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Writer: Gerard Way
Artist: Nick Derington
Colorist: Tamra Bonvillain
Letterer: Todd Klein
Doom Patrol, from Gerard Way and Nick Derington, is the first book from the new DC’s Young Animal imprint. This book will keep you on your toes. They have introduced us to a variety of characters that all seem a bit eccentric. Our main character, Casey Brinke, is an ambulance driver who only wants to do good things in life. She comes across as someone willing to take chances even when people find her to be a little weird. The majority of the other people we meet seem to be from different worlds. There appears to be a race of robots that live on a gyro. I’m still trying to wrap my head around that one. We also meet a couple other races that I’m not sure what they are or where they live. I just know it’s not Earth.
While Way is probably best known for his time in the band My Chemical Romance, he is also a talented writer. He is no stranger to the comic world having published The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys and the Eisner winning The Umbrella Academy: Apocalypse Suite. I shouldn’t surprise anyone that he has constructed a story that holds our attention and keeps us turning the page. All of Way’s characters have distinct and believable voices, including that cat. You get an idea of what these characters are all about and maybe even relate to a couple of them. Everyone has their own personality and none of them feel cliche. There are moments however where it feels like there is a disconnect in the story, but it does leave room for sub-stories to be fleshed out in future issues. It will be interesting to see how all the storylines are inter-connected. There is one page about Nick Caulder that I would really like explained to me more than anything.
Derington’s art combined with Tamra Bonvilain’s coloring sets the tone. There are panels that look like they went in with colored pencils and that really differentiates them from the main story. Along with the colored pencil look Derington’s drawing style in those panels makes it appear as if there was more than one artist working on the book. It shows versatility, which is great for any artist telling a story. The colors in those panels are muted compared to the vibrancy in the rest of the book. I’m not sure if Todd Klein or Derington are responsible for the speech and thought bubbles, but the fact that they were stylized to match appearance of characters was a nice touch. Klein also used a different lettering style based on the text or type of character speaking. It’s something small, but it makes a big impact on the rest of the book.
As someone that is familiar with Gerard Way’s work, I went into this with some preconceived ideas. The storyline was unexpected at times. The overall feel is exactly what I expected. It’s a fun book to read albeit somewhat random at times. This might be the most absurd story I have ever read in comics. That being said, I do want to read more. If the other titles Young Animal publishes are anything like this book, I think they will gain a strong following.
Gerard Way and Nick Derington have put together a solid book that will appeal to many readers. It’s a departure from the heroes and villains that fill the shelves, and an always welcome change. The story is far from boring, constantly keeping you guessing. The artwork is solid all around. The whole creative team put out a book that people will want to read and continue reading. Anyone that is a fan of Way’s other titles should definitely pick this up. Doom Patrol is a book that I will be adding to my personal collection as well. I’m looking forward to seeing more from this series and from the Young Animal imprint. My biggest question walking away from this book is, “what’s going on with Niles Caulder?”