Doom Patrol #1: Weight of the Worlds published by DC’s Young Animals an imprint of DC Comics, is written by Gerard Way, co-written by Jeremy Lambert, art by James Harvey, colors by James Harvey and Sajan Rai, and letters by Sajan Rai also. Issue #1, or as it’s still being pegged in some corners of the universe issue #13, is titled “Damaged”.
Now, I may have thrown some of you for a loop here, so let’s back up a few steps and brush up on where we’re at it here. Gerard Way’s Doom Patrol series was previously introduced back in 2016 and ran for 12 abnormal issues, with the last one hitting comic book stores in 2018. Given the passage of time, which cruelly waits for no one, DC’s Young Animals flagship property decided to start afresh their numbering system.
During this hiatus, DC Universe introduced their live-action Doom Patrol television series which centered on the original members. The show was extremely well received, in fact, Rotten Tomatoes critic scores gave the initial season a 94%. Given the positive timing, it makes sense to try and leverage a whole new potential army of comic fans from the show, to jump on to a new series.
While Doom Patrol #1 is a continuation from the prior 12 issue arc, Way takes a second in this new number one for new and old fans alike to get reacquainted with the current squad. Danny, who was a non-binary sentient being in the form of a street, is now Danny the sentient ambulance and contained within them, is Dannyland. A world in which Danny exists as the creator, in order to provide safety and homes for lost individuals.
Casey Brinke was a comic book character within Dannyland brought to life by Danny, to protect life. Yes, meta-references, and cosmic absurdities are here, this IS Doom Patrol after all. Robotman, who is now human, Larry Trainor, the negative spirit, Crazy Jane, and Rita are all returning to the outfit along with Flex Mantello. But, there are some new faces on the team. The new characters include Lucius Reynolds, Lotion the Cat, Flugg, and Hank the dog (don’t worry we think he’s just a dog, well for now at least).
The storyline in Weight of the Worlds #1 has an unexpected dichotomy about it. The main part is structured as an introduction to the team and where everyone is at. With characters who are still on the heroes quest, trying to help Danny elevate itself back to its full former glory. In search of new surroundings, and adventures, the team jets off into cosmic universe where they stumble upon planet Orbius, a population of fitness obsessed aliens.
While the second story this issue briefly follows centers around the events of the newly reborn, human man, Cliff Steele. The previously titled Robotman goes to visit his mother in a nursing home and has to deal with the fallout of trying to reconnect with his family after many years of being away from everyone he knew and loved. What Cliff finds, is that learning to be human again is a tough transition. Weight of the Worlds #1 is notably slow, but this is fair given that we’ve had to check in on all of the existing members.
Way and Lambert are extremely intelligent writers, and they show no fear in addressing a lot of tough, weighty subjects. An example of this is when the writers choose to tackle the issue of body image. The Doom Patrol land on planet Orbius and are introduced to the local population. The Orbians believe in maintaining peak physical condition by running on a planetary treadmill to appease their new fitness god. This task is a lifelong requirement. Flex Mantello, the resident fitness guru on the team vehemently protests causing an argument over life balance and acceptance of ones own body shape.
You can see other topics addressed in Weight of the Worlds #1, like mental health, therapy, support dogs, depression and I’m sure a whole host of others that I’m not sure if I’m quite intelligent enough to pick up. I don’t doubt myself as a writer however, this is a complete compliment to Way and Lambert as their stories have a lot of depth and meaning to them, nothing on the page is wasted.
Harvey’s artwork, paired with Harvey and Rai’s colors, captures the images in such an exceptional way as he draws his images from truly odd vantage points. This works so well in this comic because nothing is as it seems. Early on in the issue we see a beautifully drawn topographical view of a brain, while transposed on top of this drawing are images of Jane in therapy as she continues to battle her multiple personality disorder. The colors, the images, and the writing capture the melancholy message. Opposing the bright images from the adventures of Doom Patrol escapades, are the dark and drab images from Cliff’s visit with his mother. Dark greys of varying tone conveying clearly the darkness of the situation, the depression, and overriding sadness.
While Doom Patrol: Weight of the Worlds #1 doesn’t deliver anything astounding, I urge new fans to stick with the series. I’ve seen the products that Way can deliver, and I think you will not be disappointed. He is a deep, and thoughtful writer, and heavily involves those on his creative team to contribute. With issue one though, it was fun, deep, but I’m hoping for more moving forward.
Doom Patrol #1
While Doom Patrol: Weight of the Worlds #1 doesn’t deliver anything astounding, I urge new fans to stick with the series. I’ve seen the products that Way can deliver, it will not be disappointing. With issue one though, it was fun, deep, but I’m hoping for more moving forward.