Brick by Brick Part One
What's Going On?
The peel-away gyro on the cover reveals a secret universe. Four panels on page one offer hints of things that were or things to come (most distressingly that someone is dropping a grandma bomb). And then we're into a two-page spread that introduces us to daredevil ambulance race-driver Casey Brinke and her spiritually-centered EMT friend, Sam. They save a life, play old-school arcade games that still exist nowhere, muse on macro- and micro-realities, and reveal little background bits about themselves. Deep within Sam's gyro is a micro-universe where Cliff Steele (aka Robotman) makes an explosive escape. Meanwhile, a ex-resort worker sifts through a pile of bricks, searching for one named Danny. Also, mega-genius Niles Caulder (aka The Chief) plays a synthesizer in the woods. A mysterious dispatcher named "Em" sends Casey and Sam off to pick up the victim of a hit-and-run. They discover that the hit-and-run hasn't happened yet as Cliff staggers out of an alley, only to get hit by a garbage truck full of teddy bears, which smashes him into a dozen pieces. Holy crow, indeed. Elsewhere alien executives meet at the Rondo Inn and discuss their sinister plan to transform Danny into hamburgers. Back home, Casey has brought home the shattered body of Cliff Steele (stealing his jacket in the process) and argues with her roommate for a page about the rent and why she would name a cat Lotion. Just then, a singing telegram appears, wishing Casey a happy birthday before causing her roommate to explode. The singing telegram then offers to take over as Casey's new roommate before opening Cliff Steele's robot head to reveal the still-living brain within it. The singing telegram/new roommate's name is Terry None and it looks as if the new Doom Patrol has begun. Far away from everything else that's happened, a lion is slain beneath a barrage of light arrows and a blue blood lies dead, brained by Danny the Brick, who obviously feels sorry about the whole thing.
How's the Writing?
Clearly meant as a homage to Grant Morrison's insane early nineties run on the Doom Patrol, this series is stretching in a lot of directions at once and it's just faith at this point that Gerard Way will manage to bring these disparate elements together. The scenes with Casey, Sam, and Terry were the easiest to follow and provided enough insight into the characters that you already care about them and want to see what they'll say and do next. The evil alien executives seemed a bit cliched and I frankly hope that the Danny Burgers plotline doesn't take up too much of future issues, since it seems to be the least interesting part of the book. Also, while I could be totally wrong on this one, I'm guessing that Terry None is the daughter of Mr. Nobody (or somehow otherwise related to that classic agent of chaos).
How's the Art?
Nick Derington manages to make explosions, gyros, and garbage trucks all look equally fascinating and he's a great choice for giving this book a visual style that's easy to follow, yet also slightly quirky. And while I normally don't think much on the colors, Tamra Bonvillain's work really makes every image pop on the page.
Buy, Wait for the Trade, or Skip?
If you're familiar with the Doom Patrol's past (especially Grant Morrison's run), then you'll want to pick up every issue of this book as it comes out. New readers, on the other hand, will probably be better off waiting for the trade, where hopefully all of these pieces will be put together in a larger and more coherent order. Otherwise, it's the first issue in the first title of the Young Animal imprint and, so far, so good.