Doom Patrol #1 (DC Comics)
It’s been a few years since Gerard Way, the lead singer of the My Chemical Romance, had a book on the comic stands. But his return to the paneled page could not have come with more hype. Not only is he writing a new take on Doom Patrol, he’s also the creative force behind “Young Animal”, DC’s new publishing imprint that’s kind of like Vertigo if it was really into punk and zines. As the first book in the initiative and the first mainstream series written by Way, all eyes are on Doom Patrol.
Let’s get this out of the way right now: Doom Patrol is a weird book. Is it weirder than Way’s other comics? No, but it’s still pretty weird. This opening issue follows Casey Brinke, an ambulance driver who loves her job, but only when she’s getting to drive people to the hospital. To her, the thrill of helping people and getting them the care they need is enough to get her by. But soon weird things start happening to her. A robot that looks like a man comes stumbling out of an alley that Brinke arrives at for a 911 call, and an intergalactic telegram messenger arrives with a birthday message, even though it’s not Casey’s birthday.
Gerard Way’s script does a good job of juxtaposing all this weirdness with the seemingly mundane existence that Brinke lives. Sure, there are moments where Doom Patrol gets a little TOO weird (Robot Man, for instance, was on a mission inside of a Gyro sandwich that Casey’s partner was eating before crashing into that alley), but it also doesn’t become so weird that it’s incomprehensible to read. As someone who has only a passing knowledge of the Doom Patrol, this weirdness actually made the book more enjoyable, as I was able to relate to Casey when it came to not knowing just what the hell was going on. Way smartly knows where to cut back and let the story breathe, but you can tell that there’s a lot of self control being used though.
Nick Derington’s art in this issue is stellar. He handles everything the script throws at him, whether it’s Casey’s ambulance blasting through busy city streets or the battle raging inside of the gyro. Derington’s cartoonish style works extremely well for this series, and it’s going to be really interesting and exciting seeing what he comes up with as the series continues.
Doom Patrol #1 is weird, but it’s a good weird. Sure, there are moments where you’ll be scratching your head a little bit, and it doesn’t tell you anything about the Doom Patrol, but there’s something undeniably interesting about this book. If the point of Young Animal was to create conversations about their books, Doom Patrol is certainly a great start for the imprint.