By Ben Snyder
Gerard Way continues to pump out the comedy in this humor and exposition filled entry of Doom Patrol. However, the same problems that plagued the last story arc continue to permeate in the beginning of Doom Patrol #7. Despite this, Way provides some hope that this story arc will be different as the team symbolically and literally denies their past and moves on towards the future.
I personally really enjoyed the first story arc of Doom Patrol. I loved the humor and characterization that writer Gerard Way was able to imbue into these already existing characters. However, this was my first encounter with the Doom Patrol as I have never read the original series from the 90’s and this led to major confusion in the first arc. And while confused due to the chaotic nature of the series, I still wound up invested in the Doom Patrol universe, hoping that the end of the first arc would get all of the past out of the way and pave the way for whatever future stories Way wanted to tell. Unfortunately, this issue began with a callback to a classic Doom Patrol character that drives the plot of this issue.
While the adventure the gang goes on with Dr. Caulder is amusing and filled with the witty satire the series is known for, (Bad Ideas create a substance that sounds a whole lot like Idiot when spoken aloud and when you eat enough of this substance you can hyper accelerate evolution) it is a bit exposition heavy as Caulder basically unloads facts and details about a world that basically at the end of the story are proven useless. Caulder sets about making the team his own again by transforming Cliff’s body, giving Larry new and useless bandages, and giving Casey a skimpy uniform and a functionless leg and takes them on a mission to wipe away his gambling debt by obtaining the idyat substance from the scant-verse.
My biggest complaint of this issue is that it seemed pointless. By the end of the issue, all the changes are reversed and the gang leaves Caulder again. However, this is also where the issue finds its redemption as it spurs it’s past and hopefully is ready to move on, leaving all of this by the wayside. I do believe based on Way’s previous work in Umbrella Academy and Cave Carson Has a Cybernetic Eye that he can take this series soaring into new heights but I also believe that this hinges on the ability to leave the past behind.
Michael Allred’s art serves it’s purpose while also bringing nothing new or particular to the table. I appreciated that when the team was with Caulder, the aesthetic took on the appearance of a old Saturday morning cartoon, which definitely added to the humor of the script. The scene in which Caulder is giving the Doom Patrol a tour of the Scantverse while they’re all on jetpacks looks particularly retro. But there were a couple inconsistencies with this segment as well as Cliff’s metallic body looking particularly out of place. And the cornerstone action scene of the issues is almost entirely obscured by speech bubbles. Perhaps if the speech bubbles were less frequent, the fight scene wouldn’t have appeared as confusing.
One aspect of the art that was impressive in this issue was the character design. One of which in particular is Dan Scram’s transformed form of a giant futuristic space jellyfish and the coinciding transformation of Casey and Larry into psychic werewolves. Scram’s transformation looks particularly influenced by Akira and proved to be quite comical. I also enjoyed the new character design of Lotion the cat as a rough and tough outlaw.
When adding up the aspects of Doom Patrol #7, it should be a funny and great comic. And for the most part, it is. Despite this, the past continues to be added baggage and really detracts from the quality of this issue. I understand that some readers appreciate the past ties that Way uses in his story, but as a newer reader to the series, I do not. I want Gerard Way to be the original and talented writer he has proven to be when unburdened with the past and based upon the ending of this issue there is ample potential for this.
Doom Patrol #7
DC’s Young Animal