Comics have always been a sense of escape for me. Starting my adventures in Gotham, I worked my way down the comic rabbit hole and never looked back.
Comics have transported me to many different worlds and introduced me to many different people that, now, I feel like I have friends all over. This year, DC Comics did something fantastic for a fan like me. A fan who wants and likes the strange and weird in their comics. To be transported gladly to a world where nothing makes sense. DC introduced us all to DC’s Young Animal, a new imprint for "Dangerous Humans". Nice, right? Wait, it gets better. This run has featured not one, not two, but four amazing titles that kept the weirdness going in so many good ways.
For those who are new to this, DC’s Young Animal is the curated brainchild of the coolest person ever, Gerard Way, the creator and writer of the Umbrella Academy comics with art by Gabriel Ba and The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys, written with Shaun Simon and art by Becky Cloonan. However, if you don’t know his comics (which, you definitely should because spoilers, they’re amazing), many of you might know him as the frontman in My Chemical Romance. Still as creative and lethal as ever, Gerard Way brings together the most dynamite teams of creators to give life to some cool reboots and revamps that help bring back old friends, while introducing you to new ones as well. With the help of some amazingly talented people, DC’s Young Animal’s bring a sense of the weird and wonderful mixed with full-blown kooky throughout the panels, and it never lets you down.
So… let’s get into some of the titles shall we? First up, we have Doom Patrol, written by Gerard Way with art by Nick Derington and colors by Tamra Bonvillian. Originally created by Arnold Drake, DC’s Young Animal’s Doom Patrol pays homage to the Grant Morrison’s run on the book. This run brings some classic characters, Niles Caulder, Negative Man, Robotman and more to a new setting, but also introduces us to our new favorite leading lady Casey Brinke, her EMT partner Sam Reynolds and new roommate Terry None. Shade, The Changing Girl, written by Cecil Castellucci with art by Marley Zarcone and colors by Kelly Fitzpatrick, focuses on the alien Loma who takes a trip via madness onto Earth and into the body of a teenage girl. Now both of them have to come into a new reality, while facing some old consequences from both of their lives. Shade, the Changing Girl is a revamp of the title Shade, the Changing Man, created by Steve Diko, but a revamp always does the body some good and now we have something new and awesomely amazing.
Next up, Cave Carson Has A Cybernetic Eye, written by Gerard Way and Jonathan Rivera, with art by Michael Avon Oeming and colors by Nick Filardi. France Herron (W) & Bruno Premiani (A) created this character whose relaunch for DC’s Young Animal is very exciting and fits right in with the already delivered awesome. In this story, Cave Carson tries to figure out how to move forward after the death of his wife, but discovers that some mysteries still need to be unlocked or the hallucinations in his eye will start to haunt him. Last, but not least, Mother Panic, written by Jody Houser with illustrations by Tommy Lee Edwards. Mother Panic introduces us to a brand new character and protector of Gotham City. By day, she's a celebutante named Violet Paige, whose aggressive and temperamental attitude pushes people away, but by night, she’s Mother Panic, a new protector of Gotham even though Batman is closely lurking in the shadows.
I know what you’re thinking. “Insha, all of that shit sounds massively weird. Why the hell should I read any of this?” First, YES, GOOD! Embrace the weird! We all need a little weirdness in our lives and these titles will fulfil that and more. There’s something about reading a book you don’t completely understand that makes you want to read it even more. Enjoy the journey. But that's not the only reason you should read them. Let me explain.
The different Young Animals stories transports you into an entirely different and new world, but thread together some important elements that are deep and personal. Sure, it’s weird, but there’s something underneath that madness and wonder that a lot of people can very much relate to. For myself, I’m drawn to the those types of worlds. I always like things that are different and DC’s Young Animals is very different. They're not your regular stories and pay true homage to the wtf-ness that came before. They connect in fragments and sometimes don't make much sense… at first. However, these stories makes you think. There are elements and issues within the stories that connect to readers. For example, even though I know so little about Doom Patrol’s Casey Brinke right now, I feel a strong connection to her. Her mission of only wanting to do good things is real and true for me. Doom Patrol connects somewhat to the oddity of everyday life, but keeps the theme of family, the family that you create and the family that has created you, inside of it. Shade, Cave Carson and Mother Panic connect with the feeling of being an outsider and dealing with family as well, but in very different aspects than Doom Patrol. Inside these stories are different elements united by weird and wonderful threads, but they are also deeply important and make you feel welcome.
The characters are confusing, beautiful and conflicted, and the settings are bonkers, brilliant and utterly insane, but even though they’re weird, you can relate to them. They’ll make you think, re-read and go “What?!” That's somehow the aim of this world, to make you go into full swing wtf, while making you excited about what will happen next.
Young Animals is doing something pleasurable and exciting for DC. Again, it's different, but that's exactly what we need. It’s on the other side of the scale and balances the serious attitudes that we have with Wonder Woman, Justice League, Batman, etc. It creates and engulfs you into colors and madness you’ve never seen before. It breathes new life into the medium of comics. DC’s Young Animal make comics fun again.