Young Animal’s Doom Patrol series has been exceptionally weird, with writer Gerard Way, artist Nick Derrington, and colorist Tamra Bonvillain embracing the strangeness of Grant Morrison’s ’90s Doom Patrol while bringing their own unique vision to these unconventional superheroes. As the first Young Animal title to debut, Doom Patrol set a distinct tone for the new DC Comics imprint, one driven by creative ambition and a willingness to think outside the box. Subsequent series have continued down that path (read this Shade The Changing Girl Big Issues for more on Young Animal’s success), and after recent delays, Doom Patrol is now playing catch-up to those other books.
The flagship Young Animal title returns next week with Doom Patrol #4, and this preview brings the story down to a more personal level as it explores the fraught relationship between Samuel Reynolds and his son, Lucius. Sam doesn’t agree with Lucius’ approach to bettering himself through metaphysical exploration, but there are deeper issues involving the absence of Lucius’ mother that are affecting the boy’s behavior. As the series gets odder and odder, these moments of more relatable personal drama are important to ground the series in a solid emotional foundation.
This sequence also showcases the attention to detail in Derrington and Bonvillain’s artwork; the character expressions are nuanced and specific, the environment feels lived in, and the coloring highlights the shift in the atmosphere as Sam makes his way from his cold bedroom to his son’s fiery bedroom. The establishing shot of Lucius’ room is especially notable for how it reinterprets classic DC characters and concepts for the band posters that line the walls, and there are a lot of very fun Easter eggs in that panel. The final page of the preview shifts focus to show Larry Trainor and Cliff Steele in the Negative Space, and there’s a dramatic change in the scope of the artwork, throwing readers back into the unbridled weirdness that has defined this series from the first issue.