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Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Doom Patrol #1 Review



I have anticipated this comic release more than any other ever; Grant Morrison's take on Doom Patrol was one of my favorite runs on a comic, as well as being the greatest influence on my own work - its weirdness felt in almost all of my comics, including The Almighties, Geek-Girl, and Cabra Cini: Voodoo Junkie Hitwoman.

The new DP is the fourth attempt at relaunching the book successfully since the run that began written by Paul Kupperberg; which Morrison then came in and shook things up on, before handing (what was left of) the Doom Patrol to Rachel Pollack.

Though they had their moments (for me, most notably the Rita Farr-centric issue during Keith Giffen's run) - subsequent returns to the team just weren't out there enough, after what Morrison turned things into - and didn't sustain an audience.

Enter Gerard Way, whom also cites Morrison DP as a big influence (something evidenced in his Umbrella Academy mini-series)... and I had high hopes for this new incarnation.

I'm very pleased to say, it doesn't disappoint. In fact, it's better than I'd hoped for.

Following an ambiguous and pleasingly weird opening page (including a bomb marked 'Grandma'), we enter the world of ambulance driver Casey Brinke. She and her medi-partner Sam are running red lights, bringing an old feller to the hospital.

Job done, it's break time - and while Casey plays an arcade game, Sam waxes lyrical on hidden universes and posits the idea of one being contained in his gyro (the book's regular cover has a peel-and-reveal gyro on it).

(right-click on image and 'open in new tab' to enlarge)

In another world, Doom Patrol's Main Man Cliff 'Robotman' Steele is on a mission, culminating in him pushing a button that blasts him out of said world and into Casey & Sam's.

I won't reveal too much more, so as to avoid spoilers...

That said, the feeling, reading this book, was akin to watching Star Wars: The Force Awakens - it feels like coming home. Way and Derrington's debut taps into previous incarnations, including the most recent one by Keith Giffen, Matthew Clark & Ron Randall, which reintroduced us to Danny - the sentient sometime street, sometime world; most recently island (discounting the New 52 incarnation) - who plays an integral part here.

Using a couple of different styles, Nick Derington does a nice job of illustrating the darker and more bizarre elements, alongside Casey Brinke's world (our entry point to the bizarreness of the Doom Patrol) and her wide-eyed disposition.

The Weird is back, but fresh at the same time - and I am so in for this ride...

* Cover featured may not accurately represent the gyro. ;)

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