Trippy weirdness that is Gerard Way’s ‘’Doom Patrol”
by rick olivares
Rock stars writing comic books are nothing new. To name a few, there’s prog rock outfit Coheed and Cambria’s Claudio Sanchez who gave life to his band’s concept albums with “Amory Wars”. Rage Against the Machine’s Tom Morello penned a 12-issue science fiction limited series, “Orchid”, that was published by Dark Horse Comics. Shock rocker Rob Zombie has written quite a few horror comics with his most recent one, “Whatever Happened to Baron Von Shock?” released by Image Comics. Hole frontwoman Courtney Love released a manga-inspired series titled, “Princess Ai”.
And most recently, there’s My Chemical Romance’s vocalist Gerard Way who after penning the excellent “The Umbrella Academy” for Vertigo Comics has been given his own sandbox in the industry – DC Comics’ Young Animal imprint, a mature reader’s line where to date, he is writing three of the four announced titles --- “Doom Patrol”, “Cave Carson Has a Cybernetic Eye”, and “Mother Panic”.
“Shade the Changing Girl”, the fourth title under the sub-brand, is written by Cecil Castellucci.
I picked up “Doom Patrol” because of Way's penchant for producing off-beat stories. Now the title has been around since the 1960s but it only received a massive lift in interest and popularity when Scottish writer par excellence Grant Morrison came on board a couple of decades ago. Since then… well, everyone feels the weight of Morrison’s work on their hunched shoulders.
Rather than strike out in another direction, Way and artist Nick Derington walk in Morrison shoes and make the title their own despite things not making any sense after two issues in. The story seems disjointed with so many sub-plots going on but I have only savored every panel of every page. The method to the madness will eventually be revealed and this book has zoomed to my Top 10 comics from regular Pull List.
Imagine Robot Man bursting out a microscopic world that resides in a burrito! Niles Caulder, the Chief, ad leader of Doom Patrol has so far made weird cameo appearances. So far, no sightings of Elasti-Woman, Element Woman, and Negative Man as Emergency Medical Technicians’ Sam and Casey have taken the front row seat.
But even if it isn’t the Doom Patrol that I and many others know, it’s a wonderful and trippy read into the weird. And the last time I got this vibe was reading Peter Milligan and Michael Allred’s “X-Statix” from Marvel. I somewhat enjoyed Way’s “The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys” (a six-issue series published by Dark Horse from mid-2013 to early 2014 that served as a sequel of sorts to My Chemical Romance’s album, “Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys”. Yet it didn’t have the impact that “The Umbrella Academy” did in terms of grabbing me as I thought Fabulous Killjoys got too caught up in its weirdness and ambitiousness that it ended without a sonic boom. But “Doom Patrol” has a magic of its own.
Derington’s art coupled with the psychedelic pastiche of colors by the talented Tamra Bonvillain greatly add to my “what-is-going-on” bliss.
If this whole review didn’t make any sense, then go pick up Gerard Way’s “Doom Patrol”. We can trade non-sequitur’s later.