Ricky Church reviews Doom Patrol. Vol. 1: Brick by Brick…
A blenderized reimagining of the ultimate series of the strange, DOOM PATROL combines elements from classic runs, new directions and things that could not be. Our entry point is Casey Brinke, a young E.M.T. on the graveyard shift to abstract enlightenment, with a past so odd that she’s not entirely sure what is real and what is not. Along with her partner, Sam Reynolds, the pair blaze a path through the city and its denizens, finding the only quiet that exists at 3 a.m. is the chaos of the brain. When the pair answer a hit-and-run call, they find themselves face to face with a familiar figure: Cliff Steele, a.k.a. Robotman. This first DOOM PATROL trade paperback collects issues #1-6.
The last few years have seen the Doom Patrol, a team made up of some of DC’s strangest superheroes, rather sidelined in the advent of The New 52. DC’s Young Animal imprint is set to change this with Gerard Way writing the new Doom Patrol series with Nick Derington on art. What readers end up with in Doom Patrol Vol. 1: Brick by Brick is a cooky series that is unlike what we get in DC Rebirth, full of crazy moments, characters and fairly good artwork.
Way’s take on Doom Patrol is very much in line with Grant Morrison’s. There’s a lot of zaniness to be had here that’s in the spirit of Morrison, yet Way is still able to put his own stamp on it. He writes some very interesting comedy and intriguing scenes, though it may take a little bit for new readers to figure out just what is going on. What may seem random in fact has a point by the end of the story as the Doom Patrol comes together to fight a powerful and mysterious force.
Introduced in this story are two new characters to the Doom Patrol: Casey Bricke and Sam Reynolds, two EMTs who get dragged into the crazy world of the Doom Patrol just as Casey discovers her secret history. Both are great additions, but Casey is the real star of the show as the story largely follows her. There’s a quirkiness to her character and something funny about the way she just accepts everything that’s happening in a nonchalant way.
The other characters are entertaining as well. Classic Doom Patrol mainstays like Cliff Steele, Negative Man, Flex Mentallo and Crazy Jane all feature in the story while Niles Caulder gets a few hints at his involvement. Each start out separately from each other, but by the end of the book they, along with Casey and Sam, come together. The various plot threads intermix well with each other, even if readers might not have the clearest idea of what is actually happening due to the craziness of it all.
Brick by Brick does move along at a fast pace, partly because of the crazy structure but also because of Way’s writing. Things never get too bogged down by story and he’s able to keep the reader’s interest to discover what’s happening to these characters. The art also helps keep the readers entertained. Derington illustrates some very interesting and unusual images. Tamra Bonvillain’s colours also pop, using a large variety to make this book standout. It’s definitely got an appealing and unique look and feel.
Way keeps the spirit of Morrison alive in Doom Patrol, but manages to utilize his own voice in this new series. The characters are well written with the story moving at a good pace. New readers might be confused at the start just because of how out there the series is, but its an easy hurdle to jump over as the story moves along. It’s an interesting and fun introduction at what is to come from Way and Young Animal.