The second issue of Doom Patrol: Weight of the Worlds is an exercise in thinly-veiled social commentary masquerading around as silly, madcap lunacy., as has always been the case for the best versions of the titular band of superhero misfits.
Grant Morrison and Richard Case's run over thirty years ago during the death throes of the 1980s leaned heavily into the zeitgeist with plenty of satire and soul, and Weight of the Worlds is doing the same thing. It's expressing all the frustration and anxiety of navigating the current state of day-to-day life in broad strokes and does so with a broader sense of humor. At this point, keeping things weird and weirdly topical is, frankly, Doom Patrol tradition.
While the script was penned months ago, this issue feels incredibly relevant in broad strokes. The plot lines bounce between litigation within a solar system and escaped positive energy that once belonged to Larry Trainor. That positivity running away from a hero called Negative Man and finding a new host to enjoy the good vibes feels like reaction to the nasty 24-hour media cycle we are all being consumed by. This is most likely pure conjecture or projecting meaning on something innocuous, but hey, it certainly struck a chord. Whether it was the intent of the artist or not, if a piece of art garners a deep response, it's done its job.
Gerard Way (with the help of Jeremy Lambert) is firing on cylinders for the first time since Umbrella Academy: Apocalypse Suite . The dialogue is sharp, and the manner through which the more meta-physical concepts in the issue are expressed is easy to embrace. Nothing ever feels "over your head," but that doesn't mean it's even remotely dumbed-down.
The series' sense of humor is also highly effective. The jokes aren't simple setup and punchlines. Instead, they're circumstantial, or riff off of a specific character trait. You can't necessarily quote a funny line from this issue, but you can paint a hilarious picture if someone is patient enough to listen to you describe the scenario.
But with no disrespect to Mr. Way and Mr. Lambert, let's focus on the MVP of this issue for a moment. Artist/colorist/letterer James Harvey is pretty darn amazing. From the first few panels which present the world through a reborn Robotman, to the final splash page revealing an all new character (sort of), Weight of the Worlds #2 is front to back utterly gorgeous. After pining over the absence of Nick Derington last issue, it has become stunningly clear that Harvey is the right person to handle art duties for this story. The fact he also takes on so many duties on this book is also worth applauding. Weight of the worlds, indeed.
Doom Patrol: Weight of the Worlds #2 is pure comic bliss. It's smart, funny, sweet and hopeful. The art is stunning throughout, and the plotting is fresh and exciting. From Cliff waking up in his mechanical body, to the rise of a new member, a lot of ground gets covered in this issue, but all of it feels as though it fits perfectly in one tiny twenty some-odd page book, which is such a rare thing these days. And whether or not the creative team meant to tap into the broad sense of doom so many times was intentional, it's highly effective and might serve as a gonzo snapshot of a very specific time and place years from now.