Review: Doom Patrol #5

Written By Alisha Weinberger

Incredibly balanced chaos.

Doom Patrol #5 concludes the first story arc of Gerard Way’s take on the psychedelic super team. If you stuck around through the first four issues, part five of Brick by Brick is a satisfying end and well rounded start to a hopefully bizarre, long life for the Young Animal title.

The premiere issue was jarring, thrusting readers into a nonlinear storytelling unfamiliar to most other DC titles. Not quite a revamp or an origin story of the Doom Patrol, but rather just another chapter. Part one opened with a series of seemingly nonsensical panels and a dialogue between Casey Brinke and Danny, who we would eventually learn to be the sentient godly force/ambulance/theme park/former brick and cabana that also “fathered” Casey into her reality.

By this issue, Way would inevitably draw from these panels both narratively and thematically; from Sam’s monologue about universes inside gyros to the utopian Dannyland inside Casey’s ambulance, from the issue one panel of a crashed ambulance and a blue suited driver to Casey coming to dawn that very suit by part four. The consistency between issue one and five come to a bittersweet end when Casey’s lost mother materializes, quoting her daughter’s monologue from part one.

For a cast of heroes often entrenched in cosmic calamity, Way has a way of tying everything back together. All the while fleshing out characters, that are very new if not ambiguous to most, through tongue-in-cheek but often existential dialogue.

The strange themes and cast of Brick by Brick would not have been possible with Way’s words alone. Artist and colorist Nick Derington and Tamra Bonvillain fill the pages with transdimensional low poly thugs, beings made of negative space, and pilots with translucent skin. The art throughout the story arc has been dynamic and technicolor; the pages featuring Negative Man having been some of the best in the series. But Derington and Bonvillain flex their talent in part five with an all out brawl between the ragtag Doom Patrol and the monochrome Vectra.

The first story arc of Way’s is a strong start to a series, finding a balanced pace but still leaving readers with many questions. DC’s Young Animal imprint has been solid but is still very much in its infancy. Doom Patrol has truly established Way as a writer and is the best title the imprint has to offer so far. Always having come from the strangest corners of the DCU, this is the kind of narrative style and imagery the Doom Patrol deserves. By abandoning linear storytelling, Gerard Way and his team have truly brought the team back to its roots. < Rating: 10/10

Alisha Weinberger is a comic book, video game, and animation enthusiast and critic. Along with comic reviews, she also maintains The Pop Break twitter feed. Alisha thoroughly enjoys the warm embrace of coffee, says "dawg" and "dope" ad nauseam, and shares a reluctant resemblance to Tina Belcher.