Robot Man and his huge shouldered leather jacket! Danny the Street! Gyros! What the heck am I talking about? Why, Doom Patrol #1 of course and the Major Spoilers review is here!
Previously in Doom Patrol: A lot of crazy sh@t that is hard to explain in a short paragraph. Luckily you (mostly) don’t have to know any of it since this is a new #1.
I’ll say this about Mr. Gerard Way: he has certainly tapped whatever space aged crazy Grant Morrison’s bald head is connected to. There are moments in Doom Patrol #1 that are brilliant and others that I think may be brilliant but can’t explain why. There are definitely times I couldn’t tell what the hell was going on.
The reader is introduced to the world through the character Casey Brinke, an ambulance driver that is extremely good at her job. She’s the perfect character for Doom Patrol. A bit of a loner, kinda weird and extremely positive. Gerard Way packs the issue with so many colorful ideas and characters, it gets a bit overwhelming. Universes inside gyros, alien fast food entrepreneurs and (maybe?) a dead angel. He also writes the best line in a comic this year: People want to be the kind of disgusting they can afford! Fans of Grant Morrison’s Doom Patrol will get a kick out of the appearance of Danny the Street, Niles Caulder and a brief reference to Oolong Island. Morrison clearly had a strong influence on Way and it’s on full display.
That’s also a bit of a problem. If this is your first Doom Patrol book, then gods help you because it is so nuts and confusing it might be turnoff. At times it reads like Gerard Way writing Grant Morrison, but unsuccessfully. I love the Morrison Doom Patrol but Gerard Way’s take had me scratching my head at times. Why is Robot Man living in a gyro in the middle of a robot war? Why is Niles Caulder trying to duplicate a fly’s buzzing? Who is that at the end? So many characters are introduced one after the other, with no context or explanation, that by the time Terry None shows up I was trying to figure out if she was a new character or not. Way probably has explanations for some of it, but it is certainly a trial by fire of sorts.
EIGHT PANEL BRILLIANCE
Nick Derington’s art reminds me so much of Declan Shalvey and Chris Samnee. It looks very simplistic at first but if one takes time to study the page, you’ll find all the subtle details. There is energy and life in it, even in the close up of the gyro. I love the sequence with Cliff and the robot war and Derington draws one of the best eight panel pages I’ve seen. It’s a simple setup of Niles Caulder surrounded by synthesizers and pressing keys. The smile Niles gives when he matches the fly’s buzz is fantastic and should bring a grin to the reader’s face too. Tamra Bonvillain’s coloring adds a bright, bold look that is perfect for Doom Patrol’s zany universe. I hope this art team sticks because this is good stuff.
BOTTOM LINE: HARMONIC DISSONANCE
I’d use the term “harmonic dissonance” to describe Doom Patrol #1. Don’t ask me what that means, I just made it up. That is similar to how the book reads. Way creating things that make no sense yet are fun and look great. I’m sure the man has explanations down the road, but new readers are sure to be left scratching their heads. I had tons of fun but still felt confused. The artwork is phenomenal with a pop flair fitting for Doom Patrol. Those looking for an unusual, fun and challenging read couldn’t do much better than trying Doom Patrol #1.