Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Review: Doom Patrol “Happy Birthday, Casey Brinke: Brick by Brick- Part One”

Submitted: Ken Trickey, Comic News Writer
23 September 16

Writer: Gerald Way
Artist: Nick Derington

Something strange this way comes. Young Animal’s Doom Patrol #1 is a disjointed, schizophrenic series of incomprehensible events that lack cohesion. Before we continue, I feel it necessary to confess that I am totally unfamiliar with this franchise. I have, so far, been unsuccessful in my attempts to alleviate my ignorance as there doesn't seem to be a great deal of information about the series outside of rather dated source material, and what I have briefly seen of that doesn't appear to closely resemble its current iteration. It is entirely possible, if not probable, that longtime fans will breeze through these vignettes, these small moments, with a complete understanding of their meaning. To those readers, I apologize, but Doom Patrol is not friendly to newcomers.

Casey Brinke, the protagonist, appears to be an expert ambulance driver with an unreliable memory and a need to do good deeds at every opportunity. Her after-hours riffing session with a coworker provides us with an entry point into a strange world existing within a gyro. The gyro-based world introduces us to a humanoid robot as he escapes and assumes the normal size of a man before being shattered by a garbage truck. There also appears to be an alien conspiracy involving fast food, a homeless man who has lost a friend, a lion riddled with arrows, and a looming nuclear apocalypse. What any of these things have to do with each other is well beyond my reach.

The artwork in this comic is enjoyable. The deep purple and blue colors of Casey’s environment are rich but not oversaturated. The shift in style for the gyro’s microcosm provides a distinctive visual cue so that, even if most everything else is unclear, the transition to another world is easy to pick up on.

The Verdict: All in all, I am glad to see DC is experimenting with its new Young Animal imprint. A company with a legacy like DC needs some room for this sort of thing in order to stay relevant. That being said, this is not a series that just anyone can pick up and understand. Newcomers, beware: this issue was not written with you in mind. There's something unique happening here. It might be worth investigating, but the story better start to come together before its whimsical charm wears off.

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