A good adaptation will make you reexamine (or reevaluate) the source material. This is why Doom Patrol will endure as a great TV show. It revelled in its comic book-iness in a way that no other comics TV show would ever dare, and amplified the things about the comics that made them so unique. Gerard Way, Jeremy Lambert and Nick Derington have been turning that comics-uniqueness up in Doom Patrol: Weight of the Worlds, the Young Animal return for the series, and in this exclusive preview, Steve Orlando and Evan “Doc” Shaner step in to add to it.
Steve Orlando is quietly one of the best writers in the business and definitely one of the best things DC has going for it right now. He has been since his work on the Midnighter books, but it’s only been getting better through Justice League of America and now Wonder Woman and Martian Manhunter, which feels like a great mid-period Vertigo comic. Here, he uses the Doom Patrol to dive deep into the Doom Patrol formula. We get an alternate future for the team that is also an alternate future comic book, complete with editorial cross referencing to comics that have yet to be published. It’s so great – just straight up wallowing in what it is to be a shared universe superhero book in a way that honors the history of the team and is also something you can only get in this medium.
Orlando’s status as a hot writer has been helped greatly by being paired with some incredible artists – ACO and Hugo Petrus improving on David Aja’s martial arts comic formula on the Midnighter books, and Riley Rossmo’s managed chaos making the perfect Martian Manhunter comic. That’s certainly the case on Doom Patrol. Orlando is working with Doc Shaner, and I spent a good 45 minutes over the weekend thinking about which corner of the DC multiverse Shaner would NOT be a perfect fit for. I came up with…like, Lobo? Maybe? Then again, Shaner is a talented enough artist where I bet he could nail an extended satire of ‘90s superhero comic art. He gets a little bit of everything the DCU has to offer in this issue – street level crime work, weird sci-fi, HUGE sci-fi, superhero beat-em-ups. The only things missing are big mythology and war comics. He, of course, nails all of it. Tamra Bonvillain (who REALLY deserves an Eisner) tells as much of the story with the color art as Shaner’s linework. The muted neon hues are expressive and engrossing.
And even though we missed it by a couple of days, it’s worth celebrating Letterer Appreciation Day by talking about how great Simon Bowland is. This is particular to me and my old man eyes that stare at screens all day, but the balloon-less text on page four of the preview, in the hands of a less capable letterer, would have been impossible to read. He makes them clear and crisp. Beyond my own physical dropoff, though, Bowland’s letters and placement are so good at marking the tone. There are a couple of times where the balloons are so almost inconspicuous that they feel quiet relative to the action. That contrast is really important to the scenes they’re part of. Doom Patrol: Weight of the Worlds is just a really well-made comic, well thought out at every step of the production process, with gifted artists doing good work all the way through. Here’s what DC has to say about it.
DOOM PATROL: WEIGHT OF THE WORLDS #3 written by GERARD WAY and JEREMY LAMBERTart by EVAN “DOC” SHANERcover by NICK DERINGTONSpecial 287th-anniversary issue! Someone in the city of Goliath is killing cops—robot cops, that is!—and it’s up to the Doom Patrol Detective Agency to find out who…but their only clues are pages torn from a pulp paperback littering the streets of this neo-noir nightmare of a city. The secret of Goliath will die along with their hope of escape unless the team can band together once again, just like the old days.
And here are the gorgeous preview pages. Take a look!