Doom Patrol #1

by Kalem Lalonde on September 14, 2016

Writer: Gerard Way
Artist: Nick Derrington

I feel like an inadequate fan saying that Grant Morrison is my favourite comic writer and I have never read Doom Patrol. Unfortunately, that limitation seems to have prevented me from fully appreciating this new series by Gerard Way and Nick Derrington. While there are some promising aspects to this debut, I feel that it ultimately hasn’t set-up anything interesting or coherent for me to latch on to. Doom Patrol #1 is a strange comic that may not make much sense, or may just be inaccessible to new readers.

Doom Patrol #1 is fortunately rendered readable due to its protagonist who shines as something comprehensible in story full of confusion. Casey Brinke is set up as an interesting enough character despite not being an immediate reason to continue reading this book. The focus of her character is placed her attachment to doing good and saving lives on the job. Doom Patrol #1 may be very confusing but if you just follow the establishment of Casey’s character there is enough interesting material to get you through the entire issue.

Unfortunately, Casey, and her dynamic with her partner Sam, is not good enough to redeem this comic beyond its muddled structure and confusing plot. Look, Gerard Way is a highly talented writer and I am positive he has more comprehensible issues coming down the line, but the writing style of this issue does not feel right for a debut comic. Not having read the previous volume of Doom Patrol is definitely an obstacle in the way of my understanding of this issue but I feel that even beyond that the structure is not accessible to anyone.

In the middle of conversations, the comic would jump to a completely unrelated scene without any explanation or context. Sometimes it felt like Way just wanted to show you what was up with certain characters but it never felt like the right moment to insert it in the book. Instead of feeling like an organized comic, it felt incredibly jumbled an confusing. It also doesn’t help that a lot of what happens in the story that can be followed does not make any sense. It’s a difficult read because the comic does not try to help you understand what is actually happening. This may be subtle world building in the long run but for now it just feels strange and confusing.

Nick Derrington is definitely the best part of this issue. His art is smooth and easy to follow. There is an innocent quality to his character that helps this comic feel a little bit lighter than the plot structure allows the story to be. It must be said that he is also able to convey the horror of the final pages of the comic and brutality of what is being shown. Derrington really shines in this issue. So far, he is the main attraction for this book.

Doom Patrol #1 has a good protagonist, very good art, and an incredibly confusing structure. A lot of the good aspects of the book are weighed down by the overall feeling that nothing really makes sense. I’m sure the very talented Gerard Way has better things in store for this book down the line, but for now I certainly am disappointed with the way Doom Patrol #1 turned out.

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