In the Negative World, in the real world, things are looking dark for the Patrollers… Your Major Spoilers review of Doom Patrol #5 awaits!
Writer: Gerard Way
Artist: Nick Derington
Colorist: Tamra Bonvillain
Letterer: Todd Klein
Editor: Jamie S. Rich
Publisher: Young Animal/DC Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Previously in Doom Patrol: Cliff Steele has finally been rebuilt into the Robotman. Larry Trainor has been returned to the Negative world from which his Negative Man spirit originates. Flex Mentallo fights for Dannyland. Danny The Street is now Danny The Ambulance.
And they’re all going to die, if The Vectra have their way…
IT’S ALL COMING TOGETHER
This whole series has been very esoteric, what my grandmother would call ‘A few turns off-plumb,’ but delightfully so. This issue continues that trend, as things look very dark indeed. Casey Brinke has been confronted by her own fictionality (it’s a long story, but the gist is that she was born from Dannyland, making her also fictional, maybe? I think?) and Larry trigger gets re-bonded to his Negative spirit (with the nice touch of once again wearing the glasses worn by Rebis, a previous incarnation of the N-Man.) Cliff, Casey and Larry are quickly off into the past, to Mobile Slaughter Unit X-19, where she finds not only a duplicate of Danny from the past, but her own fictional father! The fighty-fighty kicks in, but as with previous issues, it’s not really a linear story. Casey faces Evil Casey, while Flex Mentallo faces death. Larry’s inner dream-life is visited again, and Cliff gets his metal butt kicked by Torminox, Casey’s evil dad. Thanks to the timely intervention of her mother, some time-travel shenanigans, a magic massage and a little arson, all is returned to normal… For some values thereof, anyway.
The best part of it all is seeing Cliff Steele remain the same crude, take-no-nonsense guy he’s been since the 60s, against the backdrop of utter madness that the creative team has created. I love the idea of Danny The Street living inside a vehicle for mobility, I like seeing Negative Man returned without the retconning of the last couple of Doom Patrol series, and I really enjoy the art of Nick Derington. There’s a sense of reality, of grounding that becomes absolutely necessary when the story goes to wild and improbably moments, and Derington really nails the big punch-out battle sequence between Robotman and Torminox in these pages. Best of all, Flex Mentallo hits that perfect balance of ridiculous parody and almost-believable that I associate with him thanks to Frank Quitely, giving the issue a satisfying readability value. The last-page reveal that a former Patroller (created by Grant Morrison) is returning makes me want the next issue immediately (and, given the lateness of this issue, hopefully that will only be 30 days from now.)
THE BOTTOM LINE: STILL A FUN EXPERIENCE
To be honest, I’d have paid the cover price just to get the Bane coloring page at the back making fun of a certain bloviating public figure, but having the team finally starting to assemble is fun, and this issue’s events wrap up the first arc in style. Doom Patrol #5 suffers a bit from lateness and a little bit of plotting oddity (albeit intentionally odd, I think) but still nails the climactic conflict and teases what’s coming next in a satisfying fashion, earning 4 out of 5 stars overall. There’s a lot to like here, but the return of classic Vertigo-style stream-of-consciousness storytelling is among my favorites…