anthony Andujar Jr.

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