If you’ve been reading my reviews of the Doom Patrol series on DC Universe (and if not, why haven’t you?) then you already know something about the stars of this series. Billed as “The World’s Strangest Heroes” when they first appeared in 1963, the Doom Patrol were protecting a world that hates and fears them for several months before Marvel’s Merry Mutants made their first appearance in X-Men #1. Doom Patrol was a far stranger book, however, and the recent DC Universe series perfectly captured the insane spirit of a comic whose most normal protagonist was a race-car driver whose brain was transplanted into a robot body.
Continuing the DC Rebirth version of the team penned by Gerrard Way for DC Comics’ Young Animal line, Doom Patrol: Weight Of The Worlds #1 reintroduces us to the various members of the Doom Patrol. At least, we are made aware of their existence, but very little is explained. This makes this issue a little difficult to get into if you haven’t read the previous series or are a fan of the show checking out the comics for the first time.
Way does a generally good job of summing up the character’s concepts, but doesn’t delve much into their personalities or backstories. Lotion The Cat and Lucius Reynolds – two characters introduced during Way’s run – suffer the worst in this regard, not being well-defined in the introduction beyond their status as a talking cat-man and a magically empowered preteen. Very little is also said about why Cliff Steele is now in the human body of a middle-aged man, beyond a brief explanation that this Cliff is not the Cliff we knew, but a fictional version of himself imagined into being. And if that sentence makes you confused, I should warn you that it’s only going to get more confusing from here.
Once the team is assembled along with Larry Trainor’s new emotional support animal, the team ride off in search of people to help in Danny The Ambulance. (Formerly Danny the Street, but still also Dannyland – a theme park inside Danny The Ambulance.) This leads them to the planet Orbius – a world of fitness fanatics, where failure to even try and adhere to the ideal form of the great god Jud’la results in strict punishment. Naturally there’s something screwy at the heart of this society and the Doom Patrol has to solve the problem before the whole of Orbius is consumed by The Marathon Eternal – a race on an unending treadmill.
Weird? Beyond belief. But utterly engaging and brilliant if you like this sort of thing. There’s also a subplot involving Cliff Steele trying to reconcile with his mother and a sequence at the end of the book that seems to be a rather effective parody/tribute of the opening of Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns, both in terms of the narration and the artwork.
Talking of the artwork, James Harvey does an amazing job of making this book visually interesting. The perspective and style are ever-shifting, yet are somehow easy to follow as the story flows from panel to panel. While the characters may be hard to get a handle on, there’s no trouble following the action of the story through the artwork. Simply put, this is one amazing looking book.
Doom Patrol: Weight Of The Worlds #1 may not be everyone’s cup of tea. But for those who appreciate a truly creative tale and equally exotic artwork, this is a series well worth checking out.
Doom Patrol: Weight Of The Worlds #1 releases on July 3, 2019!
Written by The Critic The Internet Deserves, but not the one it needs right now…. Matt Morrison. He’s a smart-ass guardian. A sarcastic protector. A Snark Knight.