Review: Doom Patrol #10
After a bit of a break, Doom Patrol is back and hurling full force into wackiness as the team faces Casey Brinke’s roommate Terry None’s dad Mr. Nobody in a world full of $#*!. It’s surreal, a bit meta (The kinda sorta framing narrative of “Retconn”), brightly colored by Tamra Bonvillain, and has some decent character moments like Casey realizing that she has real feelings for Terry or the Reynolds family pleading with their distant son Lucius to stop messing with reality as the sorcerer pawn of Mr. Nobody. Sometimes, it seems like writer Gerard Way is trying too hard to be Grant Morrison or be too clever to his own good, but for the most part, he and artists Nick Derington and Tom Fowler and colorist Bonvillain craft an entertaining story with punching, chaos, and embrace the weird, loose side of corporate superhero comics with ever shifting team lineups and gimmicks like death, marriages, and capital c Crises and crossovers to sell books and keep readers engaged.
The first three pages of Doom Patrol #10 are a wonderful representation of the creative madness of the Brotherhood of Dada (Of which Mr. Nobody was a member.) with Derington and Fowler drawing Terry None tap dancing while seemingly regular humans transform after eating $#*! There are all kinds of gross pollen things floating around to her smooth dance moves with Bonvillain giving this world the sickly sweet palette of a garishly colored kid’s bedroom or one of those overly nostalgic documentary about old toys and how much they cost now. Derington, Fowler, and Bonvillain take a break from the stimulus to draw a close-up of Casey Brinke slowing coming to as she comes to grips with her roommate/possible lover being the daughter of a bad guy as well as trying to learn the rules of yet another rule bending and breaking dreamy world. Even though Doom Patrol is assembled, Way and company still use Casey as an entry point to the title despite her being non-existent according to the wannabe wise mentor Niles Caulder.
The overall narrative structure of Doom Patrol #10 is basically “$#*! continues to escalate until the entire comic book medium collapses in the end”, but Way buoys his script with hilarious and ass-kicking moments between the head scratching ones. Instead of being a metafictional comment on the different eras of superhero comics like in the 1996 Grant Morrison/Frank Quitely miniseries, Flex Mentallo continues to embrace his roots as a Charles Atlas parody and spout off facts about having a well-balanced diet and exercising at inopportune times. He is a fantastic source of comic relief, and the fact that his vast “Hero of the Beach” powers can’t save the day shows Mr. Nobody’s strength as a villain.
Even though they’re not Doom Patrol team members technically, I love the interactions between Sam (Casey’s old EMT partner) and his ex-cult member wife Valerie Reynolds and their son Lucius, who has become an edgy, manipulated teen sorcerer. In an eight and nine panel grid, Way, Derington, and Fowler create a heartfelt family reunion where Valerie (Who had previously been mind controlled by a personality of Crazy Jane.) empathizes with the fact that Lucius is facing forces beyond his control. They almost get a nice family reunion, but the arc isn’t over yet, and the big moment is interrupted by a red and yellow Bonvillain palette and magic critters.
In Doom Patrol #10, Gerard Way, Nick Derington, Tom Fowler, and Tamra Bonvillain embrace the sheer, often candy colored ridiculousness of superhero comics from fight scene that takes place in a sort of supermarket and features Flex Mentallo chasing a headless pair of legs, gym socks, and tight whiteys to an “Animal Man meets his maker” for the binge watching age. That second bit is still in the setup, but hopefully Way and company stick the landing after the filling the final pages of the issues with pure negative space probably representing all the contradictory continuity they have to sift through while making a Doom Patrol book.
At times, Doom Patrol seems to be Morrisonian for the sake of being Morrisonian, but Way’s writing has sly humor and bits of sweet humanity and Derington, Fowler, and Bonvillain’s art has a manic, sugar high rush that makes it stand out from DC’s more “traditional” books. Plus Robotman punching things a lot is always a good time.
Story: Gerard Way Pencils: Nick Derington Inks: Tom Fowler Colors: Tamra Bonvillain
Story: 7.5 Art: 8.0 Overall: 7.7 Recommendation: Read
DC Comics/Young Animal provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review