Hold me closer, sticky dancer.
DP7 (1986) #1: Comic 5 out of 10: Cover 6 out of 10: DP7 is one of the New Universe books that Marvel launched in 1986 on its 25th anniversary. The idea was a more grounded, realistic superhero story that was in real time with subdued powers and no magic or gods. According to the Wikipedia synopsis “the limitation of fantasy elements, and the low-key nature of the characters’ activities in the New Universe, gave the imprint verisimilitude, to seem like “the world outside your window,” which was the series catchphrase.”
The Good: D.P.7 or Displaced Paranormals 7 is considered one of the stronger entries in Marvel’s New Universe and avoided the chopping block for quite a while. There is some good stuff here. A couple of the characters make a good first impression with hairy muscleman David Landers, cute dancer Charlotte Beck, and overpowered healing mother of three Stephanie Harrington, making the best impressions.
The Bad: Let me talk a little bit about Batman and the Outsiders. Batman and the Outsiders started a few years earlier than DP7 and introduced a slew of new heroes and new powers (The titular Outsiders). But they had Batman to entice readers to give it a try and to ground the series. In a lot of ways Batman was an audience surrogate saying hey this kid is alright. Well, if Batman likes him, I guess I can like him as well.
DP7 has no such crutch. It has to introduce seven new characters and a new universe all at once. It is a task more for the likes of Brandon Sanderson than a comic book. Invariably, some of the characters get the short shrift. In addition, one of the “lead characters”, a doctor with a spectre that leaps from his stomach to do his unconscious bidding, is a bit of a charisma sink.
The Ugly: The artwork is serviceable but never more than that (The cover is creative, however). The story has so much work to do it also comes across as pedestrian. The powers are somewhat ill-defined for almost all the characters and while I understand we are supposed to be learning along with the characters; it makes for a confusing time.
In Conclusion: DP7 had from all accounts a decent run before flying off the rails. The entire universe was shut down a few years after it started, with little if any making it over to the regular Marvel Universe. Strangely enough, more than one source states that DP7 was one template for the TV series Heroes.
The idea of a supernatural event (Called the White Event in the comics) giving certain people superpowers certainly is a good one that we have seen since. I just wish the powers were a little better thought out, and the comic focused on one or two people to start and introduced more new team members organically.
Final Verdict: Sell
Close, but no cigar on both the story and the cover. I enjoyed reading DP7 but not enough to seek the other issues or pick up the trade.