I haven’t always been the pop culture nerd that I am today. From my very beginnings, cinema has always been the cornerstone and foundation for my love of the medium. Before attaching myself to comics, it was music. Specifically the rock genre. I fell head over heels for bands like Kiss, Green Day, UnderOath and My Chemical Romance. The fact that a band said “I’m not okay, you wear me out.” (My Chemical Romance, “I’m Not Okay (I Promise)” It resonated with my angsty, and somewhat depressed, teenage self in a rare way. As that portion of my life started to fade and comics started to enter, I had no idea that in time the worlds of My Chemical Romance and comics were about to collide.
Gerard Way, lead singer to My Chemical Romance, first came across as a comic writer for his original series, The Umbrella Academy. I picked it up merely because I knew HIS name – no prior knowledge of what to expect and honestly, I was surprised at how much I found myself in awe of him as a writer. Fast forward a couple of years and DC Comics makes an announcement of their company and Way partnering on a new imprint entitled, “Young Animal”. The imprint launched with six titles and is currently inactive but one of the titles was a reboot of a DC title familiar to fans, Doom Patrol.
Within the first arc of the “Young Animal” version, we are introduced to Casey Brinke and dismembered variation of the Doom Patrol. Throughout the duration of its’ first six issues, the title manages to not only reunite the core team (minus team leader Niles Caulder or “The Chief”) and build on some new members. Let’s face it origin stories are the hardest type of stories to tell. Especially when you’re playing with a property that already has a fanbase and readers are already familiar with them. Having been through the hands of talents like Grant Morrison, Keith Giffen, John Bryne and more; Way has big shoes to fill.
The thing that I’ve grown to love most about these character is the weird and bizarre nature where these stories can go. Only being minorly familiar with these titles and exclusively with Morrison’s late 80s run, he took these characters into some pretty unusual territories. Way does a phenomenal job at bringing these characters together, while also moving the mythology of the franchise forward. Slowly pacing and focusing the story on a character like Casey Brinke allows the reader to come along for the ride and grow closer with Brinke. It’s established early on that Brinke is merely an outsider to the team who meets the established members of the team simply by chance and fate. The introduction and build of the team flow so flawlessly. Way marvelously paces himself as a storyteller to tell the reunion of these beloved characters but also to bring new readers along with new characters like Brinke. Creating an emotional connection that pays off long before the arc’s climatic third act.
Sometimes when you have writing as strong as Way’s is here – the art can suffer. However that is far from the case with this title. With art from the team of Nick Derington & Tamara Bonvillain; this book soars in artistic weirdness and uniqueness. The book snaps, crackles and pops from a world that overflows with color. Even when the color palette or panel calls for a darker shade, Derington and Bonvillain manage to illuminate the darkest corners of this book and breathe life within it.
Overall, Doom Patrol (Vol. One): Brick by Brick, is a masterpiece of the medium. The creative team brings a team of misfits from the depths of DC’s underground and brings them forth to the modern age. Doing so, in away that is welcoming for new readers and old readers alike. This title manages to build upon the mythology already established. Gerard Way masterfully builds an emotionally charged arc that will immediately make you crave seconds. Not to mention the art team of Nick Derington & Tamara Bonvillain will light up your eyes long after you close the pages of this book. Both manage to create a weird, wonderful and electrifying book that comes alive right before your eyes. Doom Patrol is a must for every lover of the medium.
FINAL SCORE: 5 / 5
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