Tuesday 13 June 2017

Review! (Graphic Novel Edition!) - Doom Patrol, Vol 1: Brick by Brick

Doom Patrol title image

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Title: Doom Patrol, Vol 1: Brick by Brick

Author: Gerard Way

Artist: Nick Derington

Contributors: Tom Fowler, Tamra Bonvillain, Todd Klein

Genre: Graphic Novels, Sci-Fi, Superheroes* (*ish)

Series: Doom Patrol #1-#6

Release Date: USA - 31st May; UK - 13th June

Amazon: UK - USA

A few starting notes:

I received a free digital review copy of this book via Edelweiss. Edelweiss provides review copies from publishers as an opportunity to write fair and honest reviews.

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You may or may not be aware that I'm a massive My Chemical Romance/Gerard Way fan; I also totally love Umbrella Academy - Gerard Way's previous comic series - so I was sooooo happy when I got the chance to review this!!!!!!

OK, so, fangirling tendencies aside -

(I'm a Killjoy, Member of the Black Parade, and undoubtedly MCRArmy 'til I die! GEESUS ROCKS!!!! *ahem* OK, that's out of my system... ish,)

- I am going to do my best to be professional, critical, fair, and honest.

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This is actually a reboot of a previous DC comics series, which has gone through various versions over the years.

I've never read any of the previous series, and I don't think it's necessary to do so to read this series.


Casey Brinke is a paramedic. Normal enough, right?

Except weird stuff keeps happening: the robot guy, and the talking ambulance, and the guy with the negative energy issues... and that's just the start.

It's gonna get really weird around here!

(Honestly, explaining wtf this was about is... not the easiest thing to do! Lol.)

Best bits:

I loved this book. It's a surreal concoction of awesomeness!

Imagine smooshing Danger Days into Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge, blending that with Umbrella Academy, and then adding a few literal rainbows for luck: that is what this is.

And it's glorious.

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Doom Patrol is a surreal concoction of awesomeness! - Click to Tweet

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The randomness is amazing

It won't be to everyone's tastes - this is one of those books that you have to surrender to: you are not in charge here - but the random surreal-ness of this series is awesome.

The whole feel of... organised (or maybe disorganised) chaos, is totally my thing. It's a riot of primary colours and bizarre events.

(So, yes, I f**king loved it!)

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The artwork

Honestly, there was such a distinctive style to Umbrella Academy that I wondered how Way would work with an artist who isn't Gabriel Ba.

But somehow... it works.

It freaking works!

There's an edge to it which is similar to Umbrella Academy, but at the same time it manages to distinguish itself as something different.

Doom Patrol has a sleeker and sharper look - while somehow also being softer, less angular.

Possibly I sound like I'm talking out of my posterior now, (wouldn't be the first time,) so here's the TL; DR:

It builds on previous Gerard Way comics while establishing a style of its own.

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Disability representation

This is an ensemble cast, but, if there is a main character, then that character is Casey Brinke.

And Casey - without giving too much away - has a prosthetic leg.

Casey is also amazing. She's the Doom Patrol's light in the dark.

If anyone with prostheses and/or missing limbs has reviewed this book, please let me know, I'd love to link to it!

There's also some mental health rep... sort of. It's blended with sci-fi elements, so is difficult to explain.

I think it's handled OK... The tone of it is respectful, probably not least because Gerard Way has had mental health problems over the years.

(He does however use language like 'crazy' which may offend some.)

The actual detail, though, is harder to interpret.

If anyone (especially anyone with dissociative identity disorder, also known as multiple personality disorder,) has a more in-depth take, I'd love to hear it.

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We also have black characters here, in the form of Casey's paramedic co-worker, Samson, and his family.

From where I'm standing, the representation is pretty good - complex characters, their own agency, etc. - but I'm white, so my perspective is limited.

If any black reviewers have a link they'd like me to share/include, let me know!

Not so great bits:

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Potentially distressing content here includes:

- murder
- violence
- much comic-book-style gore
- family issues
- parental absence
- family violence
- a cult

There's also a sh**-load of swearing, if that's something that bothers you.

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Possible representation issues

Largely speaking, this book is fairly decent (as far as yours truly can see - tell me if you know any different!) in terms of rep.

But there are a couple of border-line issues:

  • Ableist language like 'crazy.' (As previously mentioned.)

  • Possible complications of the representation of Dissociative Identity Disorder due to the sci-fi elements of that character. (Again, as previously mentioned.)

  • There is (very, very, briefly,) a Latino shop-keeper who speaks in broken English... not inherently bad, perhaps, but definitely verging towards stereotype territory.

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For a lot of people, this is going to be too trippy.

You have to be willing to surrender to the slightly-psychedelic, totally surreal, randomness of this book.

It's awesome. But it makes absolutely no f**king sense. And you have to accept that, or you're just not going to enjoy it.


OMG, I love the thing!

It's totally on my wave-length, but it's not gonna be for everyone!


  1. I feel like maybe not for me, but it still does sound kind of glorious lol. And yay another book for my disability list!

    BTW 3 Cheers will always be my fave MCR album since that was the one I first discovered and fell in love with <3

    1. Woo! XD MCR rock dammit!!!!!! (Lol. It honestly doesn't take much to get me started!)

  2. I love how passionate you get about graphic novels, lol!

  3. Wow, it sounds like this comic has a whole load of things represented and happening in it! Like an unreal amount, but that the concoction of it all is a really enjoyable read!

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