The titular Doberman sports a mullet, bulging muscles and ever-present sunshades. Seeing him in all his glory on the cover, I was convinced that it would be a comedy parodying testosterone cop dramas like Lethal Weapon. Instead what I found inside was more tonally in sync with a straight up homage, Jack Lambert missing out on opportunities to skewer the genre and instead go for shtick that was tired ten years ago. Between the recap page and the microbially thin plot, it was easy to figure out what’s going on in the life of Doberman, a former recluse who was recently reinstated to the police force and hopes to enact vengeance against the drug lord involved in his former partner’s death. A good parody would take this trope, and go all out to lampoon its lack of innovation and skewer its clichéd stories and characters. Rather than do that do, Doberman seems ok with simply delivering the clichés without adding any new elements of humor.
Yes, Doberman is funny to look at with his ridiculous hair and macho persona, but his misogynistic attitude towards his psychologist and belittling of his competent partner make it difficult to root for him. Lambert seems to like him too much to make fun of him in a manner that doesn’t involve him confessing to drinking toilet water as a kid or dressing in costume in an offensive costume. Meanwhile his new partner Newton serves up lines meant to be groan inducing in a comedic way, but simply come off as statements from a guy that’s just trying to be liked and who can’t get a break from his overtly violent partner.
Lambert tries to get some mileage out of the issue’s last scene, taking place at a fundraiser for dogs, but all he does is present the situation expectantly as if we’re supposed to find the mere idea of it humorous. The only instance that induced an all-too brief laugh from me is a two page spread that’s used as a montage, showing Doberman and Newton investigating, the bad guy relaxing, and Doberman working out in order to achieve his inhuman physique. While the individual images aren’t interesting, the collage of snapshots did a great job of conveying a chunk of time in an efficient and comedic manner although I have no idea how to read the speedometer that bookend the images.
The art, done by Brandon McKinney does a serviceable job of conveying the action with facial expressions that capture Doberman’s bravado. However his poses all feel recycled as if traced out of late 80’s Marvel comics, which I guess might be intentional.
I was hoping to enjoy Doberman much more than I did. Pulling off humor in any medium is pretty difficult, and I commend the team for giving it a go. Until more work is done to surprise us though, Doberman isn’t likely to be remembered as one of the great comedic titles of the year.
Writer: Jack Lambert Artist: Brandon McKinney Publisher: Darby Pop Publishing Price: $3.99 Release Date: 9/17/14 Format: Print/Digital