Group Review: Doom Patrol #1

Get out your glow sticks, because Gerard Way’s DC imprint, Young Animal is launching this week with Doom Patrol. Each participating reviewer will give their score and their reason for the score, kind of like a regular review but with more people. No recap of the issue, let’s jump in.

dpa_cv1_ASA: 4/5

Doom Patrol #1 is at once entirely absurd, incomprehensible, and more than a little charming. I normally would have a more negative reaction to such a crazy, hard to follow read, but frankly, Doom Patrol is a franchise where crazy and incomprehensible is sort of the goal. I may feel less charitable towards this issue if, when all is said and done, it turns out none of these details make sense, but for the moment, I enjoyed it a lot. Gerard Way's dialogue is super sharp (“I find your vigor for life highly irritating”) and his plotting is, while as I said, random and strange, instantly funny.

But the real hero of this issue is Nick Derington, an artist I am not at all familiar with whose work here is charismatic and expressive. It reminds me a little of Emmi Lennox with its warmly stylized character designs, but there's no sense of sketchiness to Derington's line. Everything is precise, detailed, and (I fear overusing the word) charming. I would defy anyone not to fall in love with the image of Casey wearing Robotman's ridiculous coat, and the book has no shortage of small, indelible moments.  The use of colored pencil interlude to show another world (it makes sense in context...or more aptly it doesn't) is also a nice touch.

All in all, it's a weird book that I hope forms something greater out of its weird parts over the next few months. As is, I am fully on board.

dpa_cv1_bolland_varCHRIS: 2/5

Alright, so I just read it. I haven’t talked to anyone else about it (I did try to explain Danny the Street to my girlfriend, however. She told me to shut the fuck up being weird.) The first thing I’ll say about this book is I’m not entirely sold on the artwork. It’s pretty bog-standard stuff, and I wanted more than that. There wasn’t anything that stood out visually for me, which was disappointing. The story itself has a few bits that made me raise my eyebrows, but overall it wasn’t all that great. It seemed very jerky, too. Like flipping through TV channels late at night and not really giving a shit what’s on because you stopped paying attention half an hour earlier. It nails the weirdness that needs to be there for this book, but at times it felt like it over shot it and was just being weird for weird’s sake and not really adding anything to the story.

This might be a case of me being a bit too excited for the return of Doom Patrol to monthly comic books, expecting too much from it and being bitterly disappointed. I don’t think I was expecting too much, though. I just think this book was bad. I was expecting something weird and dark… Fun but in a creepy sort of way. This is the sort of book that needs to be reviewed by CB. This book will sell a shit ton because Gerard Way is attached to it. Not because it’s any good, purely due to the fact a lot of people know his name and want to see what he writes like. To those people: If you’ve never bought a comic before in your life, stay away from this one. Buy something decent instead.

I’m interested to hear what everyone else thinks. I rarely give up on a book after only one issue, but I don’t think I’ll be carrying on with it after this.

dpa_cv1_greene_varDUSTIN: 5/5

Let’s get something out of the way real quick like. I have never read anything Doom Patrol. Nothing. I probably won’t either because I’ve seen it overanalyzed to the point that I lost interest. This was my first experience with Doom Patrol, and while I had no idea who was who and what was what, I loved it. I loved being confused, but interested. This is how you do that. You can throw me the fuck into the story, but you better make sure it’s goddamn fun, and this was.

I worried about with Gerard Way we would get; would it be Umbrella Academy or Killjoys? Because I sure as shit didn’t want Killjoys to show up. Thankfully, this is something new. It’s neither, but still really fucking good (I’m swearing a lot because this is a group review and it’s the perfect place to run my mouth, deal with it).

The art was fantastic. It was detailed, it was different, but it didn’t feel out of place in a DC book. I hope that Nick Derington is giving every opportunity to keep going and that the schedule won’t bring on another artist for a while.

This is what DC needed. Not that I give two actual shits about what they do, but if you’re going to be different from Marvel, do what made you special in the first place, and it’s having stuff like this, having a billion imprints and giving readers different books to read. Don’t make them a “DC reader” make them a “Young Animal" reader or a “Vertigo Reader” and hell even a “Wild Storm” reader. Because money is money and if someone wants a line of books that’s run a certain way, does a particular thing, then why do you care if “DC” is the biggest logo on the book? I loved this. Confused as fuck, but I loved this and can’t wait for more Doom Patrol, but more so I can’t wait to see what else Young Animal has to offer.

dpa_cv1_hernandez_varPATRICK: 4/5

Grant Morrison’s comics were my gateway into the DC universe. They were this exemplary amalgam of what made superhero comics great as it balanced abstract and new ideas with bluntly made heroes tackling impossible scenarios. They took risks and portrayed things you couldn’t find in any other medium.

Relaunching the Doom Patrol in the same vein as Morrison’s run is a daunting task and one the comic succeeds at meeting. The new Doom Patrol is weird. It captures that essential weirdness of its predecessor but manages to adapt the style to feel wholly modern.

This is a controlled weirdness. Never does the comic feel like it is throwing things at a wall and seeing what sticks. Everything here feels deliberately constructed even if I can’t what it’s building. It’s grounded in a lead character in such a way I never knew I wanted from a Doom Patrol book with crisp dialog between characters that felt relatable. Yet Doom Patrol #1 still seamlessly shifts between genre, art styles, and realities, delivering nods to Morrison’s run while introducing a new, weird and intriguing threat.

Doom Patrol #1 is a book that’s guaranteed to alienate some readers. There was even this creeping sense of “so what?” as I reached the end of the issue.  There seems to an absence of a forward momentum that’ll lead the comic down a united narrative path. Yet at the same time, this resonated as the type of comic weirdness that got me here in the first place and executed in a way that other comics just aren’t doing. To put it shortly, I’m in Doom Patrol. Now show me where we’re going with this.

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Writer: Gerard Way Artist: Nick Derington Colorist: Tamra Bonvillian Publisher: DC/Young Animal Price: $3.99 Format: Ongoing; Print/Digital