After a brief (but not that brief) interruption, Gerard Way’s Doom Patrol series has returned to publication with a new number one. While the numbering may have changed, Weight of the Worlds #1 is both a perfect continuation, and fresh jumping on point for the series.
The Easiest way to summarize Weight of the Worlds #1 is that the Doom Patrol is back, both in publication and in-story. Way and his new co-writer, Jeremy Lambert, pack a lot of story into one issue, with slightly uneven results.
Weight of the Worlds #1 spends the first half of the issue reintroducing the cast of the initial Young Animal series. Though each scene is brief, they say a lot about each character without wading into clunky exposition waters. The amount of page space spent on each member of the team does not leave much room for Way and Lambert to develop the second half of the story.
After the character re-introductions, Weight of the Worlds #1 assembles the team for a new mission, which touches on the issue of body shaming on an alien world. It is not the most compelling take on that social ill, largely due to how rushed it feels. There is a lack of subtlety or depth to the story, which feels like a public service announcement with a touch of high concept sci-fi. The off world mission does, however, fit thematically with Lambert and Way’s character work in the issues’ opening pages. The notion of being comfortable with yourself is a central theme of Doom Patrol. The team’s interplanetary escapades may not be the most compelling adventure, but it does serve the larger narrative Way is constructing.
The most engaging aspect of Weight of the Worlds #1 was the subplot focusing on the now human Cliff Steele. The now human Cliff finds himself in a short tale of tragedy that is ultimately about how difficult the healing process can be — and that the answers to life’s problems are never simple. I would say it is the most effective example of Lambert and Way’s scripting in the issue. Balancing this dour plot thread with the issue’s main story is handled by a dynamite art team.
The true highlight of this issue is the artwork, which carries a lot of the storytelling. The use of color and panel grids by James Harvey and Sajan Rai perfectly juxtaposes the two different story threads in Weight of the World #1.
Cliff’s subplot is drawn with a more rigid panel grid and rendered in muted colors to contrast with the main plot’s upbeat tone. For the alien body shaming plot, the artist uses brighter colors and avoids strict panel grids. It has a pop art aesthetic that feel inherently optimistic. This approach to the artwork emphasizes the dark place Cliff has found himself in, and the path of healing the other team members are on.
A stunning return from Young Animal’s flagship titles, Doom Patrol: Weight of the Worlds #1 was one of last week’s best comics.