It’s been quite some time since Gerad Way has published any kind of ongoing comic series. The last one he did was The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys, co-written with Shaun Simon, and that was back in 2013. So, the world of comics was in need of his return. He’d been teasing the third volume of The Umbrella Academy for years now, and it was beginning to look like we’d never see another ongoing series from him again. Then came DC’s announcement of the Young Animal imprint, spearheaded by Way himself. Along with the imprint would be his first ongoing series in ages, a reboot of Doom Patrol. The big question is: was his return to comics worth the wait? Answer: yes. In volume 1 of Doom Patrol, Way reintroduces readers to the unconventional team of heroes through the lens of Casey Brinke, an EMS driver who is drawn into a series of weird circumstances when she finds the broken body of Robotman. Casey and the other members of the team must outwit a bunch of aliens who want control of a magic, sentient van that can create life. So, basically, it’s a pretty typical subject matter for a Gerard Way comic.
The good news is that Doom Patrol is really good. The first issue is a bit offputting, especially to people unfamiliar with the property. But once the second issue starts, things begin to fall into place and mesh into a story that’s both engaging and action packed as well as emotional and moving. With Doom Patrol, Gerard Way reminds us of why he’s such a welcome voice in the comics industry. The main storyline revolves around Casey Brinke’s journey into this world, and her reactions as she remembers who she is and what her part in this whole story is. Way was smart to have her be the audience’s way into the story, as it works both for people who are familiar with the original runs and for those who have never read an issue of Doom Patrol in their lives.
Like all of Way’s stories, each character has a well developed and consistent personality throughout the series. Where he suffers, as always, is the plot. It’s not a bad plot, by any means, but he often strays from it and his conclusions almost never fully live up to their setups. It’s not a major problem; it’s not like the conclusion to this arc is bad – it’s quite good. But it’s not as good as it could be, and that tends to be the case with all of Way’s comics. It’s as though he writes himself into a corner and can’t quite get himself out, so he pulls something out of his hat and it doesn’t quite work the way he thinks or hopes it will. The benefit of this story, however, is that there’s the promise of much more story to come. Since this is an ongoing comic, instead of a limited series, the audience has more time with the characters to look forward to, and that’s the book’s best strength.
Alongside Way’s remarkable character writing comes wonderful artwork from Nick Derrington. He has a style that’s unique to the book but works perfectly. Each character has a well distinguished, well thought out design that makes sense for who they are what the character needs. The facial expressions are spot on and he’s great with background work. His artwork is easily the best aspect of the book.
Overall, Doom Patrol, Volume 1 is a good read. It’s enjoyable, full of interesting characters, and lined with good artwork.
I give it four out of five wands.