This week, it was five star reviews all around. Sam found a new all-ages series from BOOM! Studios to love, Mega Princess, and Jackson continues to enjoy Doom Patrol from DC Comics, with the series really hitting its stride.
Want to hear more about what we thought about these issues? Read on – and let us know what you thought in the comments below.
Mega Princess #1
Author: Kelly Thompson
Artist: Brianne Drouhard
Source: BOOM! Studios DRC
BOOM! Studios is publishing all of my favorite all-ages books right now and they just added another delightful series to the mix. Mega Princess is an awesome book about a ten year old princess named Maxine (who prefers to go by Max) with big dreams of becoming a detective someday. She lives in a world where magic is real but she’s far less interested in magic of even being a traditional princess. Instead she wants to solve crimes and find a way to make the rockets and mechanical, armored wings she made for her pony out of cardboard real. Read more in our full review here!
Sam Wildman is a co-founder and co-editor at Nerdophiles. She doesn’t think a fairy godmother turning your cardboard wings and rockets into real, working armor is cheating. It’s just awesome! Follow her on twitter @samaside.
Doom Patrol #3
Author: Gerard Way
Artist: Nick Derrington
Publisher: DC Comics
As much as we’re born, we’re created. Before we can draw breath, our parents have projected their expectations, fears, dreams, regrets and so much more upon us. By the time we make our first conscious decisions, we’ve had the burden of a lifetime of others’ unspoken feelings placed upon us. It’s an intrinsically unfair life to be born into but one every human faces as we grow up and accept or reject the weight that’s been placed on us.
Doom Patrol #3 is entirely about the confluence of birth, rebirth, and creation. Arriving in Dannyland under the guidance of Flex Mentallo, Casey gets a complete picture of the extent of Danny’s power and influence as he goes from taking over a street, to a city, to a world, and rebuilding it in his own image and his own desires. In the meantime, we get a look at what exactly a sentient street would create both to write his own mythology and entertainment for others, and that’s where Casey’s place is defined.
It’s a challenging balancing act to establish Casey as a comic book character within Dannyland, finding sentience in the world outside of his comics but within ours. Comics have a complicated relationship with metafiction, with fourth-wall breaking characters such as Deadpool, She-Hulk and Ambush Bug acknowledging the disconnect between reader and fictional universe but not entirely exploiting that division.
These are characters that acknowledge that break but still fundamentally keep the worlds of fiction and reality as far apart as they can be. Gerard Way and Nick Derrington practically kick down whatever could be left of a fourth wall here by framing Casey’s creation as one both as pivotal to understanding Danny’s fictional world as it is to our understanding of the world of Doom Patrol.
Casey’s awakening is a sequence that expects a careful, considered reading from fans. Each page is modeled after iconic moments and comics covers of years past, twisted to suit a character becoming aware of her place but also demand readers recognize the context of their original appearances.
Take the homage to 1985’s Crisis on Infinite Earth #7. The iconic original cover shows Superman holding the killed Supergirl, broken by the reality of what all out war with a primeval force of creation and destruction will mean. It’s Crisis in microcosm, an acknowledgement of the costs of birth and rebirth and the growing pains of building a cohesive whole.
In Doom Patrol #3, it’s the first time Casey is fully forced to acknowledge who she really is, that her history, the strange life she’s lead, is a result of being fictional, less woman than creation. Bold type, parodying the original, iconic set, broadcasts Casey’s “Existential Crisis” and shows her, tears streaking down her face, holding the lifeless body of a clown. It’s both a deeply funny and vaguely tragic homage, one acknowledging the newly found fundamental emptiness of her life and the titanic weight of her redefining realization.
Casey’s far from the only person undergoing a mostly symbolic rebirth here, with Larry Trainor and Negative Man seeking each other out and hoping to once again connect with the help of Machine Man. It’s another story in the issue all about emptiness, about embracing your relative insignificance, and viewing emptiness as a canvas to project your own hopes, dreams, and fears on.
Where the first two issues of Way and Derrington’s Doom Patrol were devoted more to world building and setting up the style and mysteries pivotal to the series, this issue is a masterpiece of theming and tone. Despite its lofty, intellectual approach to character, Doom Patrol #3 is refreshingly, boldly human, a story about how we deal with the expectations and demands of others and how those expectations define us. Doom Patrol continues to be proof-positive of the strength both of Way’s Young Animal imprint and the appeal of a book so clearly built around creators empowered to tell their own unique, idiosyncratic stories.
Jackson Adams is a staff writer at Nerdophiles. Between this and Mother Panic #1 getting in the line, “Fuck the Bat,” it was an extremely good week for Young Animal. Follow him on Twitter @JacksonInACup.