Wednesday, November 9, 2016
Doom Patrol #3 Review and **SPOILERS**
Hooray for Dannywood
Writer: Gerard Way
Artist: Nick Derington
Colorist: Tamra Bonvillain (Special Thanks to Marissa Louise)
Letterer: Todd Klein
Cover: Nick Derington
Cover Price: $3.99
On Sale Date: November 9, 2016
**NON SPOILERS AND SCORE AT THE BOTTOM**
I’ve wondered why I like the Doom Patrol so much, why the team in its many iterations is my favorite in all of comics. I suppose it’s as much a matter of chance as anything else; there, but for the grace of the Uncanny X-Men, go I. But there is some common thread, some inherent weirdness that must get my Weirdy Sense tingling, even during somewhat rote runs like the ones of Kupperberg and Larsen or John Byrne. Well, whatever it is, the current run of Doom Patrol is a heapin’ helpin’ of weirdness that I can’t wait to read whenever I get my greasy mitts on a new issue. So what am I babbling about? Read on for my review!
Welcome to Dannyland! The happiest place on, uh, well it’s not really on Earth, per se. It’s sort of in Earth, in a way? More like it’s own dimension. Casey Brinke found her way there through the back of her ambulance, which turns out to be a manifestation of Danny! Once a street, then a brick, now he’s a full-fledged self-populating amusement park. Where once he used to aggregate weirdos from around the world, he can now create them from whole cloth…or whatever people are made from. Guts and poop in a skin sack, more or less. A trip on the Itty Bitty Bonsai Beach ride will clear it all up for Casey, or so says Flex Mentallo who probably just wants to get ride of her so he can ride the Dannyland equivalent of Space Mountain.
Back at Casey and Terry None’s disheveled apartment, Larry and Cliff are in the bathroom and Larry is showing off some rather…gross abilities. He’s got three holes in his chest, from which he can effuse some kind of putty that can further shape themselves according to how he holds his left hand. Larry tells a story—referencing Oolong Island, which was the location of the Doom Patrol’s base during the most recent run with Giffen and Clark—about being molecularly ripped apart and reforming in some kind of giant jar in an empty lecture hall, save for another giant jar containing a strange humanoid creature. With three holes in its chest. Somehow a switch gets thrown and both Larry and the creature are zapping another humanoid being comprised entirely of energy? I think? The wires are attached to their respective junks, so I assume there’s some kind of sexy time happening. Just then, Terry None strolls in with a mushroom pizza, just in time to see a sort of Negative Man version of the creature that was jar buddies with Larry appear and call Larry to the Negative Space. So there’s that. Later, he zaps both Cliff and Larry away, to Terry None’s bemusement.
If you’ll recall those ruby-skinned folk from the interstellar Goobfoobers fast food chain—the ones that wanted to use Danny’s people-making ability as an infinite source of meat—well it turns out they are named the Vectra. Which, frankly, might have been revealed in an earlier issue and I missed it. They’ve shown up at the hospital parking garage to find Danny the Ambulance, all alone with not even an SUV parked in the Compact space next to it. So they start bashing him with bats and sledgehammers. Back in Dannyland, Casey steps off the ride and walks through a nice primer of Morrison and Case’s run on Doom Patrol, in case there was any doubt as to which run is closest to Gerard Way’s heart. Eventually, she comes upon Danny’s Books & Games, a comic book store where everything is Danny-themed (I would be glad to play Dungeons & Danny quite honestly) and where Casey finds an issue of Danny Comics, which looks very reminiscent of the cover to Detective Comics #1. No, not the New 52 one, the one from 1937. And then we have the most glorious, splendorous thing that could ever be in a comic book: parodies of popular comic book covers and styles. Oh god, why isn’t the whole issue like this?
Through these parodies, Danny explains that Casey is a creation of his—a comic book character, in fact: Casey Brinke, Captain of the St. Michael’s Children’s Hospital Jamboree Fighter Squadron, which seems to be like if the Newsboy Legion became members of the Blackhawk squad. Due to Danny’s newfound ability to create people, she became tangible and slid into the real world. That’s why Danny took the form of an ambulance, because he knew she’s be interested in the hospital arts or whatever, and also because it’s as close as he’ll ever get to being a Transformer robot. And oh, there’s this parody of Crisis on Infinite Earths #7 that is so good, and then some old Fantastic Four-looking art complete with Kirby Krackle, and I just want to live in this part of the book forever. Can we see a parody of the cover to the Flash #162, where he’s all “STOP! Read this comic! My life depends on it!” next pretty please? Casey doesn’t share in my love for this, however, and finds her way out of Dannyland by way of the back of her ambulance which, for one thing, is Danny and, for another thing, is being trashed by the Vectra. They capture Casey, who’s lost half of her right leg somehow, and a little pink Furby that she picked up somewhere, then storm right into Dannyland to begin the culling.
I absolutely loved this issue from beginning to end. We get a lot of answers to some lingering questions, but there’s plenty of mystery to uncover and I can’t wait to get to it! The comic book parodies put this over the top for me, I just personally love that kind of thing and I thought it was a really clever way to have some exposition without pasting a bunch of word balloons over talking heads for a page or two. I think the clear message with this issue is that this will be closest to the Morrison/Case run of Doom Patrol, perhaps in style or sensibilities, or maybe using some of the villains and characters shown in this issue. For readers brand new to Doom Patrol that haven’t read the aforementioned run, fear not: this issue acts as a primer and should do well in bringing you up to speed. I mean, it’s still weird as hell, but if you’re already in the groove of this series then you should be able to follow right along.
Bits and Pieces:
Some questions are answered and some answers are questioned and all things come to pass in the magical realm of Dannyland! New fans of the Doom Patrol will find some backstory within that will probably be relevant, and all the plots seem to be moving along at a good pace that just makes me want more and more. But the clincher is these awesome comic book parodies that need to be seen to be appreciated. And you should be seeing them. So get on that.