Curated by comic book writer and artist Gerard Way (also known as the front man of My Chemical Romance and for his solo career), the Young Animal imprint kicked off in September 2016. The four titles in its arsenal have all reached the end of their opening arcs. After 5–6 issues itis pretty easy to tell if it's worth staying on board, and all four of their releases have done a great job drawing in audiences.
Straight off the bat, it has to be noted that the artwork in every single one of these titles is brilliant. The art styles complement the writing perfectly in all four. Sometimes great writing can be paired with the wrong (not necessarily bad) artwork and it can ruin a series. These writer-artist combinations are all spot on, though.
This is the sixth volume of #DoomPatrol, and from the first few issues it seems will include some characters from the original '60s series — The Chief (Niles Caulder), Robotman (Cliff Steele) and Negative Man (Larry Trainor). Penned by Gerard Way himself (who was the person that introduced me to the world of comic books — how emo of me, I know), this one was the first of Young Animal's books that I read. These first five issues have done well to introduce these crazy characters, as well as the lead, Casey Brinke. With Way himself saying “It gets weirder from here,” I can't wait to delve further into this surreal world (even if the future of the comic seemed questionable a few days ago).
Way created Mother Panic a.k.a. Violet Page as an alternate to Gotham City's usual vigilantes and heroes, taking some inspiration from young Courtney Love no less. The first few issues have introduced us to Paige, her celebrity status, misanthropic nature and troubled childhood, and adulthood. There's also been a couple of #DC royalty cameos (that didn't end well, I must add!). Already, this is my favorite of the #YoungAnimal four, and Violet Paige is becoming one of my favorite comic book characters. She's edgy without being cliche, and (for me) she's the true meaning of an antihero.
'Cave Carson Has A Cybernetic Eye'
From the depths of the DC vaults, Cave Carson was picked by Gerard to elaborate on the vaguest of DC Encyclopedia entries. The family values, mixed with a truly bizarre alien backstory, make for a brilliant story. The first arc has done a great job planting the seedlings of the characters, and I can't wait to see what's coming in the next arc.
'Shade, The Changing Girl'
This is another re-imagining of an old book, changing the gender of the lead character. Let's face it: This is brilliant in itself, because comics are definitely in need of more leading ladies. Shade, The Changing Girl follows the story of Loma Shade, a follower of Rac Shade (the original Shade, The Changing Man) coming to terms with being stuck on Earth inside the body of a really quite horrible teenage girl. It deals with alienation in a very meta way, and the story and its accompanying artwork are pretty hallucinogenic. This one took some getting into for me, but once I got used to just how bizarre it is, it became a real page turner.
As you can tell, I am LOVING all of these titles so far. They're all so different to the books I usually read and so weird (in an amazing way) that the possibilities for future arcs seem endless.
What are your thoughts on these books? Let me know in the comments, and let me know which your favorite book is so far in the poll below!