Review: Doom Patrol: Weight of the Worlds #2
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writers: Gerard Way & Jeremy Lambert
Art: James Harvey
Colors: James Harvey
Letters: James Harvey
Reviewed by: Matthew B. Lloyd
After Cliff’s self-inflicted car crash last issue, Keeg replaces Cliff’s brain in a new body with “upgrades,” just in time for the Doom Patrol to get a call to stop a “Space Divorce!” And, afterwards, Cliff isn’t the only one with an upgrade…meet Larry Trainor, the Positive Man!
“You’ve got to ac-cen-tuate the positive, e-lim-inate the negative, latch on the the affirmative….” Kids, you may not know this song, but Doom Patrol: Weight of the Worlds #2 certainly does! Despite the truly weird and still wonderful things that happen to Doom Patrol, this issue finds a way of not only doubling down on those things, but at the same time finding a universally identifiable throughline of positivity.
If anyone needs some positivity in his life, it is Cliff Steele. Last issue, he was rejected by his mother and attempted to take his own life, but after being found by Casey, Cliff has a new lease on un-life. His new body has upgrades that are activated when Cliff does something helpful for someone else. Now, this is the really clever bit, the idea that helping others will help one’s self is rooted in scientific research. While we may not get a flamethrower arm as Cliff does this issue. Keeg’s ingenious design also will affect Cliff’s self-esteem and sense of self, something he’s been struggling with for years.
Cliff’s not the only one that needs the positivity. Larry, who sleep and dreams of other lives and worlds when Keeg, the Negative Energy is out side his body is also struggling. While there’s a humorous irony in Negative Man needing positivity, getting Larry help for a positive mental and emotional state is a real need. After getting an emotional support animal with some guidance from Casey last issue, Larry now has so much positive energy built up inside him that there’s no room for Keeg to return inside Larry and wake him from his sleep. Interestingly, Larry “gives birth” to three “positive energy pods” from his chest making room for Keeg. The pods get away, but end up playing a crucial role in the “Space Divorce.”
Danny calls the team together to intervene as there are some planets no longer getting along. The whole thing is framed in an analogy of a married couple about to get divorced. The DP jump in as part legal, part marriage counselors. When Casey takes the kids to Dannyland for a distraction, she finds that Lotion has eaten one of the positive energy pods. This has filled him with a boundless positivity. It is then Lotion that diagnoses the planets need for some cuddling as the couple have confessed to “going on autopilot” and not thinking about anything but work and losing their sense of their relationship. It’s not hidden at all, but it is a very powerful moment as Lotion and the planets share a group hug and share the positivity together.
Way has made some powerful statements about the power of positivity and helping others. Like the rest of the comics in the Young Animal line, Doom Patrol: Weight of the Worlds approaches storytelling in a unique way, yet tells a story that resonates universally. I think anyone whether or not they’ve ever read any comic book could pick up this issue and see the beauty in the message.
I find nothing negative in the issue. Some readers may find the representative nature of the story difficult to grasp. The concept of Danny can be elusive at times, but these are minor drawbacks to an issue filled with such a universal message about humanity.
The level of emotion in Doom Patrol: Weight of the Worlds #2 is a highlight in the comic book medium. It’s a great thing to know that Young Animal Comics routinely approach a title with an underlying theme that is far deeper and richer than even the best of any mainstream super-hero comic. It’s not all good vs. evil here, it’s emotional and mental health that are stake. Any one of us can learn from the Doom Patrol.