Brick by Brick Part Two
What's Going On?
Nesting dolls make lousy co-pilots. A street gang that intimidates through superior vocabulary. So Larry Trainor's power is being an asshole? Hell of a way to tell Casey she's done a good job. Whose picture is pinned above Casey's bed? Why is there a ninja in that picture frame? Kitties like brain milk. Lotion looks adorable staring out the window. Seriously, what ARE you doing, Niles Caulder? Do the laser-faced assassins really need those winter coats? Seven pages spent demolishing a city block and no police show up. We all had a boss that looked like a piece of crap that just sprouted arms and legs. Is the Negative Spirit smiling? So much for the ambulance. Hunky guy in leopard print shorts, lace-up leather boots, matching leather wrist-cuffs, and perfect fifties guy hair shows up to explain it all. A theme park that's soon to be nothing but burgers. A tourist poster for the Negative Space.
How's the Writing?
One of the problems with rebooting a series is that old fans (like me) will get impatient with long introductions to characters that we already know, while new fans will be confused if the characters are all introduced too quickly without enough background explanation. I really do have trouble imagining that anyone unfamiliar with the Doom Patrol would be able to follow the first two issues of this series at all. I know who Cliff Steele, Niles Caulder, Larry Trainer, Danny the Street, and Flex Mentallo are, but if you don't already know those names, you're not going to get much of a coherent introduction to any of them. And it does take the reader out of the story when Casey sees Cliff moving around and says nothing about it, not even asking who he is. Also, if I'd just seen my apartment destroyed by a robot and some alien thugs ... I seriously wouldn't care if my boss wanted to talk to me about some professional misconduct.
How's the Art?
Nick Derington is clearly having a blast drawing this thing. The amount of detail on each page makes this absolutely worth a re-read just to catch all of the little touches he threw in. The background people in the crowd scene are all doing weird little things (carrying live snakes, eating a gyro, nose-picking). Casey's room is full of random details that tell us about her life without being explicit.
Buy, Wait for the Trade, or Skip?
If you're fan of the characters like I am, I'd still recommend buying since there's plenty of interesting things going on (even if they don't seem to be meshing into a story yet). If you're new to Doom Patrol, you'll want to wait until the trade comes out, when there are hopefully enough issues gathered that this whole narrative makes some kind of sense.