They saved the teddy bear
Sam Humphries (W), Will Conrad, Jack Herbert (A), Blond (C)
Cover by Robson Rocha, Jay Leisten, and Rob Reis
Publisher: DC Comics
Alright, now that I’ve had a good and frustrated purge this week upon Doom Patrol #1, let’s talk about a comic that has treated me good so far and has been on my personal pull list since.
I’ve enjoyed this series quite a bit, and it hasn’t made me regret my glowing review of its Rebirth issue. I like Simon Baz and Jessica Cruz. I think they are a charming ying-yang team, with Baz being the hothead and Cruz being the cautious one. I’ve loved the first story arc with Atrocitus and the Red Lantern Corps, even if it has been running a bit long. Hell, this comic even has me liking the Red Lantern, Bleez. She’s a character that annoyed me way back when Red Lanterns was being published towards the beginning of the New 52.
Is it perfect? No. Is it groundbreaking? In terms of storytelling, no. However, it does have an Arabic Green Lantern and a Green Lantern with a genuine mental disorder, and I feel like that is worth something. I can only think of Ms. Marvel, Arabian Knight, Janissary, and Black Adam (sorta) as other Arabian super heroes. Daredevil is depressive and Batman might have multiple personalites, and I can’t really think of other heroes with mental disorders beyond that. So yeah, the story is fun, even if it isn’t the most original thing ever, and the characters are very likeable and represent demographics that don’t get much time on-panel in this industry. That’s definitely worth something in my book.
This issue wraps up the Rage Planet story, as Atrocitus is attempting to strangle Simon to death, and Jessica is trying to work her way through an intense anxiety attack. Meanwhile, the mysterious Guardian, Rami, is still occupying the residence of Simon’s sister and brother-in-law. Jessica’s sister is still infected with the Red Lantern rage along with thousands of other people. The Hell Tower is causing chaos globally, and time is running out on Simon and Jessica being able to halt this apocalyptic event.
I’m going to leave the plot synopsis at that, as I kind of feel like not giving away every detail of this particular story. It’s one that is definitely more fun experiencing organically. The plot turns aren’t completely unexpected, but they are good enough to earn a personal reading.
I said that this story has taken a while to conclude, and it has. However, I will give it credit for sticking the landing. It adheres to a lot of comic book tropes, of course. (Spoilers) The bad guy gets away and threatens that this isn’t over, the heroes work out their differences, and everyone who has a name makes it out alright.
However, the characters are likeable enough and the storytelling is well-crafted enough that you can still get on board with it and enjoy the conclusion. Simon and Jessica are a compelling duo. It’s gratifying to watch Simon smack talk Atrocitus. It’s a “hell yeah” moment when Jessica overcomes the anxiety attack and manages to make her first construct. Seeing Simon actually worry about Jessica is sweet, and it earns the moment where the two finally accept one another and hug.
The comic has its flaws, sure. Atrocitus spends about a third of the comic with his hand around Simon’s throat, begging the question “Why don’t you just kill him already?” The dialogue, while mostly good, does fall into buddy cop clichés at times. Atrocitus, a character I love, is somewhat reduced to the big and scary bad guy in this, and that is a little disappointing given the depth this character has shown in the past. But none of this really sours the comic for me. It’s just a plain fun comic, and it knows what it’s putting out there.
The art is really good in this issue. The team of Conrad, Herbert, and Blond put together a gorgeous book that reminds of me of Mike Deodato’s fare. There is a photorealism to it, and Simon, Jessica, and Atrocitus all make for striking figures. The colors are great and contrasting, as they should be in a comic about super powered space cops organized by teams based on ring color. I say that flippantly, but the coloring in this book is genuinely great.
Give this comic a read. It’s fun, fast-paced, and gratifying. If you’re picking it up for the first time, you’ll definitely feel a little lost. However, I won’t say that you would get nothing out of it in that scenario. It’s just a good and action-packed book that I would say is definitely worth your three-dollars.
Final Score: 8/10