Pretty dull. Or rather, pretty and dull. That’s the latest issue of Doom Patrol, which arrives six months after the previous one and about a year late in terms of when it should have appeared. For this is a prelude to Milk Wars, the Doom Patrol/Justice League America crossover so late that the milk had long soured by the time it ran its course.
This comic sees Doom Patrol supporting characters the Reynolds family have an adventure of their own, in Dungeons and Dragons land. Here be dragons, and elves, and giants and all sorts of colourful characters. What there isn’t is the actual Doom Patrol, or any apparent reason to spend an issue pastiching something that peaked in popularity decades ago.
If you’re interested, Let It Be Known that DP member Casey’s EMT partner Sam, his wife Val and son Lucius have been flung into ‘the Daemonscape’, a land of wonder, terror and unnecessary vowels. If memory serves, they’re there because Lucius’s fiddled with squirrel roadkill, as teenagers do.
Anyway, Lucius turns mystical poet, Val finds her inner bowperson, Sam overcomes that darned annoying pacifism and Grandma cameos with a Bollocks Casserole.
With decent pastiche dialogue by Gerard Way and Jeremy Lambert (if you ignore the oh-so-cutting edge effing) and seriously gorgeous art by Dan McDaid working from Nick Derington’s layouts, colourist Tamra Bonvillain and letter Todd Klein, this is probably a great time of you like This Kind of Thing. With lines like: ‘And it is [in] how we tame these feelings… that our story is made’, I was bored by page two. I paid for an issue of Doom Patrol, not the Reynolds Family’s Una-Kalm Vacation. Where are Cliff, Jane, Casey, Danny, Rita, Flex… any of the actual World’s Strangest Heroes?
Perhaps this side story has some subtle relevance to the Doom Patrol team, if so, please explain it to me as all I could find was Conan For Kids with a lovely message about the power of Family.
I wouldn’t be quite so peeved about this issue were it a mere misfire in the middle of an ongoing run. But it’s the last issue, for now, of a promising series utterly hobbled by someone’s thoroughly lackadaisical attitude towards hitting a schedule. When the Doom Patrol does return, with the best will in the (fantasy) world, I hope Gerard Way isn’t involved.