So far, Doom Patrol has been the type of comic where you want to read all the previous issues before diving into a new one. That’s because the plot is complex, the details are clever, and the general feel is so damn unique — why not relive the previous issues to see if you might have missed any important little story bits you might have missed the first time around? We review issue #5 to answer the question, is it good?
Doom Patrol #5 (DC Comics)
So what’s it about? The official summary reads:
The team is back together at last, though why they are back together remains an unanswered riddle. After the mind- blowing revelations of the previous issues, Casey Brinke has to figure out what this all means going forward. Or maybe it’s just the end of everything after all? Plus, Robotman punches stuff!
Why does this book matter?
Gerard Way and Nick Derington are treating this property with the respect it deserves. Fans of the old series and new readers alike can appreciate the weirdness these creators are introducing into the DC universe. At the same time the series makes the reader question and think about superheroes in general. Not something you see every day!
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Time to suit up.
If there ever was a banding of heroes to fight together moment, this is it, and it comes complete with a lot of action. This might be the first issue where the team actually feels like a team with the characters working together to kick baddy butt. The plot continues to be wacky and sometimes even all over the place, but Way keeps your attention always via strong character writing. The plot actually involves time travel–a dangerous element for many writers–but it somehow makes sense and why shouldn’t it when there’s a talking ambulance in the book?
Captain Trainor continues to be one of my favorite characters, though Casey Brinke is a close second due to her spunk and tenacity to get things done. Last issue began Larry Trainor’s transformation into the Negative Man and this issue caps off that well. This character is basically a play on the hero who was chosen by a great entity, though his behavior in this issue suggests it’s no big deal for him.
There’s a lot to love in this issue when it comes to art. The action flies fast and energy powers look great, and Robotman gets to show off his punching skills quite a bit. The use of dramatic angles helps keep the fighting interesting and the Negative Man looks very cool in his black and yellow stick figure like form. The style generally has a cartoony feel, but with enough detail to take it all seriously. It helps a lot when things get very strange so as to keep the believability up.
The talking ambulance steals a lot of this story.
It can’t be perfect can it?
Like Pat Hellen said in his review of issue #3, I don’t know if I’m smart enough for this book. Reading this on a monthly basis makes you wonder if you’re truly understanding what is going on and yet you’re still compelled by it all. The book has a pulpy charm, but I’m at a loss for what is going on half the time, which does make one question if that’s intentionally, or if it’s confusing because the creators don’t even know.
Is It Good?
Doom Patrol is the type of comic you can’t put down, but for a variety of reasons good and bad. The art is great fun, the characters interesting, but so far the gelling of all these elements doesn’t quite work. The team is still forming up, but one has to wonder when the gears are going to start to fit.