I will say this about Heavy Metal’s comics, no two titles are alike. Hell, they’re not even close. Doorman is the third title from Heavy Metal that I’ve checked out and it may only be their third title… I don’t know if there’s one that I’ve missed or not and it’s not going to help or hurt this review for me to look it up… okay it’s the third I looked it up. Doorman presents an interesting concept on its front page:
“Every populated planet has a DOOR.”
“Those who operate the DOORS are known as PORTERS - - Interplanetary doormen who usher visitors from world to world.”
It goes on from there to establish some backstory and essentially it lays out the rules for the world. Which with sci-fi stories it’s not terrible. It’s better than exposition from one character to another so let’s not knock it as it opts to get it out of the way quickly.
The first issue establishes our main characters of Henry Clay Waters and Detective Flower. Henry is Earth’s Porter and he’s never had a visitor in all of his forty-five years on the job. His one and only visitor arrives and is there to kill him. He’s narrowly saved by Detective Flower after causing a scene and breaking a lot of Porter rules. Soon they become wrapped up in a conspiracy by the Universe’s richest and most powerful man whose goal is to shut down the doors so that people will use his spaceships to travel. Money… it’s a motivator.
The second issue sees that plan take more and more steps in the favor of our crazy rich person who happens to have Flower’s boss in his pocket and tells him to kill her and Henry. Henry manages a plan that saves them and there’s an extra twist added to the story at the end of the issue.
You’re not supposed to take this story too seriously. Henry is the straight man while everyone else is pretty much over the top versions of their character architypes. The story has an interesting concept, but it’s a little predictable with its set up and the “woe is me” last day on the job routine from Henry. The fairly obvious guess is that everything will wrap up with a tight bow around it and Henry will train the next generations of Porters or at the very least we’ll have the door’s origins revealed to us or both.
That’s honestly not the reason to read the comic. It’s entertaining. I didn’t bust a gut reading it, but I did have fun with it. I really think that if it was an animated story or live action that it would be funnier. We don’t have a feel for the characters and we’re not going to be with them long enough to really understand them. It’s good dialogue, but it’s performance dialogue. It needs a performer to breathe life into it.
While the art is very good I think that it sometimes misses in the humor department. There are definitely times when it’s spot on, but others… not so much. In particular I think Flower’s featureless face hurts her comedy since she’s the funny one. The design limits the range of emotions and often times leaves her with the same few emotions sprawled across her face. In general, the art is strong enough to raise up the story. The coloring is also very strong and gives the book a sci-fi/alien look to it.
Again, you’re not going to bust out laughing on this book, actually you might. My experience isn’t yours so it’s quite possible that you’ll laugh at Doorman which is the point of the series, to make you laugh. Even if you don’t laugh out loud you’ll still find a well-plotted and different sci-fi story waiting for your eyes to take a gander.
Doorman #1-2 Writers: Eliot Rahal, Daniel Kibblesmith Artist: Kendall Goode Flat Colors: David B. Cooper Publisher: Heavy Metal Price: $3.50 Release Date: 3/10/16 (Issue 2) Format: Print/Digital