Doom Patrol (Book One) by Grant Morrison

details
Title: Doom Patrol (Book One).
Writer(s): Grant Morrison.
Illustrator(s): Richard CaseJohn NybergDoug BraithwaiteScott HannaCarlos Garzón.
Colourist(s): Daniel Vozzo & Michele Wolfman.
Letterer(s): John Workman.
Publisher
:
 Vertigo.
Format: Paperback.
Release Date: February 23rd 2016.
Pages: 424.
Genre(s): Comics, Science-Fiction.
ISBN13: 9781401263126.
My Overall Rating: ★★★☆☆.

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What happens when you let the legendary Grant Morrison loose on a series meant to have eccentric ideas within a superhero universe? You can find that out in Grant Morrison’s reboot of The Doom Patrol. With some of the weirdest heroes and villains in the superhero game, this comic book series has truly embraced its identity thanks to Grant Morrison’s vision for it as he reevaluated it throughout his comic book run and gave it a distinctive level of absurdity that is unprecedented in the genre. While these heroes are integrated within the DC Universe, their world alone is drenched in senseless madness that puts heroes like Robotman, Negative Man and Crazy Jane at the heart of all the action. Reality is intangible and throughout their adventures, you are constantly bombarded with psychedelic and illusional events that make you question your own sanity. This is an experience in its own that only someone like Grant Morrison could have devised.

What is Doom Patrol (Book One) about? Collecting issues #19-34 that marks the debut of Grant Morrison’s reboot of this series originally created by the visionary team of writer Arnold Drake and artist Bruno Premiani back in the 1960s, the story follows a team of misfits who face threats that are beyond our wildest imagination while struggling with their own personal issues that shun them as freaks and outcasts. Known as the “World’s Strangest Heroes”, Grant Morrison looks to infuse these heroes with a singular dose of absurdity and get these heroes to earn their title without anyone being able to contest it. These first adventures thus introduce fans to the members of the Doom Patrol as well as some of the strangest villains bent on world domination who force our peculiar superpowered heroes into teaming up and trying to save the day.

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If there’s one thing that is obvious is that Grant Morrison must have felt amazing writing this series since this is undeniably his kind of creative territory. Stories like these are what allows him to flex his visionary muscles as every other writer out there lamentably look away in shame at their inability to turn heroes like the Doom Patrol into relevant characters. In the first issues of his run, Grant Morrison doesn’t shy away from exploring some of the most bizarre concepts as he plunges deep into dadaism and surrealism without caring one bit about the reader’s comprehension of the events unfolding. A lot of dialogues are impossible to decorticate and promote carelessness to the narrative as the attention is rather put in the development of chemistry between characters rather than the manifestation of events. In fact, it’s the internal and psychological struggles of these heroes that remain the focus of this story as their outlying characteristics are converted into special abilities that are used to combat evil and serve as their entry point into a band that ultimately helps them slowly discover a feeling of belonging within this world.

If the narrative alone explores insanity in unimaginable ways, the artwork comes complement Grant Morrison’s vision with multiple artists who bring horrid and mystifying heroes villains to life only to further torment the readers’ understanding of this surreal universe. There isn’t a single moment that isn’t filled with crazy ideas that jump out of the pages of this comic book story as the colours greatly amplify the dream-like occurrences and add an unexplainable vividness to what can ultimately be considered nightmares. The artwork also does a wonderful job in capturing the tormented spirit of our heroes as they each live with defeat and try to compensate as best as they can in order to feel alive in the world. The Doom Patrol is indeed the lifeboat that allows them to find a purpose to their confused lives and hide it all within a superhero facade while they are not necessarily heroes.

Doom Patrol (Book One) is a creatively surreal story that follows a band of misfits who strive to save the world despite their personal struggles tempered by loss and insanity.


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Thank you to Penguin Random House Canada and DC Comics for sending me a copy for review!

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As part of DC’s new video-on-demand service known as DC Universe, fans are given the chance to watch the Doom Patrol being brought to life for the first time ever with the first episode having premiered on February 15th, 2019. This TV series is considered a spin-off to DC’s Titans as the Doom Patrol were first introduced in an episode on that show! Did you start watching the Doom Patrol?

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13 comments

    • It is indeed one of the biggest surprises of that streaming services upcoming line-up. They’ll also be giving us The Swamp Thing next, among other DC/Vertigo content. I’ll never say no to whatever they want to give us, but man they could have started off with things that would ATTRACT more people than things that no one might have heard of. It’s a US only service for now too… So that doesn’t help too much either. Who knows how long that service will last.

      Liked by 1 person

  • Oooh this sounds so interesting! Sometimes I like to face plant out of the recognisable world into the purely insane. When you’re in the right head space, not everything has to make sense for you to enjoy it.

    Liked by 1 person

  • It goes without saying my learned friend that, as always, your analysis is insightful and highly enjoyable! I have limited knowledge of the Doom Patrol but I’ve just watched the Titans (really getting into that) episode and I absolutely loved it – like ‘Legion’ it gives us something a little bit different from the well-worn genre of superhero tv, I’m total psyched for the spin-off and can only pray that Netflix pick it up for viewers outside the U.S. and Canada who can’t get DC Universe (sad face).

    As for this collection, I would think that attaching Grant Morrison to a series like this would be a match made in heaven but I’m somewhat put off as it seems this is Morrison at his most incoherent – I don’t shy away from a challenging read but it’s when Morrison plummets in that sort of direction I lose interest. I wonder if DC will launch a new Doom Patrol title (there isn’t already one is there?) given the strong reception of the DCU series?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I didn’t know about the Doom Patrol until I started to get interested in Grant Morrison’s work back in the day, but I never investigated the Doom Patrol any further. It was once I heard that it was going to become a TV series on the DC streaming service that I was intrigued.

      Oh man, I think it’s truly incoherent and part of the style here. I wouldn’t exactly recommend this to everyone unless surrealism at its best is what is sought hahah And yes, I think there’s a Gerard Way run of this series but I’m not sure if it’s ongoing. I do hope the TV series will be great from start to finish!

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