Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Doom Patrol #5 Review and **SPOILERS**

Time Keeps on Slippin’

Writer: Gerard Way 
Artist & Cover: Nick Derington 
Colorist: Tamra Bonvillain 
Letterer: Todd Klein 
Cover Price: $3.99 
On Sale Date: March 22, 2017


Author and foppish gadabout Oscar Wilde is not known to have said, “the only thing better than inserting time travel into your science fiction is not inserting time travel into your science fiction.” The reason for this is because traveling through time, being a logical impossibility, makes the creation a coherent narrative extremely difficult. Oh, you can impose any arbitrary “rules” you like, but you’ll immediately come up against “two atoms can’t occupy the same space at the same time” and it’s done. Unless, of course, you throw out all rules entirely. Doom Patrol has done that, both in the narrative and publishing schedule, and while I’d love to ascribe the extreme delay of this issue to wayward time travel, I can’t help but admit that my interest has waned with each re-solicit. So am I going to be a grumpy gus this whole review and keep harping on how this was the first Young Animal title and it’s on target to be the last to finish its inaugural story arc? Check out my review of Doom Patrol #5 and find out!

Explain It!

Things are coming fast and furious now folks, so I’ll do my best to parse the action: In Negative Space, Larry Trainor is fully bonded with Keeg, and will not be like the super Negative Man consisting of bits of previous Negative Men and Negative Woman from other volumes of Doom Patrol. He’s wrapped in mystical bandages that are better than his previous radiation-dampening bandages because they’re…more holy, or something. He puts on some familiar clothing and accessories through the ages, and it looks like Larry likes his current predicament. Cliff and Larry get zapped back to Terra Firma, luckily right where Casey and Fugg are hanging out with Danny the Ambulance. Earlier in the issue, Casey Brinke drove Danny the (wrecked) Ambulance over to her EMT partner Sam’s house to pick him up, and then send him to DannyLand with Ricardo and tend to the injured…and it’s not a good scene. The place looks like a deserted warzone and Flex Mentallo is lying dead in the street. The Vectra have ruined everything.
But not for long! Now that Casey remembers her origin and powers, she’s able to dip back in time to when the Vectra first descended upon Danny in the hospital parking lot and started bashing him to pieces. They’re still there, bashing Danny, and are seemingly ready for our time-traveling pals to arrive! That’s because Casey’s deformed dad from the pages of her own comic book Torminox is there! Seems Danny burped him up when he was being tortured by the Vectra, and didn’t even notice. Somehow this gave Torminox the ability to create janky versions of whatever he desired, in this case a kind of No Frills Danny the Ambulance and an evil Casey Brinke! And now everybody starts to fightin’! It might also be worth mentioning here that elsewhere, some guy in a spacesuit finds Casey’s cat Lotion and sprinkles some sparkly dust on it that turns Lotion into a humanoid cat. Somehow I think this will be important later.
While chaos reigns around them, Danny takes Casey aside and says she needs to go to the old DannyLand comic shop, before it was demolished and burned to a cinder, and then burn it down herself. This is going to give me a headache, isn’t it? While they are in the current past, Casey transfers Sam and Ricardo from the future Danny to the past Danny…look, I could probably draw it for you and it still would be difficult to explain. Point is, Sam and Ricardo are able to enter a time where DannyLand is still messed up, but Flex Mentallo is alive. Injured, but alive. The fight between Cliff, Larry, Torminox and the Vectra wages on, when evil Casey pulls a Vectra gun on Larry’s sleeping body, putting the brakes on the situation. Wait, that really happens when Torminox’s ex-wife, Casey’s comic book mom, Gloria emerges from one of the Danny ambulances. Hard to say which one, or whether or not it matters.
Right. So in DannyLand past, Ricardo grabs some goop from Fugg’s cassette deck and massages it into Flex Mentallo’s chest, which seems to bring him back to alertness. Casey dumps a can of gasoline on the DannyLand comic shop and sets it ablaze, causing all of Danny’s creations to scream and writhe in pain. And back in…the other past, Gloria is about to smooch her ex-hubby, implying that it will reverse his grossness, when evil Casey blasts her in the gut with a Vectra gun! Which then explodes next to her face because Flex Mentallo and the rest of the inhabitants of DannyLand are transferring from the past ambulance to the present ambulance! Which is in the past! Casey sees her comic book mom dying in Torminox’s arms, but they share a kiss a vanish in a flash of brilliant light! And it looks like Crazy Jane is coming back! Boyoyoing!
Back-up is a Bane coloring book page and the Who’s Who bits on Team Carson and the Whisperer, which suit me fine. So yeah! We waited a long time for this issue, and you can’t say it wasn’t jam-packed. Bit like ten pounds of it in a five-pound bag. There were a lot of things I did like about this comic: the wacky time-travel, Larry’s transition to Negative Man, the whole weird family situation between Casey and Torminox…but I couldn’t help but feel the fight scene was tacked on, and while there are many crises presented at the beginning of the issue, most of them are resolved by the end. It all looks fantastic, and I think it will read well in the trade collection. So if you can wait until 2023, that’s probably your best bet.

Bits and Pieces:

A lot happens in this issue, though we wind up more or less in the same place we start. Plenty of high weirdness to satisfy your DP longing, but it's been a pretty long wait for the story to move incrementally. Luckily, in a book like this that can mean progress in several dimensions.