Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Doom Patrol #7 Review and **SPOILERS**


Niles Caulder, You’re Out of Order

Writer: Gerard Way 
Artist: Michael Allred 
Colorist: Laura Allred 
Letterer: Todd Klein 
Cover: Michael & Laura Allred 
Cover Price: $3.99 
On Sale Date: July 26, 2017


Can it be? Is the comic book of legend returned to bestow High Weirdness upon the populace? Oh thank the heavens and saints be praised! Our favorite Young Animal title has returned to the fold! And hark! It has brought the Allreds with it! Let us make haste, then, and read my review of Doom Patrol #7, lest our indifference cause another untoward delay in the series!

Explain It!

I don’t think it’s untoward for any long-time fan of Doom Patrol to say that Niles Caulder is a less-than-idea manager. Indeed, he’s kind of a fucking dick, in every iteration. Even in Arnold Drake and Bruno Premiani’s Doom Patrol, he would feel petty jealousy and let his personal feelings get in the way of the team. And it only got worse from there. He’s been sort of hanging out on the fringes of the current Doom Patrol series by Young Animal, manipulating things from behind the scenes but never interacting completely. Look, there he is now, spying on Negative Man at the mall through some binoculars! He gets busted by Robotman who is…coming out of the rest room? I guess he needed an oil change or something. After some very Looney Tunes-esque conversation, Niles convinces Robotman and Negative Man that he needs to lead the Doom Patrol, and they all head over to Danny the Ambulance, parked in front of Casey Brinke’s destroyed apartment.
There’s Casey now, stapling “lost cat” flyers for Lotion...she doesn’t know it turned into an anthropomorphic cat-person a few issues back. Larry informs Casey that Niles will be running the show, which doesn’t seem to bother Casey as much as his offer to re-grow her amputated leg. Everyone hops into Danny and over to Danny Land, where Kay Challis/Crazy Alice is hovering above the bumper cars, trying to repair the psychic damage done to her subterranean transit system of multiple personalities. She’s against Niles Caulder leading the Doom Patrol again, considering he, you know, is the reason being nearly every member’s disfigurement, but Larry brushes her off and leave her to her meditation while they head off to Caulder’s laboratory. There, he grows Casey a weird new leg using a chemical compound and gives Cliff a new Robotman body that looks suspiciously like the original Silver Age model, complete with chest camera. And most disconcertingly, he has Negative Man rewrapped in his old, treated bandages, which hampers his physical movement and probably screws the Negative Entity as well. Caulder also puts them all in the familiar red-and-white costumes from the original Doom Patrol. After a surreal, three-panel interlude by Life With Honey (from the pages of Shade the Changing Girl!) Niles informs the team that they must do away with…Scants!
What are Scants? Why, they’re creatures from another dimension that invisibly place bad ideas in our heads, and get us to accept them as good ideas. This causes a substance called Idyat to secrete from our ears and the Scants harvest this invisible goop. Niles loads everyone into his extra-dimensional transport, eschewing Danny, and heads into the Scantoverse, which looks like something out of the film Metropolis. There, he outfits everyone with guns and jetpacks, and they watch the Scants in action, eventually making it to the Idyat-processing facility. In that same place are Dan Scram and His Gravity-Pirates, who has some real beef with Niles Caulder. The teams battle, but the Doom Patrol seems to be hopelessly outclassed by the Gravity-Pirates, hampered by reverting to their old duds (save for Casey, of course, for whom this is all new, I’d expect.) Though he seems to have the upperhand, Dan Scram pulls a Hail Mary play and eats some Idyat, which makes him evolve super-fast into what humanity will become far into the future…a giant, floating sperm with five eyes that says “Mo?” The Doom Patrol overcomes Dan Scram and his crew—and it’s absolutely awesome and must be read—but the short of it is that the team decides that maybe Niles isn’t the best fella to lead the squad, particularly once they find out that he’s gambling again.
So I came to this issue feeling a little jaded, I won’t lie. It’s been so long since the last issue, and the fact that it’s a fill-in seems so unnecessary. But I enjoyed every blasted second of this issue. I left out a lot of stuff, too, including the hook for the next issue, so don’t think you can get out of reading it by scanning my review! It’s well worth your while. This issue picks up directly from #6 and isn’t an isolated one-off at all, and it should tickle the weirdo-bones of new and old fans alike. As an older fan, I really felt some catharsis when they told Niles to hit the bricks, and while I appreciate his meddling ways I’ve always wanted to see our team behave more like the Justice League and less like the Suicide Squad. As for the art, it’s the Allreds, so I knew I’d like it! And I do! While Mike Allred and Nick Derington have vastly different styles, they both lend a sort of “chunkiness” to their characters that helped keep everything on-model and directly proportionate for this one-time deal. Great work, and it will be even greater work if I see this comic regularly for the next five months!

Bits and Pieces:

Even though it's been a long time since the last issue, and we've got a guest artist on this one, it fell right in step with the series and felt just like coming home...if you live in a day-glo, psychedelic funhouse in another dimension, that is. Would that we could! Danny, come pick me up, I'm ready to commit! Doom Patrol forever.


1 comment:

  1. I can't express how happy I am that this is finally back.