Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Doom Patrol #12 Review and **SPOILERS**

Advanced Delays and Deceit

Dungeon Masters: Gerard Way, Nick Derington, Jeremy Lambert 
Barbarian: Dan McDaid 
Druid: Tamra Bonvillain 
Cleric: Todd Klein 
Sorcerer: Molly Mahan 
Fighter: Mark Doyle 
Cover Price: $3.99 
On Sale Date: October 31, 2018


Folks that have read my reviews of Doom Patrol, or listened to the Young Animals segment I recorded with Chris for the Weird Science DC Comics Dot Com Podcast, know that my enthusiasm for this series waned to the point of anger due to egregious delays. The story was truncated, “Milk Wars” happened out of order, and any momentum the book might have had was killed before it had burped out its sixth issue. So here we have the final issue number 12, so made to pad out the second volume of the trade collection, or perhaps to satisfy a contractual obligation. It’s a lame thing to trickle this issue out so long after the fact, but I can’t blame the comic book—it’s just the innocent ink and paper dragged into this mess. So I’m going to my best to review Doom Patrol #12 without my personal baggage, and see how this book stands on its own merits!

Explain It!

Perhaps you remember a few ancillary characters from the most recent volume of Doom Patrol: Sam, Valerie and Lucius Reynolds. I wouldn’t blame you to not remember them, often the family appeared in interstitials seemingly added for “flavor,” like the endless scenes of Niles Caulder eating cereal that wound up being perfectly meaningless. Sam was Casey Brinke’s partner in the ambulance that wound up being Danny the Ambulance; Valerie was initially estranged from the family, a member of the Cult of Jane that was having trouble assimilating back into the family even by issue #11; and young Lucius, a fan of Heavy Metal music and the occult, who was inducted into the Brotherhood of Nada, and then quit almost instantly. Maybe it will help to say that the Reynolds were some of the only non-white characters in the whole series. Ah, now you remember them.

In issue #11, Lucius reunited with his parents and denounced Mister Nobody, just before being whisked away to the Daemonscape by some sort of mystical urchin. Well, this issue is what happened to the Reynolds in the Daemonscape. It’s supposed to evoke a session playing Dungeons & Dragons, or some other RPG, and it’s just…so…bad. I’m sorry, but this is a very boring, lazy story. To be sure, playing table-top RPGs isn’t about making the most coherent, well-paced story. It’s more about playing the game and enjoying the thrilling things that happen along the way. This is why few people have sought to repackage their dungeon crawling experiences as trade paperback novels. And so it is here, the Reynolds family facing a variety of monsters, until they beat a big monster at the end, and they are told that they have yet to fight more monsters.

Much of the problem here is that, over eleven issues, we barely came to know about any of these characters. It’s here, for story convenience sake, we learn that Sam knows Karate and Valerie is an expert archer. And you know, a little clarification on how these folks came to know these things might have made us care for them a little more. Even in terms of a Dungeons & Dragons parody, this book is so lazy; a campaign map at the back provides almost no detail, and doesn’t reflect a player-created D&D map at all. At least, not the meticulous, careful ones I used to play with. Different strokes for different folks, I suppose, but it does mean that my eleven-year-old Dungeon Master took more care in creating an experience for three of his peers than the creators of this issue took in closing out this volume of Doom Patrol. So fuck them.

Bits and Pieces:

Delays notwithstanding, this book is a rip-off. Even fans of the Reynolds clan from this series–all six of you–will feel cheated by this crap. I've no specific beef with the art team, except for their involvement here. Choose better projects.


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